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Mojo Race Recap: Cool Hand Butte's Debut

June 12, 2014 

Mojo's two-year-old, Cool Hand Butte, made his first start in a five furlong Maiden Special sprint race on Thursday, June 12.

Entered in Race 5 at Lone Star Park, Cool Hand Butte (by Sky Mesa out of Sheza Nasty Lady) lined up against seven other runners—all were unraced (except one) prior this start.

“I told the group this race would be like taking a knife to a gun fight,” said Fred Taylor, Mojo’s CEM.  “Meaning, we knew our horse wasn’t racing in the right conditions and probably would be outmatched.  He was ready to run; but he’s bred to cover a route of ground and not sprint.  And, at this stage of the game, there aren’t other race options available for 2YOs.  So, going in, we decided to provide Butte with some experience before a race at a longer distance comes up.”

When a horse runs in its first race, there are a lot of “unknowns”.  Once the gates open, the hope is for a clean trip, a competitive effort, and that the horse/rider are in good shape when they return. 

“For most horses, the first few starts are like building blocks,” Fred explains.  “They're used to do several things: Introduce the horse to racing and give the trainer an opportunity to evaluate the horse’s current ability.  The challenge, for owners of young horses, is not expecting too much, too soon.”

In this sport, especially in a sprint race, the start is important.  Leading up to the gate, CHB was somewhat reluctant to load at first, and then he had an awkward break, which immediately put him a length behind the other runners as soon as the gates opened.  Going past the ½ mile pole, Butte was last and three lengths behind the front runner; but he rallied when Jockey Dakota Wood hustled him up to the pack as they entered the far turn.  Around the bend, CHB was gaining ground and sitting in a nice spot to make a move; but, at the top of the stretch, he flattened out and the three front runners pulled away.  Rather than get after the horse, the jockey tucked the whip away and let Butte finish clear under a hand ride down the stretch.

The race unfolded as the track handicappers expected, and the winner was the horse that had racing experience.  The final time was a quick 58 seconds for five furlongs.  “That’s moving at a good clip for 2YOs,” Fred commented.  “We asked Butte to do a lot in his first race.  The fact that he was able to get back into the pack after a bad start was impressive, though it probably used up a lot of his closing kick.” 

CHB finished 6th in 59.4 seconds—that’s about 2 seconds faster than the times he’s been posting during his morning works at the same distance.  “I’m happy with his overall effort, and I look forward to his next race,” Fred said. 

When asked about the way Cool Hand Butte ran the race, Mojo’s Trainer, JR Caldwell, said: “We’re in good shape.  I was a little disappointed that he didn’t close better; but I think he learned a lot and he’ll get better.  My plan all along has been to prepare him to run two turns.”

What’s next for Cool Hand Butte?  After a couple of days off, JR will gallop CHB daily for several weeks and then breeze him around the 4th of July.  And, if all goes well, enter Butte in a two-turn turf race at Lone Star Park on July 11—which should be more favorable conditions insofar as his pedigree is concerned. 

Stay tuned for more exciting Mojo news to come!

Mojo Background

Mojo Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC (which conducts its horse racing operations as Mojo Racing Partners) is based in Fort Worth, TX and was formed in 2006.  Since then, Mojo has raced at Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Indiana Downs, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park, Oaklawn Park, Remington Park, and Turfway Park.  Mojo’s on a mission to give people affordable and fun opportunities to participate in the exciting sport of Thoroughbred racing. 

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