After Uncle Mo’s connections opted to pass on the Tampa Bay Derby and other more competitive Kentucky Derby prep races, the general wisdom was that anything other than a rout would undermine his status as Triple Crown favorite. Uncle Mo did his job, however, easily dispatching a forgettable field in the $100,000 Timely Writer at Gulfstream Park
Uncle Mo was never really challenged by the field of five, eventually winning a 3 3/4 length victory over Rattlesnake Bridge. Uncle Mo broke a step slow out of the gate but quickly recovered and with jockey John Valazquez aboard proceeded to blow past his game but overmatched competitors. The Kentucky Derby favorite set slow fractional times of 25.53 seconds, 49.58 and 1:13.69 but in a race devoid of early speed Uncle Mo set the pace. He looked strong in the stretch as he galloped away from the field for the easy win.
Trainer Todd Pletcher’s post race comments were appropriate for an outing that was more of a ‘day at the office’ than a serious competitive challenge:
“He was the Derby favorite going in and he’s the Derby favorite coming out!”
Despite the less than stellar competition, Pletcher saw a lot to like in Uncle Mo’s effort:
“He didn’t break perfectly, maybe a half step slow, but the interior fractions were comfortable for him. What I liked best was that he ran the last quarter in 22 and 4 and galloped out huge! You don’t see too many horses do that on dirt and he did it with Johnny looking around.”
“He got the conditioning we were looking for without having to run a hard race. I’m happy we got over that hurdle and now we can move on to the next step.”
Up next for Uncle Mo is likely the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9:
“I talked to Mike (owner Mike Repole) about the possibility of flip-flopping Uncle Mo with Stay Thirsty in the Wood and keeping him here for the Florida Derby but he’s had the Wood on his mind for this horse since the Breeders’ Cup. I would never say never but for now the Wood will be next for Uncle Mo.”
Uncle Mo paid $2.10 across the board to win, place and show. Rattlesnake Bridge–easily the second best horse on the track–paid $2.20 to place and show while Gallant Bridge finished third paying $3.00.