Toby's Corner winning the Wood Memorial (G1) - David Alcosser photo
Toby's Corner came from the back of the pack to score a thrilling
victory in the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1), the same race his sire won
in spectacular fashion in 2005.[WATCH VIDEO]
Toby's Corner was the highlight of the day, but Bellamy Road also had
Zoebear run second in the $300,000 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne,
capping off a the biggest day of 2011 thus far for the second year
The April 9 results will catapult Bellamy Road well into the top 10 on
the second crop sire list; he was 14th before the days results.
With the Kentucky Derby (G1) just a month away on May 7, the Wood is one
of the key preps before moving on to Louisville. Toby's Corner had
spent the winter at Aqueduct, winning the Whirlaway S. Feb 5 and
finishing third in the Grade 3 Gotham S. on March 5. Following a
troubled trip in the Gotham, trainer Graham Motion added blinkers to the
chestnut colt for the Wood.
The biggest obstacle in the Wood, however, was the 1-9 favorite Uncle
Mo, last year's 2-year-old champion. And the favorite got to the lead
early and set comfortable fractions for the first six furlongs of the 1
1/8 miles. Meanwhile, Toby's Corner was stuck in a tightly bunched pack
along the rail near the back of the field. He had to check a couple of
times around the final turn, but then angled out sharply by Eddie Castro
as the field came into the stretch. Uncle Mo still had the lead at the
furlong marker, but Toby's Corner was making his way through horses,
passing the tiring frontrunner in deep stretch, then held off a late
charge by Arthur's Tale to win by a neck in 1:49.43.
“Oh, I’m surprised," Motion said. "I couldn’t see a thing. I honestly
couldn’t really see where he was until the eighth pole. At the eighth
pole, he kind of re-broke, it looked to me, and Eddie just said he had a
great trip on the rail. We always felt the mile and an eighth was going
to be a big factor for this horse and Eddie’s really felt very strongly
about how talented this horse is since the first time he rode him.”
With a start in the Derby looming, Motion said a run for the roses is in
the plans. "We had never talked about (the Derby). The [owners] never
mentioned it to me and I don’t think (Mrs. Cotter) even knew I’d
nominated him early on. It’s pretty neat. We’re going, as long as he’s
The $600,000 payday guarantees a spot in the Derby starting gate. The
winnings ballooned the overall earnings for Toby's Corner to $722,240.
He is now 4-0-2 in six starts and was bred in Florida by his owner Diane
Zoebear's Illinois Derby
Zoebear ran a huge race on April 9 as well, finishing second in the 1
1/8 mile Illinois Derby. Like Toby's Corner, Zoebear came from near the
back of the field with a strong finishing kick to get up for the place.
Though still a maiden, Zoebear has now finished second on four different
occasions, earning $89,844.
Zoebear was bred in Kentucky by Eureka Thoroughbreds. The dark bay is a
half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Concerto's Crown and the stakes
winner Slew Motion. Owner William Stiritz purchased Zoebear from the
2009 Fasig-Tipton October Kentucky yearling sale.