Updated on 05/04/2011 8:00PM

Kentucky Derby workouts: Uncle Mo makes cameo appearance


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Wednesday was the coldest morning yet during the final two weeks leading up to the 137th Kentucky Derby, but at least it was dry, with the rains finally abating in the Louisville area. The racetrack still had some lingering moisture in it from two days of heavy downpours and was officially rated as good throughout the four-hour training session.

KENTUCKY DERBY WORKOUTS: Watch Mike Welsch's clocker reports from Churchill Downs

All 20 Derby starters are on the grounds, although Master of Hounds remained in quarantine on Wednesday. Everybody else visited the racetrack beginning with Nehro at 6 a.m. and continuing through the very busy 15-minute training session restricted to Derby and Oaks horses following the renovation break.

The main topic of conversation Wednesday morning was Uncle Mo, who did not visit the racetrack on Tuesday. And when he led a large pack of horses out onto the course once the track re-opened at 8:30 a.m., it was evident from the bell boots he and stablemate Stay Thirsty were wearing that neither was going to do anything more strenuous than jog.

Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty were the first of a number of Derby contenders to visit the starting gate on Wednesday, schooling for several minutes before continuing on clockwise along the outer rail and quickly exiting out the Lukas gap (named for trainer D.Wayne Lukas’s barn, which is in close proximity to that gap) while barely working up a sweat.

Uncle Mo’s coat continues to look good but he does appear to be a little on the light side, which may be the reason for the cut back in his training regime over the past several mornings.

Nehro returned to the track for the first time since breezing a slow half-mile in the slop on Monday and wasted little time completing his morning’s activity, galloping a very easy mile once around from the five-furlong pole before quickly heading back to the barn.

Nehro was the first of four Derby contenders to train during the early morning session. The others included Mucho Macho Man, who came out before the break for the first time to accommodate a visit from the blacksmith later in the morning. He went another strong two miles and continues to be trained in an aggressive manner by Kathy Ritvo.

Dialed In has made a tremendous physical impression since his arrival on Saturday and looks better on a daily basis during his morning gallops. He picked up the pace a bit over Wednesday’s drier track and appeared to be stretching out and moving more smoothly than during his two previous local sessions in the slop.

Twice the Appeal looked a little stiff in the morning prior to last weekend’s work under jockey Calvin Borel but was moving better during a routine gallop Wednesday. He was followed by Animal Kingdom, who had another good morning zipping around with his head turned outward, perhaps in an attempt by his rider to keep him from going too fast and doing too much only three days out from the race.

Aside from Uncle Mo’s return to the track, the busy Derby/Oaks training session featured the first local appearances by trainer Mike Maker’s Derby duo of Twinspired and Derby Kitten, along with California invader Comma to the Top.

Twinspired and Derby Kitten are a contrast in body types, Twinspired a big strapping colt who dwarfs his much smaller stablemate. Twinspired was easily the more impressive of the pair this morning, galloping along at a spirited pace that reached a two-minute clip for an extended period.

Soldat relished the sloppy going in his first two visits to the track earlier this week but he handled the drier going with equal abandon and seems to be just thriving these cooler temperatures after spending the winter in south Florida. Shackleford also appears to be a very happy horse at the moment and looks as good as anybody here over the past week. The same can be said for Archarcharch, who had another very good morning following his sharp three-furlong blowout on Tuesday.