10/23/2011 11:52AM

Breeders' Cup: Uncle Mo more relaxed as Pletcher works string of Kentucky-bound horses

Barbara D. Livingston
Uncle Mo and barn cat Thomas engage in a Sunday morning stare-off.

ELMONT, N.Y. - An energetic, yet more controlled Uncle Mo put in a solid six-furlong workout in 1:13.22 Sunday morning over Belmont Park’s training track, the day before he is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 5.

 Sunday’s breeze came one week after Uncle Mo went a rapid five furlongs in 58.42 seconds on Oct. 15.

On Sunday, Daily Racing Form timed Uncle Mo, who had regular rider John Velazquez aboard, in fractions of 12.55 seconds for the opening eighth, 24.77 for the quarter, 36.71 for three furlongs, 48.32 for a half-mile, and clocked his final quarter in 24.90 seconds. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27.15 and pulled up a mile in 1:42.36.

Coming out around 9:30 a.m., Uncle Mo backed up from the quarter pole to the eighth pole alongside a stable pony. He galloped with the pony until a half-furlong before his work, but was well-held by Velazquez going to the pole. In his previous work, Uncle Mo left his pony 1 1/2 furlongs from where he began the work and was extremely aggressive going to the pole.

“I liked the way he did it,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of Sunday’s move. “We were looking for a longer, steadier, more relaxed first part. I thought he broke off really kindly. Johnny had a nice hold of him, he was relaxed, doing it settled. It was a good rhythmic breeze where he settled into a nice stride and just kind of kept clicking them off; just exactly what we’d be looking to do in the Classic so I thought it was perfect.”

Pletcher also noted that in the Oct. 15 work, Uncle Mo was cognizant of a horse from another barn that broke off a dozen or so lengths in front of him, which might have made him more aggressive.

Shortly after Uncle Mo worked, stablemate Stay Thirsty breezed five furlongs in 1:01.01 in company with Caixa Eletronica. Under jockey Javier Castellano, Stay Thirsty went his first quarter in 24.63 seconds and got his final three furlongs in 36.38. The best part of the work was the gallop out as he went six furlongs in 1:13.89, seven furlongs in 1:27.24 and pulled up a mile in 1:44.03.

Pletcher said Sunday’s work was “set-up to be a more serious work” than last Sunday’s move in 48.80 seconds, which was also done in company with Caixa Eletronica.

“I though he worked really well,” Pletcher said. “He, historically, is not as eye-catching a work horse as Uncle Mo is. Today, I thought was a very good, solid impressive work; finished up well, galloped out great, seemed like he was very willing throughout.”

Following Stay Thirsty’s move, Stopshoppingmaria, runner-up to My Miss Aurelia in the Grade 1 Frizette, worked five furlongs in 1:01.31 in company with the unraced 2-year-old colt Windsurfer. Though Pletcher was satisfied with the breeze, he called the 2-year-old filly’s gallop out “lackluster.” Afterward, Pletcher said he spoke to owner Mike Repole about the possibility of pre-entering Stopshoppingmaria in the Juvenile Sprint at six furlongs as well as the Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles and make a decision about which to run in after she breezes next weekend at Churchill Downs.

“In the Frizette she ran well, but it wasn’t as good as we expected her to run,” Pletcher said. “Not sure if that had anything to do with the distance or if she was a little flat.”

Earlier in the morning, Pletcher worked his Juvenile Turf candidate Finale four furlongs in 48.66 seconds in company with Shared Heart.

Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty, Stopshoppingmaria ,and Finale were all scheduled to ship to Churchill on Monday morning on a 6:30 a.m. flight.