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Uncle Mo Drills Saratoga Bullet

Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop candidate Uncle Mo had his penultimate breeze for his return to the races, zipping five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.34 over Saratoga Race Course’s main track this morning under jockey John Velazquez.


Entering the track shortly after 6 a.m., Uncle Mo was eager to break off once let go by the lead pony, joining Curlin Stakes winner and fellow 3-year-old Turbo Compressor on the outside and hitting the wire almost two lengths ahead of his workmate.


Uncle Mo’s move was the fastest of 37 at the distance, while Turbo Compressor checked in at 1:00.56, third-fastest of the morning.


“He’s back in race mode,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of Uncle Mo. “You can see a change in his disposition leading into these works the last couple of times. At the same time, he’s been settled. It was another bullet work and he did it well within himself. He galloped out strongly and came back well. We’re excited about where he is at the moment.”


The seven-furlong Foxwoods King’s Bishop on August 27 would be Uncle Mo’s first start since a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial on April 9. Heading into the Kentucky Derby as the likely favorite, the Mike Repole color-bearer was scratched from the race with what was later diagnosed as a rare liver disorder, and he did not return to training until July.


Sunday’s work, moved up one day because of a rainy forecast, was his second straight bullet work and fifth overall at Saratoga and will be followed by one more breeze next Sunday, said Pletcher.


“When you are looking at a horse who has accomplished as much as he has, you’re not going to find an easy race to come back in,” said Pletcher of last year’s juvenile champion. “The first start of his life he ran an enormous race here at Saratoga and we would expect him to run a big race first time back.


“Right now, he’s Uncle Mo and he’s perfectly healthy,” he added. “As long as that continues to be the case, then we’re confident he’ll go over and run his ‘A’ race.”


Uncle Mo was just one of many stakes-bound horses working for Pletcher on Sunday morning, including fellow 3-year-old Stay Thirsty, the Grade 2 Jim Dandy winner who is headed to the Grade 1 Travers on August 27.


Also owned by Repole, Stay Thirsty went a half-mile in 51.98.


“He went a tick slower than we set out to do, but I felt better after seeing a group of horses work,” said Pletcher. “The track was definitely on the slow side. We were looking for a maintenance half, and we’ll come back and do something a little more serious with him next week.”


Sidney’s Candy, winner of the Grade 2 Fourstardave on the turf in his first start for WinStar Farm and Pletcher, went a half-mile in 48.89 on the main track, a move which Pletcher said opened up even more options for the versatile son of Candy Ride, including the Grade 1 Forego on September 3.


“As we’ve talked about before, he’s a horse who does a lot of things well,” said Pletcher. “His work this morning on the dirt opens up more possibilities. I’ll talk to his connections more, but we’re keeping a close eye on the Forego. A race like that – a Grade 1 sprint on the dirt at Saratoga – would add to what’s already a very big resume.”


Hilda’s Passion, the Grade 2 Vagrancy winner who then finished fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 3 Bed o’Roses at Belmont Park on July 3, went five furlongs in 1:01.12 as she remains on target for the Grade 1 Ballerina on August 27.


“She’s right on schedule,” said Pletcher. “I’m not sure why she didn’t fire that day, but I think she’s back to herself. We’ll certainly sacrifice the Bed o’Roses for a big race in the Ballerina.”


Also working for Pletcher Sunday morning were Aikenite (4f, 51.12) in preparation for the Forego and Grade 3 Schuylerville winner Georgie’s Angel (4f, 50.45) for the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 4.



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Older Comments about Uncle Mo Drills Saratoga Bullet...

I hope he comes back strong and healthy. What a breath of fresh air to see a 4yo stallion running again next year Although Blame, QR, etc just did that

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