Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop candidate
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.
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
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’
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
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.”
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
“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.