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  • Dolphus (6-5), Rachel Alexandra's half-brother, wins AQU allowance; Shagaf lastPosted 5 days ago
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Breeders Cup 2015
Kentucky Derby 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

A Champion in Every Way

There are many intriguing storylines to choose from only two weeks from the Breeders Cup Classic. Havre de Grace is trying do something Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra never did. Beat males at 10 furlongs over dirt in a grade one. She is also trying to get her second win against males this year, in as many tries. Tizway and Flat Out both have heartwarming stories as they try to put their days of injury plagued seasons behind them and rise to the pinnacle of the sport. However, none of these horses, not even Havre de Grace, can come close to the story of Uncle Mo.

After quickly stamping himself as one of the most impressive and brilliant juveniles in recent history in only three starts, the Two-Year Old Champion, seemingly fell from grace after finishing third in his final prep for an assault on the Kentucky Derby. He was later taken off the trail all together and it was found that he had a rare liver ailment, Cholangiohepatitis. After being diagnosed his return to racing was uncertain, since the disease could end up being chronic. However, owner Mike Repole refused to give up on his colt, giving him every chance he could, and miraculously the colt began to improve. His dull coat began to regain its healthy sheen, he began to put on weight, and the listlessness began to fall away to the spunky personality he showed as a juvenile.

It would be four months, but Uncle Mo finally made it back to the track. He ran valiantly in his return, a load edition of this year’s King’s Bishop, to finish second. No ordinary horse could have given such a performance of a liver ailment that sidelined them for four months, but Uncle Mo ran like a champion. There were rumors that Repole was considering retirement after the loss, but they turned out to be false, as the owner pressed on, entering his star in the Kelso Stakes. Uncle Mo routed his older rivals, winning in a jaw dropping 1.33 4/5ths and receiving a 118 BSF, the second highest this year of any horse.

By all rights, this horse should not even be favored in the Classic or even be entered in any Breeders Cup event. Any normal horse would not be expected to be at the required level of fitness to compete in the Breeders Cup, but again, with every race he has run, Uncle Mo continues to improve he is far from normal. There are questions surrounding his readiness off of just two starts, neither over a mile. There are doubts surrounding his ability to get the distance based on his breeding, but despite it all Uncle Mo looks to be one of the favorites.

His story beats them all because he is the one who captured our hearts and became a champion, only to nearly fall victim to a rare illness that nearly destroyed his career, and is now trying to do something extraordinary. Churchill Downs was the sight his biggest career win, and after everything, he is attempting to come full circle in the Classic. Should he win there is no doubt he would become Champion Three-Year Old. It doesn’t end there though, should he win, he will most likely win Horse of the Year.

Call him a miler, call him overrated and overhyped, but this is a champion by title and by heart. He is a fighter and it is he alone who gives the much needed spice to the Classic. Should he fall short, ridicule should not be what awaits him, it should be applause, because not since Seattle Slew has such a comeback been attempted. He is the definition of “comeback kid.” He is the definition of a champion and one thing you can expect Classic day is that he will be there fighting to the bitter end. Win or lose, he is a fighter and a champion.


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Older Comments about A Champion in Every Way...

You can call me crazy if you please, not that it hasn't been done before but if we had a healthy Mo for the Triple Crown then we would most likely see the new champ and HOTY. MTC
Oh yeah....GO MO! I have to laugh. Thinking back to those dark times when Mo was in 'rehab' at WinStar. I was following Mo's status as much as I could on Facebook. There were LOTS of messages every day from lots of people just wanting to know how he was doing. Every now and then we'd get an update or, better yet, a VIDEO of our boy. I think I made a comment one time about wondering the the WS folk had any idea what they were getting when they had 'MO in the house'. So many fans just love this colt (me too!). We've always considered him a champ!
I don't understand how he has so many detractors after what he has accomplished already. He sure looks like a champion to me.
Shoot, that was some great writing. If I didn't already love Mo, I would now. I love Grace too. and she has had an amazing year herself, transforming from competitor to champion, but I will say Go Mo for the BCC.
This article touched me. As much as I would like to see the great filly, HDG, win it, I can't help but have my fingers crossed for our Uncle Mo. What an exceptional colt.
Love it! You said it best- he is a fighter and a champion.
He is the <3 fan <3 favorite and has been my shining star for this entire bumpy road. I'm going to the BC just see him in person. He is a horse of the ages.
Thank you all. Inspiring was what I was going for :) His story should be one that inspires.
Great job by Pletcher/Repole!! Not taking the easy way out and giving the fans what we want!! GO MO or HDG haha
Love it! Inspiring story. This is not a regular horse. I think everyone will realize that by the end of the day on November 5th.
If he wins, or even finishes a close second or third, that's a big accomplishment and he will be set up for a great season next year.

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track, TwinSpires.com, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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