Bird Mobberley LLC’s Local Motive, a two-time stakes winner last year, returned to the winner’s circle following a two-length score in the $100,000 Miracle Wood (for 3-year-olds) at Laurel Park on Saturday, Feb. 19.

Local Motive MiracleWoodMaking his second start of the season, less than a month since finishing third in the Spectacular Bid Stakes, Local Motive was quick to head to the front, just behind early leader Perfect Day, through an opening quarter-mile in :24.17. Continuing to challenge Perfect Day from the outside as they hit a half-mile in :47.24 and headed into the final turn, Local Motive caught and passed him as they turned for home. Opening up ahead of a late run from Majestic Frontier chasing from the inside, the John E. Salzman Jr. trainee stopped the clock in 1:39.14 for a mile. Majestic Frontier was second, with Heffner two and a half lengths back in third.

“He’s a nice horse, he’s just had some issues. The last time he ran the dirt hit him again like it did at Timonium and he got back a ways, but luckily [jockey] J.D. [Acosta] knew him and he didn’t pull him up, he just kept getting into him and he came running. I think he got beat by a nice horse,” Salzman said. “I think he beat some decent horses here today. He’s done everything I’ve asked of him. He’s going to get better. He’s still green. Everything’s got to be just right for him. J.D. has gotten to know him and that helps a lot. I’m really pleased with him.”

Last year he broke his maiden on debut in the first race at Pimlico in July, winning the six-furlong waiver maiden by four and a quarter lengths. Just over two weeks later, he became his sire Divining Rod’s first stakes winner with a half-length score over Roll Dem Bones in the Hickory Tree on the Colonial Downs turf, finishing the five furlongs in :57.72.

The odds-on favorite when he returned to Maryland for the Timonium Juvenile at the end of August, he was pulled up on the backstretch and vanned off after being struck in the eye by dirt. Recovering quickly, Local Motive took another trip out of town in late September and finished in a three-way photo for third, winding up fifth, in the Smoke Glacken Stakes at six furlongs at Monmouth Park. Next out, on Maryland Million Day on Oct. 23 at Laurel, he was third, two and a quarter lengths behind winner Buff Hello in the Nursery.

He closed out the year with a hard-fought victory in the six-furlong James F. Lewis III Stakes in November, which he won by a head over Beast Or Famine, followed by a fifth in the Maryland Juvenile Championship in December.

Salzman hinted the $100,000 Private Terms going about one and one-sixteenth miles March 19 at Laurel could be in play for Local Motive. The gelding has improved his overall record to 4-0-2 from nine career starts, with $234,160 earned.

“I’ve got to think about it, but probably. It’s right here at home, so there’s a good possibility. We’ll see how he comes out of this and how much it takes out of him,” Salzman said. “He took this today, and into this wind, too. We’ll see how he is and then we’ll go forward from there.”

Breeders Wasabi Ventures Stables LLC and Greenspring Mares LLC purchased Wild for Love, with Local Motive in utero, privately from Bowmans and Higgins Stable, who stayed on as a co-breeder. The son of Country Life Farm freshman sire Divining Rod was born March 10, 2019, at GreenMount Farm and purchased privately as a weanling by Salzman, for Mobberley.

Local Motive is the third winner from three starters for his dam Wild for Love, a daughter of Not For Love who captured the 2015 Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap. She is the dam of a 2-year-old Great Notion filly named Whatta Notion, and her yearling filly by Maximus Mischief sold for $60,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

Wild for Love is expecting a foal by Lord Nelson this year.

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