After a bad outing at the Wood Memorial and a gastrointestinal infection there was a good deal of doubt about whether or not Uncle Mo would start in the Kentucky Derby at all. Now every indication is that he’s back to 100% and will be in the field at Churchill Downs on May 7.
Uncle Mo has been the de facto Kentucky Derby betting favorite ever since his win in the 2010 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, but his stock drop preciptiously after a third place finish in the Wood Memorial and subsequent blood tests that revealed a gastrointestinal infection. Ever since then, trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole sounded cautious and noncomittal when speaking about Mo’s chances of making the Derby. Their tone has changed significantly in the past couple of days–Pletcher says that Uncle Mo is back to his old self:
“In the last 96 hours we’re seeing signs around the barn he is back to his old self. This morning’s work indicates he is on track.”
Mo breezed on Wednesday with his regular jockey John Velazquez aboard and turned in a good effort in his first workout since the April 9th Wood Memorial. The big concern coming out of that race was Mo’s lack of closing ability as he gave way to Toby’s Corner in the late stages en route to his first career loss. Repole and Pletcher ordered bloodwork done afterwards as a precautionary measure which revealed the infection.
Later in the day Pletcher sounded a more cautious tone, stressing that while things are looking up for Uncle Mo that every day between now and the Kentucky Derby are crucial:
“This morning’s work was a key ingredient. We’re getting back to seeing the Uncle Mo we saw in the Timely Writer and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; but it’s a long way to go (until May 7).”
Uncle Mo will continue to be treated by Dr. Doug Byars for the GI infection and that he plans to work him again either Sunday, May 1, or Monday, May 2. His stablemate and likely Kentucky Derby entrant, Stay Thirsty, is also expected to work at this time.