Every single year there is an owner or a trainer that just
can’t help but trash talk the competition and this year it is Robert LaPenta.
In an interview this morning LaPenta made it quite clear how bitter he is over
the lack of respect Dialed In has received compared to the heaps that,
apparently, Uncle Mo has been receiving. In case LaPenta hasn’t noticed his
colt has quite a few followers who believe the colt will circle the field to
take the Kentucky Derby by storm. In case he hasn’t noticed, Uncle Mo has lost
plenty of his followers since his 3rd place finish in the Juvenile,
even though he was battling a GI infection that day.
I understand wanting more respect for your horse but bad
mouthing the competition is not the way to get it. In fact, it makes you look
even worse. LaPenta was quoted comparing
his champion 2yr old champion War Pass to Uncle Mo, saying that War Pass was
more accomplished when he began on the Derby trail, yet people called his colt
a one dimensional speedster who would not get the distance. Mr. LaPenta, War
Pass ran over a very speed favoring track in his Breeders Cup Juvenile in
1.42.76. Uncle Mo ran over a very deep and tiring Churchill Downs main track,
rating off the lead, something War Pass never succeeded at, and ran a final time
of 1.42.6. Notice that even Rachel Alexandra and Unrivaled Belle ran slower
earlier that year for the same distance. In the Champagne Uncle Mo nearly broke
the track record, while War Pass came home nearly two whole seconds slower. As
a 3yr old War Pass ran LAST in his first prep, and second in the Wood Memorial.
The winning time in his running of the Wood was nearly two seconds slower
LaPenta, in the same quote, then notes Uncle Mo’s breeding. If
he wants to bring up breeding why not bring up War Pass again? He had a sire
who was even more sprint oriented than Indian Charlie, Uncle Mo’s sire.
Cherokee Run never won anything past 9 furlongs and never placed in anything
over 9.5 furlongs. Even in the Preakness the time was a slow 1.56.6 that year.
Indian Charlie dominated the Santa Anita Derby and ran third in the Kentucky
Derby. He sired Fleet Indian, who won at 10 furlongs as a 4yr old. On the
bottom of Uncle Mo’s pedigree is Arch, who is the sire of Archarcharch and
Blame, who won last year’s Breeder’s Cup Classic. Arch also carries the line of
Kris S. who was in the pedigrees of Rock Hard Ten and Zenyatta. Look a little
farther back and you’ll find Princquillo, who gave Secretariat his stamina.
LaPenta is also quoted saying that there are double standards
in regards to Uncle Mo’s work, stating that had that been Dialed In, his colt
would’ve gotten trashed. Mr. LaPenta seems to not realize that Churchill Downs
can be a very sticky track when wet, and that most people were expecting
average to slower clockings. He notes that people rave over the Timely Writer
yet trashed Dialed in for losing to older horse. That allowance race was
against nondescript older males who nobody had ever heard of, and even in
knowing that, plenty of people still backed the colt, saying it was just a prep
and a learning race. When Uncle Mo ran in the Timely Writer he ran a final
quarter of 22 4/5. I would love to see what other 3yr old ran that fast of a
final quarter in any of their preps this year.
Are these comments horrible? No, maybe childish, however it
is not these that really grated on my nerves. It was LaPenta coming just short
of accusing Pletcher and Repole of running an unsound colt. “I’ve been a little
concerned about Uncle Mo. I felt there was something a little amiss in the way
he was training for some reason. No one would document it, but he didn’t seem
the same horse at three as he was at two.” Has he been there watching Uncle Mo
every single morning? Is he conversing on a regular basis with Pletcher or
Repole? Where do assumptions that something is amiss come from? LaPenta should
remember the good old saying “assuming makes an ass out of you and me,” and if
the assumptions are unfounded it makes the one making them look even worse.
If LaPenta wants respect for his horse then rave about him,
talk him up, be proud. That is all fine and well. However, it becomes a whole
new ballgame when you start trying to talk down the competition to try and gain
respect. It shows just how desperate for attention a person really is. It shows
weakness, not strength, and that is not something the industry needs.