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HRN Original Blog:
Racing At The Jersey Shore

Uncle Mo: He’s back!

It had been way too long since I had been to Belmont Park.  It was with great anticipation that I headed to Super Saturday.  There would be five grade one races, but I was most looking forward to the Kelso Handicap, which was a mere grade two event.  The Kelso was where Uncle Mo was running.
 
I had seen Uncle Mo in his stall in the Todd Pletcher barn in Oklahoma area at Saratoga.  He was contently hanging out, resting his head on his hay net.  Uncle Mo impressed me with his calm and laid back demeanor. He was a happy horse.
 
Before the Kelso the paddock was bustling with anticipation. The whole Repole clan was there and they were wearing the Repole colors.  There were orange blazers and ties.  Many guys were wearing orange and blue caps emblazoned with logos of NY, the circled orange R of the Repole Stable, or the name Uncle Mo.  Women were accessorized in orange and blue. It was a New York crowd. Eventually owner Mike Repole made his way into the scene and jokingly said, “Let me go train the horse!”  Meanwhile jockey John Velazquez walked in and sought out the Repole grandmother to get a good luck kiss.
 
The whole time Uncle Mo walked very calmly and saddled like a professional.  When Velasquez got a leg up from trainer Todd Pletcher and settled into the saddle Uncle Mo knew it was race time.  His calmness turned into the ultimate image of a racehorse that was ready to take care of business. Uncle Mo looked amazing!
 
Uncle Mo ran even better than he looked.   After the win a jubilant and giddy Repole described the race from the point when Jackson Bend mounted his challenge. At the point he thought, “Are we gonna lose by five or by ten? We went 23 and a half and I went like WOW.  I couldn’t picture anything better.  I thought Jersey Town might give some trouble, but he didn’t.  And we went :46 and sped it up.  No doubt in my mind that Zito and LaPenta probably said do not let Uncle Mo get away.  Go and challenge him. And then Johnny just looked and he just took off.”
 
Repole then talked about the talent of Uncle Mo, “Everyone thinks he’s just a one dimensional speed horse.  He can go six furlongs or a mile and a half.  Todd’s been saying the whole time, he’s not only brilliant and not only fast, but he has the mind to go with it.  So he’s able to rate.  He’s able to hold and when Jackson Bend came up Johnny just shook him and said Mo, you go.”
 
Back in the summer when it appeared that Uncle Mo was recovering from his liver ailment I stated and hoped that there was still a chance that Uncle Mo would be a factor in the end of the year picture.  It was great to be standing in the winner’s circle listening to Repole joke about their Breeders Cup plans, “I’ve got to talk to Todd, not for his opinion, but to tell him what to do.  You know, I love the Classic.  It’s a race I’ve loved 25 years watching.  In my opinion, if you run Uncle Mo in the Sprint, he’s the favorite.  If you run Uncle Mo in the Mile, he’s the favorite.  Probably if you run him in the Classic, he’s probably gonna be the favorite. This is such a brilliant race horse that there’s not too many horses that you could say could run in all three distances and probably would be the favorite.  I want to win the Classic…if Mo was in the Mile and won by eight lengths and Stay Thirsty was third in the Classic that would be a decision I would regret the rest of my life, so why not take two shots at a race everyone wants to win.”
 
Uncle Mo earned a dazzling 118 Beyer Speed Figure for his crowd pleasing win in the Kelso.  The Repole Stable did something that the Knicks and Mets haven’t been able to do. They brought a big victory to the orange and blue colors of New York.  In the end, nobody said it better than Tom Durkin’s call in the stretch, “Uncle Mo, he’s baaaaack!” 

 

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Older Comments about Uncle Mo: He’s back!...

There is going to be a lot of speed in the Classic, it could be like last year where all the early leaders finished way back. I think the Kings Bishop showed that Mo could rate off the pace and the Kelso showed that he is getting fit. He has a big shot to win the Classic.
DeadHeat-the track, according to many, Belmont became more tiring as the day went on. It is a whole different ballgame running 10 furlongs than even 9 furlongs. That is all I am pointing out.
I'm also hoping that he get the x factor from the dam side and get his speed from the Sire....which is normally what happen to most Males.
Normally I would worry about foundation, but he seems like he never gets tired. He didn't look like he was even close to being ready to pull up, while others such as Flat Out and Thirsty did. The bottom half of his pedigree makes me think he will not be hindered by the distance either, Indian Charlie or not. It's a shame his one of his only two starts over 8f was while he was sick.
He has run two nice races at 7 furlongs and 1 mile. I hope he has the foundation to get 10 furlongs at Churchill.
And beyond the BC, I hope he races next year!
I've been a Mo fan from the very beginning and still am. I'm thrilled at his comeback; he appears healthy and happy and that's what Im interested in. I hope for a really exciting future for him!
Medlocke, weren't you also saying there was now way he would win or even hit the board in the KB? How long will it take for people to understand, he is a freak, freaks to extraordianry things.
We all love the comeback kid. I'm sticking with Uncle Mo all the way!
I'm pulling for Mo! Before he got sick I thought for sure he would win the derby!
And then, others don't. :( GO MO !!!
He run's in the BC Dirt Mile? He win's in hand and goes home with a very nice payday!! He run's in the BC Classic? He'll be strong as can be for the first 8-1/2 or 9f of the race. Then he'll fade like old ink on a newspaper in the final taxing furlong of that long, forever Churchill Downs straight. Mark my words, sure as sunshine!!
Mo certainly knows how to add some excitement to our sport!

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In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

 
There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
 
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
 
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
 
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.