November 9, 2010

Uncle Mo Rides the Breeders’ Cup Wake

The headlines have been written … Zenyatta and Blame. Blame and Zenyatta. What a race! Who should be Horse of the Year? As the racing world still crackles with the electricity generated by the Classic, and with Goldikova serving as a formidable sidebar, the other Breeders’ Cup stars have been somewhat pushed below the surface. Fair enough, first things first. The Classic did create a tidal wave of excitement and emotion, but there was one colt who was so spectacular that he demands attention in the here and now. Of course, the colt I speak of is Uncle Mo, the romping winner of the 27th running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Uncle Mo controlled America‘s predominant race for two-year-olds from his stalking position and left rider John Velazquez with little to do but search for the competition. The son of Indian Charlie took the race by the throatlatch at the top of the stretch and cruised home down the Churchill Downs stretch as much the best. Uncle Mo finished 4 ¼ lengths clear of his only real competition, second choice Boys at Tosconova, who was more than 6 lengths ahead of 3rd place finisher Rogue Romance at the finish. The win confirms the hype placed on this horse from the very beginning, or at least it confirms that hype as a juvenile. Breaking his maiden by 14 ¼ lengths on Travers Day, Mo introduced himself in a big way. Running away from the Grade 1 Champagne competition in October furthered his reputation. I was one of those who gushed about this lightly raced talent, and by seeing him for the first time on Saturday, I only feel stronger that he is the best young horse I have seen in a long time. He runs fast every time and his impressive stride leaves the others hopelessly behind in the stretch.

The closest thing I have seen to Seattle Slew in 34 years, Uncle Mo not only will be named the Champion Two-year-old of 2010, he has established himself as an overwhelming early favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Pretty heady stuff for a horse who has run just three times. What road will the Good Uncle travel down on the road to glory? Pletcher’s initial plan is only two prep races for Uncle Mo before heading back to Louisville, saying he wouldn’t mind running his star around one turn in his first race as a 3-year-old. Possibilities for that first race would include two options at Gulfstream Park, the Holy Bull, a one-turn mile on January 29, or the Hutcheson, at seven furlongs on February 26. Owner Mike Repole, a native New Yorker, has already stated that he wants Mo’s final prep for the Run for the Roses to come in New York’s Wood Memorial.

With the likely retirement of Zenyatta, American racing is in need of a new hero. I give you Uncle Mo. He is the realest of deals, and while a lot can happen between now and the first Saturday in May, no one in his age group currently comes close to him.


Ian Lozada said...

Loved the way Uncle Mo won, but hate the road map back to Churchill. You'll see a lot of good, developing colts emerge over the next 6 months, and I doubt he'll have enough foundation off this little work.

william said...

brian..interesting article, i too have seen uncle mo run and he looks incredible and what a pleasure it would be to see a new york guy whos good for the game in the kentucky derby hunt...wood memorial, id be forced to go to aqueduct oh my

Brian Zipse said...

Ian, I can not disagree. Surely a third prep would be better than only two.

William, thank you. The prospect of seeing Mo and Repole on the Triple Crown hunt could be another shot in the arm for racing.

LDP said...

It seems Repole wants a litte more than just two preps. I don't see why Pletcher doesn't just take him to Gulfstream and go Holly Bull, FOY, then Wood. Very similar to what he did with Eskendereya last year.

Anonymous said...

zipster.......with all respect,i think you are losing perspective.....uncle mo is not all hat you are hyping up to be.....i just watched da replay....he is not special either as pletcher claims,nless he has da scope to improve ten fold....its way 2early and this race was not spectacular......ordinary field and competition....looking at his action....he does not strike me as a true 2turn racehorse.....mile might be his best distance in top class competition....all in all he is da FORERUNNER as of right now.....zatt's all

Silent Sunday said...

Anonymous??? We are talking about the BC Juvenile winner Uncle Mo right? This race was not spectacular?? To each his own, but this horse surely has the WOW factor. I agree it is early, but nothing wrong with having a big time prospect to already be excited about.