Updated on 05/09/2011 4:20PM

Uncle Mo will be based at WinStar Farm until he regains health

Tom Keyser
Uncle Mo will remain in Kentucky as he continues to recuperate from a yet-to-be diagnosed illness.

Uncle Mo, who was scratched from Saturday’s Kentucky Derby due to a yet-to-be-diagnosed internal issue, was vanned from Churchill Downs to WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., on Monday morning, his connections announced.

By going to WinStar, Uncle Mo will be close to several equine clinics while also being able to remain in training, if his connections see fit to put him on the track. WinStar has a seven-furlong Polytrack facility on its grounds.

Pletcher has a long-standing relationship with WinStar Farm, for whom he won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. Pletcher said he would be consulting with Elliott Walden, WinStar Farm’s president/CEO/racing manager, regarding Uncle Mo’s daily routine.

Uncle Mo has not trained since Friday, when he galloped at Churchill Downs. Later that morning, he was officially scratched from the Derby for which he was the morning-line second choice. Pletcher said that Uncle Mo has one elevated enzyme that has veterinarians baffled.

“It makes sense to keep him in the Lexington area, where he will have access to the best veterinary facilities,” Pletcher said in a press release. “WinStar Farm has a beautiful training facility, which includes a hyperbaric chamber and a first-class staff. Our focus is to figure out what is going on internally with him and get him back to 100 percent. When we do figure this out, the horse is already fit, so we don’t think it will take him long to get back to his 2-year-old form.”

Uncle Mo underwent more tests from a new veterinarian Sunday, according to owner Mike Repole. The results of those tests have not yet come back. Repole said Uncle Mo is 40 to 60 pounds underweight and weighs just less than 1,100 pounds.

“The one thing I told Todd was if my vet bills are not high enough, I’m going to complain,” Repole said. “He said ‘Trust me, they’re going to be high.’ ”

Uncle Mo, last year’s 2-year-old champion, was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal tract infection following his third-place finish in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9. Pletcher and Repole felt the horse was making progress in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby but did not feel the horse was 100 percent physically to run in the Derby.

While Uncle Mo will not be able to run in any of the Triple Crown races, Repole holds out hope that the horse can have a strong second half of the year in races like the Jim Dandy, Travers, and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“The number one goal is to get Uncle Mo healthy, and I feel very confident with Elliott Walden and his team,” Repole said. “Todd trains many of WinStar’s horses, and he and Elliott speak on a regular basis. Our second, distant goal when Uncle Mo gets back to the races is for him to be named 3-year-old champion and Horse of the Year.”