10/25/2011 3:40PM

Breeders' Cup: Uncle Mo settles in at Churchill Downs

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Barbara D. Livingston
Sidney's Candy gets a bath after training Tuesday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Uncle Mo, the possible favorite for the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Classic, visited the Churchill Downs racetrack for the first time since the week of the Kentucky Derby when he jogged an easy mile alongside a stable pony shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Uncle Mo arrived at Churchill Downs from New York late Monday morning along with stablemates Stay Thirsty, Stopshoppingmaria, and Finale. Uncle Mo had not toured the Churchill Downs oval since the day before the Derby, after which trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole made the difficult decision to withdraw him from the race.

“Everybody arrived in good order, settled in nicely, ate up well, and went to the track today, including Uncle Mo,” Pletcher said after training hours Tuesday.

Stay Thirsty also went to the track in the first set just after 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Unlike Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty got busy right off the bat, galloping a mile on his first day back under the Twin Spires since his 12th-place finish in the Derby.

Pletcher, who said Uncle Mo would gallop Wednesday, sent out the only potential Breeders’ Cup starter to work here Tuesday, with Sidney’s Candy going an easy half-mile in 50.84 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form. The course was officially designated as firm, but it contained a fair amount of moisture.

Sidney’s Candy is coming off a third-place finish in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile.

“He was originally scheduled to work Monday, but I postponed it a day because I wanted to be here to see it,” said Pletcher, who, like his horses, arrived in Louisville after training hours Monday. “I was pleased with his work, he was very settled and relaxed the first part and seemed to handle the course nicely.”

Pletcher said Sidney’s Candy was pre-entered Monday in both the Mile and Dirt Mile.

Pletcher also reported that Stopshoppingmaria, runner-up in the Grade 1 Frizette earlier this month, was pre-entered in two races – the Juvenile Fillies and the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“We’ll work her over the grass this weekend and then make a decision as to which race she’ll run in,” Pletcher said. “She’s by More Than Ready, and More Than Readys have been very successful on the grass. We felt her race in the Frizette was not quite as good as we’d expected, and although she worked well on Sunday, she didn’t gallop out as strongly as she has before. By pre-entering her in both races, it puts us in a position to have as many options as possible.”