11/06/2010 4:50PM

Uncle Mo dominates Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Uncle Mo romps to victory in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It takes something special to make trainer Todd Pletcher emotional. Uncle Mo confirmed Saturday that he is indeed something special.

Uncle Mo not only crowned himself the 2-year-old champion but also stamped himself the winter-book favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby with a dominant 4 1/4-length victory over Boys At Tosconova in Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. It was six lengths back to Rogue Romance in third.

“That was awesome,” Pletcher said as he walked out of the horsemen’s lounge where he watched the race on television. “It gave me goose bumps. Wow! What a horse. I knew he was special, but to do it for the third time, first time around two turns at Churchill Downs, wow, unbelievable.”

It was the third Breeders’ Cup win of the weekend for Pletcher, who came into this year’s Breeders’ Cup 3 for 66 in the series. Earlier in the day, Pletcher won the Juvenile Turf with Pluck. On Friday, Pletcher won the Juvenile Fillies Turf with More Than Real.

The victory was the third in as many starts for Uncle Mo, a son of Indian Charlie owned by Mike Repole. Uncle Mo won his debut at Saratoga by 14 1/4 lengths before taking the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont by 4 3/4 lengths, running the second fastest time for that race at the one-mile distance.

Those races were run around one turn. The Juvenile was Uncle Mo’s first start around two turns, and he handled it with aplomb.

Breaking alertly under John Velazquez, Uncle Mo settled into second position, stalking the maiden Riveting Reason through a quarter-mile in 23.57 seconds and a half-mile in 47.27. Entering the far turn, Uncle Mo went after Riveting Reason and was on equal terms with him turning for home.

Velazquez simply shook the reins at Uncle Mo, and he took off in the stretch. Velazquez only used his left-handed whip to keep Uncle Mo from lugging in. Uncle Mo covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.60 and returned $4.80 as the favorite.

“Watching the race unfold, I felt extremely confident,” Pletcher said. “I could tell how much horse John had when he took a look back at the half-mile pole – John has ridden a lot of races for me and generally when he does that it’s an awful good feeling.”

Ramon Dominguez, aboard Boys At Tosconova, had a good feeling early in the race, keeping his horse on the outside of Uncle Mo. But when it came time to run with Uncle Mo, he couldn’t.

“I knew it was basically a two-horse race,” Dominguez said. “I had him on my inside the whole time and I just couldn’t really match up with him today.”

Pletcher said Uncle Mo would ship to the Palm Meadows training center in the next week to begin preparation for next year’s Kentucky Derby, a race Pletcher won this year with Super Saver.

“You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, you just want to enjoy this moment and focus on this race right now,” Pletcher said. “We’ll say a blessing and hope he comes back here in May, but this is extra special.”