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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Uncle Mo Stands Alone

 
Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 29

The inclination to want to beat the favorite is a natural one. Most years on the Derby Trail, I happily fall into that pattern. Picking the Kentucky Derby favorite all spring is not nearly as much fun as tabbing a horse that is not so highly regarded. Some years though are different. The favorite is the real deal, in my estimation, and the rest just do not stack up. This year has become such a year. Despite the shortcoming of Uncle Mo being largely untested this year, and that will likely continue in tomorrow’s $1 million Wood Memorial, he showed enough last year for me to believe that he is far and away the cream of this crop. Yesterday’s disappointing announcement that Premier Pegasus was injured and is off the Derby trail tipped the scales further to the unbeaten champion.

In recent weeks I had come to the conclusion that PrePeg was the one horse who may be able to upset Uncle Mo’s apple cart, much the way Sunday Silence put a halt to Easy Goer’s invincibility. Now he is gone. As is super juvenile Kantharos, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile second, Boys at Tosconova, and third, Rogue Romance. All off the rose hunt due to injuries. Uncle Mo’s chances are certainly enhanced because of these injuries, but it is not only the physical setbacks of others that are making Uncle Mo a bigger favorite. The lack of strong contenders stepping up and showing that they are legitimate stars in the making have also pushed Uncle Mo farther up the mountain.

Horses like Mucho Macho Man, Soldat, To Honor and Serve, Sway Away have majorly underachieved relative to expectations in their latest race. Jaycito, Brethren, and Astrology have not capitalized yet on their lofty ratings from 2010. Machen and Elite Alex have not stepped up as they moved into stakes company. The list goes on. One by one, Uncle Mo looks stronger as he relaxes in his stall. Even his own stablemate Stay Thirsty seems to be ready and willing to move meekly out of Mo’s path of destiny. Sure many of these horses have excuses, and it is not too late to show us something in the next 29 days, but right now none look to be the horse who can knock of that talented champion who cruised home under the twin spires so impressively last autumn in the Breeders’ Cup.

That leaves Dialed In, a horse with no early speed, and The Factor, a horse with no early restraint, as the pair that many will point to as the most likely to derail the coronation of Uncle Mo. I have my doubts. With the defection of Premier Pegasus, Dialed In moved up to #2 on my list, but this is a horse who could not break 1:50 on a fast Gulfstream Park track a few days ago. The Factor is fast, no dispute there, but winning after a pressured pace going 1 ¼ miles does not seem very likely to this experienced Derby watcher.

We will learn more in the Wood Memorial and several other races in the next few weeks, but I have a feeling this opinion may only get stronger. At a young age my father used to like to tell me the “cream will rise” (to the top). It seems to me that this year it is happening even before the horses get to Louisville.
 
 
 
 

 

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Older Comments about Uncle Mo Stands Alone...

he was said to be hurt and if that was the case with the hoof tear, that is like running with a broken foot.
I wonder why every horse can have a second chance but Mo. He was very under trained, and trained almost backwardsly. Pletcher revved him up for the wrong race then let him go with 2 easy half mile works in 4 weeks. The flip flop of venues was also not a fantastic decision. Mike made a mistake there, but everyone makes a few. Mo did not fold like a weak tent, in fact he fought pretty hard even though he, IMO did not look comfortable over that track.
Can't win 'em all eh
He has really did little this year in the competition he has run against. With the field he had today in the Wood, if they field many more Races of the quality they will lose their Grade I Status. f he was the Horse to beat in the Derby he should have destroyed this very weak field. People question if the Factor can run a distance and that has always been my question with Uncle Mo no matter what his Breeding says. He may be a good mile or mile and a sixteenth Horse but does not look to be able to run the longer distances.
Thanks, Dad was right about a lot of things ;-)
Your dad was right, and the absolute cream of the crop is Uncle Mo!
I hope he flattens the Wood field on his way to a Derby romp! :)
I know tomorrow is not a strong field, but I still want Uncle Mo to show me something. I am expecting him to win by 5 or 6 lengths in good time without too much effort. If that happens, I will feel confident that we are looking that he is the same special horse we saw last year, and it will be all systems go for the Derby and beyond.
Loved the Part about DI with no early speed and The Factor with no early restraint.. Yes I agree, with PrePeg out, I see this as even more reason why Uncle Mo is the likely winner.. Of course, anything can happen. I love the Factor, and if any horse can stretch that speed out..it COULD be him... DI may surprise us and find some extra motivation at Churchill and clip them at the wire... But I'm gonna predict a Barbaro-esque performance by MO

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.