Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Horse Racing [Print without images]

Monday, March 14, 2011
Wood Memorial likely next for Uncle Mo

By Jay Privman


While still leaving a little wiggle room for Uncle Mo to run in the Florida Derby on April 3, trainer Todd Pletcher on Monday said it was still most likely that Uncle Mo would have his final prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9.

Uncle Mo, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2010, won his 3-year-old debut and remained unbeaten in four starts with a victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park in the Timely Writer Stakes. Owing to the slow pace of the race, he got a Beyer Speed Figure of 89.

Asked to put percentages of the chances of running in the Wood versus the Florida Derby, Pletcher, speaking from a 2-year-old sale in Ocala, Fla., said, “I would say 80-20, maybe 90-10.”

The Florida Derby is a slight possibility, Pletcher said, because “the fact is he’s here in Florida, he ran well at Gulfstream on Saturday, and if he came back in three weeks for the Florida Derby, he’d then have five weeks to the Kentucky Derby.”

“But the Wood has been the plan all along, and, thus far, the plan has gone accordingly,” Pletcher added. “I don’t know that we want to mess with that.”

Pletcher said Stay Thirsty, who, like Uncle Mo, is owned by Mike Repole, would run in whichever of those two races Uncle Mo does not go in. Stay Thirsty won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in his last start but soon after that race returned to the Palm Meadows training center in Florida, where Uncle Mo also has been based this winter.

Pletcher said that Brethren, a disappointing third as the odds-on favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday, came out of the race in good shape and would likely make his next start in the Arkansas Derby on April 10. The Arkansas Derby was used as a final prep last year by Super Saver, Brethen’s half-brother, before a Kentucky Derby victory.

“Obviously, we were disappointed he didn’t run as well as we had hoped he would,” Pletcher said.