04/09/2011 6:16PM

Got a Derby Nominated 3yo? You Have a Shot!

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There was always a chance that Uncle Mo, despite his brilliance, would be distance-challenged, given his pedigree. But WOW! After watching Saturday’s Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, I have to wonder why Uncle Mo’s connections would even think about going on to the Kentucky Derby, the classic he was a strong favorite for before his "performance" in the Wood. Despite easily controlling a comfortable pace, Uncle Mo went to hopping up and down at the eighth pole like a horse who wants no part of 1 1/8 miles, let alone 1 ¼ miles.

And after watching Joe Vann, who might have been the only Todd Pletcher-trained 3-year-old not nominated to the Triple Crown (okay, exaggerating just a little there), win the Illinois Derby over a maiden … well, the Kentucky Derby picture certainly looks a lot different now.

We still have the Santa Anita Derby (which, frankly, was gutted with the scratches of Premier Pegasus and Jaycito) to go today. I’ll chime back in tomorrow about that race, and a stab at where the Kentucky Derby picture stands now.

45yearsofracing More than 1 year ago
The WHOLE "structure" of getting UNCLE MO to the Derby was TOTALLY FLAWED in every way. His FIRST RACE was at Gulfstream Park and 'SPECIALLY WRITTEN JUST HIM TO WIN" which he did with ease against a bunch of No-Names. And it was only at a one-turn mile on a VERY SPEED FAVORING TRACK. But THE WOOD at Aqueduct was TOTALLY DIFFERENT RACE which showed that UNCLE MO needed more than one race to face a "somewhat" low-class field of 12...YES 12! That's how many horses were willing to face UNCLE MO. And the winner, TOBI'S CORNER, had already won the Whirlaway Stakes on the Aquduct's inner track, which MUCH SLOWER than the MAIN TRACK so he was bound to improve off his lackluster finish at STAY THIRSTY in the Gotham Stakes. BOTTOM LINE: UNCLE MO NEEDED AND STILL NEEDS ANOTHER RACE BEFORE THE DERBY OR HE'LL BE LEFT IN THE DUST.
levittown dan More than 1 year ago
this is why owners should let trainers do there job. uncle mo was training great in florida, won a prep , and then you ship him 1500 miles just so your owner can live his dream!! mike repole you lost this one and might have ruined your chance of really living your dream!believe me horses know when they lose and uncle mo's confidence is shot! the wood field was a glorified allowance race, if uncle mo's connections where smart they would wait till the preakness, reminds me of last years derby horse SUPER SAVER, never one a race again after the derby.
edg1970 More than 1 year ago
SFDan... I don't necessarily disagree with most of your post. However, the notion that writers "set up very young, lightly raced three-year-old for failure" is a bit odd. You act as if these colts are 17-year-old basketball phenoms who end up crashing and burning after believing the hype. Horses can't read. They're not set up for anything.
Daniel Fischer More than 1 year ago
Of course I do not think horses are Mr. Ed. I think the context of my comment was around setting up the fans to think horses are unbeatable, and then when they lose the "hopes and dreams" of racing are crumbled. I am tired of hearing that the sport needs a TC winner to survive and when a colt does not meet the writers expectations, then there is huge disappointment. That is the "failure" I meant to describe. I should have been more clear with my commentary.
central ct More than 1 year ago
Wow....that was a disappointment. I mean, it was a bad betting race to start and I didn't care for the Uncle Mo promotion (like it was a walkover). Motion's taking Todd's place, with two in the starting gate. Good for him. And doesn't The Big A look old? Have to hope that the next time they run the Wood, an infusion of cash will make for surroundings that don't hurt the eyes. I don't know how many of the crowd were only there because they were looking at a superstar. Sorry guys, we don't build 'em like that anymore.
Andrew More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree with you any more, you nailed it Mr. Watchmaker. I'm so glad that overrated horse lost and looked bad in the process. UM obviously needs to grow wings if he wants to go 10f, let alone 12f in the Belmont. Pletcher and Repole overhyped this horse and made it seem that he was a shoe-in to be the next triple crown winner. BTW, what kind of name is Uncle Mo???? I know it stands for Uncle Momentum but it sounds like this horse should run for $5000 at FL. Didn't Repole know this wasn't one of his bottom level claimers when he named the horse? Bottom line: I speak for all true racing fans (the ones who are at AQU on a thursday in February) that we do not want to see this horse, Pletcher, or Repole win the derby with this horse. I would much rather root for a Barbaro story because people like Michael Matz and Edgar Prado are worthy, in my book, to be a triple crown winner. Not for connections that buy their way into the winner circle. Just my own .02.
NJMike More than 1 year ago
This derby is the most open derby I can remember...ALL the favorites are vulnerable with all the speed in the race.....Any horse with air left in their lungs at the 1/8th pole will win the derby...but it wont be Uncle Mo , The Factor or any other of the speed.
Aristides More than 1 year ago
Pletcher wins a lot of races...he sure loses a lot of races and ruins good horses. (Life at Ten, Quality Road, Fleet Indian) let Nick Zito and Bob Baffert train your Derby horse...they will be competitive and SOUND after their racing careers. Dialed In should inhale this bunch in the stretch at Churchill...the Pletcher Derby win last year was a fluke...just like Mine that Bird...what is Pletcher 1 for 27 or some crazy stat...don't let him train your Derby horse!! Wake up horseracing!!
Andy Adinolfi More than 1 year ago
I normally don't get caught up in comments and posts and the like, but I just can't believe what I'm reading here. Why does anybody feel any differently about Uncle Mo today than they did at 3 PM EDT yesterday afternoon? Let's see... coming into a 9f two turn event after five months on the bench and one joke of a one turn 8f "prep"... son of Indian Charlie... with no reason to be pushed in the race because he's already got the earnings to be in the Derby. And he got beat? Knock me over with a feather. I've never been sold on him as a Classic Distance horse (not that I feel you can discount him entirely), and so yesterday he just confirmed the doubts that were reasonable to have about him before the race. I've watched the replay a number of times, and I just don't think it was an "awful" performance. He wasn't really asked until the four was going by him, and by then it was too late. He labored in the stretch, and that was completely understandable, given the grandma's crystal treatment he's gotten this season. He has not been properly prepared to run 10f in the Derby (in my opinion), and the presence of The Factor and Comma(?) make him a dubious wager on that day anyway. Still, I think he's a pretty damn good horse. Now, contrast that with the performance of Midnight Interlude. I was really impressed with that stalking style and it just goes to show you how masterful Baffert really is. And seeing "War Chant" on the sire line certainly gets your attention...
AUTIGER677 More than 1 year ago
Uncle Mo wants no part of a mile and a quarter and certainly has no foundation for this race. To take him to Churchil Downs for the 1st Saturday in May for the Kentucky Derby would be only for ego and not the horses best interest. Breeding and conditioning wins this race and Uncle Mo has neither. Pletcher's remark after the race only fuels my suspicion about his handling of this horse. His inexperience as a Derby trainer is showing.l
steven Schneck More than 1 year ago
Indian charle horses going a mile and a quarter. not with my money. As far as dial up do you want to take 2 to 1 on a horse who has to come from last in a 20 horse race?. he also likes to run on the outside. figure 15 wide top of the lane good luck