Michael Moore Halfway Home to a Career Year
By Dick Jerardi
Over two June days at Monmouth Park, 62 miles from his Parx base and 48 hours apart, trainer Michael Moore sent out a 3-year-old that very much looks like a coming star and a 10-year-old that is a throwback to another era of horse racing.
That’s Right was a colt which had become a bit frustrating in six dirt starts, running well, but never well enough to find the winner’s circle. Tried on grass for the first time the day before the Preakness at Pimlico, the colt won by 5 lengths at 14-1, strongly suggesting he had found his niche as a grass sprinter. That’s Right proved the Pimlico win was no fluke when he crushed grass sprinters again on June 17 at Monmouth, winning by 5 1/4 lengths.
Two days later, Moore sent the venerable Brother Chub out for his first start of 2022, nine months after his last start. It was race No. 63 for the New Jersey bred. And he got to the wire first, making it win No. 18 in an incredible career.
“(That’s Right) always showed talent, he was always very quick,’’ Moore said. “He just wouldn’t finish the race well.’’
A small knee chip was discovered so that was removed and the horse got some time off while transitioning from 2 to 3. When That’s Right returned, he kept getting run down late again. So owners Jim Shannon and Moore tried him on grass. He was entered for $25,000 at Laurel Park, but providentially did not get in the race.
“Thank God, he got excluded,’’ Moore said. “If he happened to get claimed which wouldn’t have been out of the question, it would be tough watching him right now.’’
The race at Pimlico was a special weight, the Monmouth race a first-level allowance. That’s Right won’t be in any claiming races for the foreseeable future.
The colt got blinkers and a new rider in Andy Hernandez prior to the Pimlico race. While Moore does not discount those changes, he is pretty well convinced it’s the grass that has made That’s Right so dominant.
“On the turf, he looks like a totally different horse, full of run,’’ Moore said. “The action looks totally different. He looks like he’s loving running on it.’’
They are pointing That’s Right to the $100,000 My Frenchman Stakes at Monmouth, 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass for 3-year-olds on July 17.
Brother Chub had already run 23 times when Moore put in a claim slip for $12,500 on March 7, 2017, at Parx. Since the claim, the horse has 39 starts, 14 wins, 12 seconds and earnings of $551,365.
Brother Chub won the Claiming Crown Express in 2019 and the Reilly for Jersey breds in 2018. Mostly, the son of Hey Chub has earned his money the hard way by winning conditioned allowances and optional claimers.
Brother Chub broke on top in his comeback race, tracked in second, took over at the top of the stretch, opened up a nice lead and held firm. Announcer Chris Griffin summed the horse up perfectly when, in the final yards he said: “Brother Chub needs the wire, he knows where it is.’’
Brother Chub really does seem to know where the wire is. His last four 2019 wins came by a head, a head, a head and a nose.
Through June, Moore has 22 wins, 21 seconds 14 thirds and earnings of $754,760 from 96 starters. He won 24 races last year. His best years were 2019 (35 wins) and 2018 (34 wins). Moore historically has won about 15 percent of the time. This year, he is at 23 percent. So he is on pace to have the best year of his career.
“This year has been great so far,’’ Moore said. “Some things just go your way and the horses fit well…I’ve been on my own for nine years so I think you’re always learning.’’
Moore has 16 horses in the barn, including a tough old horse, a young potential star and a bunch of horses that are finding the wire. And 2022 is only halfway home.