Toby's Corner leads huge day for Bellamy Road
Saturday, April 09, 2011 RSS Feeds

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 stallion.

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 doing fine."

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 Cotter.

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.