10/10/2010 11:32PM

Uncle Mo, gentleman juvenile

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The sweet-faced boy is, after two starts, a runaway Grade I winner and probable Breeders’ Cup favorite. He also has a Grade I personality.

On his way back to the barn, after his speedy Champagne, Uncle Mo traipsed along with his human cohorts, sometimes bouncing in youthful exuberance, and occasionally letting go with a robust whinny as if to announce his triumphant return to the Pletcher barn.

He seemed happy to get some loving from caregiver Joel Estrada while his legs were hosed off, and he didn’t flinch when a friend of the barn wrapped his arms around the colt’s neck. Uncle Mo was so kind that it was difficult to believe he was the same horse who, less than an hour before, was so competitive.

 

The people with him sang his praises, boasting about his youthful good nature. He received a kiss on the nose, another pat or two, and then it was time for grass.                 

He seemed unsure what to do, and it took him a minute to drop his head to graze. He clearly enjoyed this quiet time and soon settled in. Joel followed Uncle Mo as the colt's whims carried him around the yard. Yet every so often, Uncle Mo raised his head to intently stare off into the distance. I’ve always found it fascinating: What are horses looking at, when the viewscape seems to hold nothing unusual? 

When gloaming settled in, it was time for Uncle Mo to go in. Of course, by then he did not want to. It was a lovely evening. The grass was good. 

Joel took a few steps toward the barn. Uncle Mo followed, but then stopped. A few more steps. Stop. A tricky angled step or two forward. Stop. 

Joel pointed to the camera and, smiling, said, “One more” - more to the horse than to me. Uncle Mo knew that was his cue. He calmly followed the gentleman back into the barn.

 

To view more photographs of Uncle Mo after the Champagne, please visit: barbaradlivingston.photoshelter.com/gallery/Uncle-Mo-after-his-Champagne-victory-at-Belmont-Park-10-9-10/G0000_JkwHICfUaA/