ROYAL MO GETS ACQUAINTED WITH PIMLICO RACING SURFACE
Jerry and Ann Moss’ Royal Mo made his first visit to the Pimlico track Wednesday morning for some light exercise under exercise rider Taylor Leatherman. They went to the track at 9:30 a.m., jogged three-quarters of a mile clockwise then turned around and galloped about a mile to the wire.
Leatherman, 17, picked up the assignment through the recommendation of a mutual friend of trainer John Shirreffs. She said she followed Shirreffs’ instructions.
“He just wanted me to give him a good first day to get him used to everything, just try to keep him collected and make him use himself,” she said. “It was a good first day for us to get used to each other.”
The son of Uncle Mo was on the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Derby, but did not draw into the field for the first race of the Triple Crown series. He flew from Louisville, Ky. to Baltimore Tuesday on the flight carrying Derby winner Always Dreaming to the Preakness.
Leatherman, a resident of Union Bridge, Md. is an exercise rider for her mother, Faith Leatherman, and other local trainers. She said her goal is to become a jockey.
Royal Mo opened 2017 with a 1 ¼-length victory in the Robert B. Lewis (G3) on Feb. 4. He was ninth in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn, but rebounded from that performance to finish third, beaten one length, in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 8.
Leatherman was all smiles after her first opportunity to get on a Preakness horse. “I loved it,” she said. “It’s definitely an amazing opportunity. I’m thankful for it.”