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The Uncle Mo Decision

Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily - Day 74
 
Decision ’11 has been made. Owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher have decided to send their superstar colt, Uncle Mo to Gulfstream Park’s Timely Writer, rather than the original goal of the Tampa Bay Derby. Both races will be run on Saturday, March 12.
 
The Timely Writer is a listed stakes race recently created to offer horses not in need of additional graded stakes money to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Uncle Mo certainly did not need more graded stakes money, but I can’t help to think about all the fine people at Tampa Bay Downs.
 
All Winter they have been happily bracing for the arrival of Uncle Mo to headline their biggest race. Now less than three weeks out, they are left without their star. In his place it is likely that Pletcher will send WinStar Farm’s Brethren back for the Tampa Bay Derby, and I’m sure Tampa will field a good bunch for the race, but without Uncle Mo, they lost the big horse that excites the masses. Too bad, Tampa Bay Downs deserved to be in the spotlight for at least a day.
 
As far as Uncle Mo, his connections will say that they are only doing the best for the horse. Perhaps they are trying to keep him fit and fresh for all three legs of the Triple Crown, rather than having him at his very best for the First Saturday in May. This can be seen as a bold strategy … trying to win the Triple Crown, not just the Derby. I wonder if it will pay off, after all you can not win the Crown without first winning the Derby. One two-turn race before the Derby seems a little light to this seasoned observer.
 
[Does this decision take anythng away from Uncle Mo's firm spot at #1 on HRN's list of 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders]
 
On a personal note, I will be in attendance at the Tampa Bay Derby, and I imagine it will be a great time, but … truth be told, I wanted Mo.
 
The only good thing about this decision is it could set up an early showdown with Dialed In who might be pointing for the Timely Writer as his next start. An Uncle Mo and Dialed In matchup in March does lighten my mood, even if it is only in a one-turn, listed stakes race.

 

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Older Comments about The Uncle Mo Decision...

I am sorry that the good folks down in Tampa won't see this race...I sense a conspiraacy in this madness...I wonder how much HRTV had to do with this race Timely Writer race down in Gulfstream....think about it...HRTV basically controls all the major preps this year with a few exceptions..the bluegrass and Sunland Derby...by having this race and hoping that Pletcher and Reople would go there then they basically shut out TVG from having an opportunity to draw some viewers...just saying..I am all about the conspiracy..back to the race...Tampa Down Derby will now have horses who are on the fringe looking to make some purpse for the derby...this is a good thing people...horses like Bind(if they want to push it)...Justin Phillip...Elite Alex...who are on the outside looking in and want to make some derby qualifying purse may go to Tampa which could make the Tampa derby an intriguing and exciting race.
I hope he does well in his three year old campaign. If he's in correct form, I bet he could have a good shot at the Kentucky Derby, but I'm not completely sure on the Belmont yet. Anyway, good luck to him and his connections!
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uncle mo will need to be a big time horse to win the triple crown . also he needs to be able to stay healthy and strong If able to do just that i can see uncle mo winning the first two legs of the triple crown no questions ask. the belmont is my only concern .
This just seems stupid to me. A horse as to win dollars to get in a race. Why not change it to a entry system of $10,000 a month from October and those left run in the race. The prize fund will raise to something like $5million and all the late acheivers get to race. Or just pass the the race come to English Derby and get slammed by Frankel
I honeslty don't think Big Brown is in the same league as Uncle Mo. Uncle Mo at least has a two-year-old foundation to work off of, Big Brown only raced once and then was laid up utnil the beggining of hi 3-year-old year.
I'm just happy we get to see him race somewhere. Tracks compete for horses. Gulfstream won.
And look what happened to Big Brown in the Belmont. Hope we are not looking at another Triple Crown fizzle.
Big Brown comes to mind.
A good strategy to defeat Mo in the Derby is to stay away from him in the preps. He could be vulnerable in a 20-horse field at Churchill especially if he does not get enough out of his two preps. He will have a single two turn Derby prep in 2011. Has a horse ever won the Derby with one route prep as a 3yo?
Maybe it's Pletcher's plan to put Brethren in the Tampa Bay Derby to get the graded earnings he needs to be sure of getting in the derby. So Pletcher has his usual plethora of horses at the Derby.
I don't like the one-turn prep idea either. If Pletcher wanted a public workout he could have rounded up his 3yo's (Brethren, Cal Nation, Stay Thirsty, Travelin Man, Uncle Mo, etc) and run a simulated race. I can't imagine many horses are dying to face Uncle Mo in a $100,000 non-graded event. It does seem like they are treating Mo with kid gloves and if he loses the Derby they are going to take endless heat.
Echo, Brian. Tampa has earned the showcase. They've done a fabulous job over the past few years improving their product exponentially. They have problems, for sure (most of which were spotlighted by Andy Beyer in his Washington Post piece). But I too wish they would've gotten 'Mo.' As for Uncle Mo, boy, I don't know about this strategy. A one-turn mile, the Wood, then the Derby? I get not wanting to push it. The TC is grueling. You don't want to tax the horse too much. But boy, if they were only going to do one race before the Wood, I'd have gone to the FOY, To Honor and Serve be damned. It'll be VERY interesting to see how this plays out.
I feel bad for the people of Tampa Bay Downs, I really do. The only upside is their Derby may turn out to be a bigger more equally matched field now.
They will still go to the Tampa Bay Derby if the Timely Writer doesn't fill from what I heard...so here's to hoping it won't fill! :) If he goes in the Timely Writer he's going to tear that field apart!
i wonder what the folks in Tampa Bay Downs are thinking about this. ....! One can only wonder, truly, how the business end of things worked into this on that EXACT date of the Tampa bay derby that Mo has been confirmed for for as long as I can remember. Have we ever seen a stakes race invented over night for the sole purpose of having a derby contender lured to its track, and lured away from another? Pletcher is also unfortuneately now thrown in the mix of something that smells very fishy. I think if a big slice of justice was served here that no one would enter the race against Mo', leaving him with exactly what Gulfstream hoped for anyway....apublic workout of the champ.
so im flying to Tampa from New York to see Uncle Mo run, and I could have waited to the Wood and drove 20 minutes to see him...LOL..brilliant!
I also am attending with the anticipation of seeing Uncle Mo run again, however I understand owner and trainer can always change their minds but to run in a ungraded public workout can not be in the horses best interest to prepare for his triple crown bid, Mike Repole wants to win the Wood Memorial, he could have chosen the Gotham which i dont think will have a dominant field and just shipped directly to New York, Tampa Bay Downs was looking forward to the big horses appearance only to be trumped by Gulfstream Park and in a time when the competition for race fans is at its highest for them to write a race to steal a horse is not good for the fans almost as bad as paying appearance fees to avoid seeing the best racing
Maybe Pletcher doesn't want Uncle Mo to get too much out of it.
You are right Ryan, the Timely Writer could come up very light, which also begs the question, what will Mo get out of it?

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