01/28/2011 3:27PM

Pletcher dodges a bullet with Uncle Mo and Florida quarantine

Barbara D. Livingston
Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo is scheduled for his first breeze of his year on Sunday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Todd Pletcher survived a major scare when a quarantine imposed Thursday morning on all three of his barns at Palm Meadows – where juvenile champion Uncle Mo is stabled – and the one he occupies at Gulfstream Park was lifted later that afternoon. Pletcher shares Barn 2 at Gulfstream with trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who had one of his horses display symptoms of a neurological disorder on Wednesday. Fortunately, tests on the sick horse returned negative for the equine herpesvirus.

“That was potentially a major issue and a big relief when the test came back negative,” Pletcher said by phone shortly before catching a flight back to south Florida from New York on Friday. “We didn’t have any horses who showed any symptoms. I wasn’t worried about that, but it was potentially a major issue if we would have been under quarantine as many as three to four weeks. It could have really disrupted some important race schedules for us. I certainly didn’t want to be the victim of bad luck and stuck in a holding pattern for a while.”

Pletcher was quick to praise Gulfstream Park management for the way they handled the situation.

“Unfortunately we had to scratch four horses on Thursday,” he said, “but management did what they had to do and I thought Tim Ritvo and Dr. Patty [Marquis] did a great job going out of their ways and beyond the call of duty to get the situation solved quickly and correctly.”

With things back to normal, Pletcher said he has Uncle Mo scheduled for his first breeze as a 3-year-old on Sunday morning at Palm Meadows.

“He’ll go an easy three furlongs, gallop out a half, and off that one we’ll probably stretch him out to a half next week and go from there,” said Pletcher. “Weather permitting, he’ll probably keep to a Sunday work schedule for now.”

Paddy O’Prado cranking up

Trainer Dale Romans reports that his Grade 1 winner Paddy O’Prado is due to return to training here sometime around the first of February after spending the last 90 days turned out at WinStar Farm in Kentucky.

Paddy O’Prado, who has not started since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, won the Grade 1 Secretariat and Grade 2 Virginia Derby after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby during his 3-year-old campaign.

“We just gave him a break, and will get him back in here shortly, with our first major objective the Woodford Reserve on Derby Day,” said Romans. “I’ll probably look for one race somewhere for him prior to that.”