The next race for Kentucky Derby betting favorite Uncle Mo will be Saturday’s Stately Writer at Gulfstream Park–even if trainer Todd Pletcher has to fill the entire field himself. Regardless, the expectation is that last year’s top two year old won’t face a very large field in his 3 year old debut.
There had been some concern that the $100,000 Stately Writer would be scrapped due to the shortage of three year olds looking to take on last year’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile champ. It now looks like the race is a ‘go’ between the track’s willingness to run it with a small field and Todd Pletcher’s intention to ‘stack the deck’ and fill the field himself if necessary.
Gulfstream Park Vice President of Racing Tim Ritvo understands the benefit to his track of featuring Uncle Mo in the Stately Writer:
“Having the Eclipse Award winner and Kentucky Derby favorite run here is a bonus for our fans, so we’re willing to let this race go with a very short field if we have to.”
There are several trainers who are considering entering horses in the Stately Writer, but as of yet none have committed. Trainer Chad Brown is thinking about running Free Entry, Anthony Pecoraro competing with I’m Steppin’ It Up, and Carlos Martin with Schoolyard Cat. Clearly Uncle Mo’s trainer Todd Pletcher is adamant about his horse making his three year old debut in this race. Pletcher has nominated 13 horses for the Stately Writer–obviously an ‘insurance policy’ to make sure the field is large enough for the race to be held.
Chad Brown’s Free Entry has already won twice in the current Gulfstream meet, but he’s keeping his options open and is leaning toward the Tampa Bay Derby:
“I’ll enter in both and give the owners the option, although right now I’m leaning towards going to Tampa because of the graded money.”
Anthony Pecoraro’s I’m Steppin’ It Up has already seen plenty of Uncle Mo–his last start was in the Grade 1 Champagne where he finished third. Pecoraro was noncommittal, but suggested that the presence of Uncle Mo wouldn’t dissuade him from entering his horse:
“He’s ready to run and there’s a possibility we could be in the Timely Writer. I know Uncle Mo is going in there but we’ve run against him before and we have to get this horse started somewhere.”
Uncle Mo has completed his workouts for his long awaited three year old debut–on Sunday he breezed an easy half-mile in 48.87 seconds under jockey John Velazquez.