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Uncle Mo Shoots Kelso Bullet

Led by 2010 juvenile champion Uncle Mo and Grade 1 Travers winner Stay Thirsty, trainer Todd Pletcher sent out a host of stars Sunday morning over Belmont Park’s training track in preparation for their upcoming engagements on Super Saturday, October 1.

 

Super Saturday offers six graded stakes – five of them Grade 1s – worth $2.7 million, and will be telecast on ESPN Classic and ESPN3.com from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. EDT. All six are “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on November 4 and 5.

 

Uncle Mo, who returned to racing after a four-month absence to finish second by a nose in the Grade 1 Foxwoods King’s Bishop, zipped through a seemingly effortless four furlongs under jockey John Velazquez in 46.57, fastest of 79 at the distance.

 

“That was faster than I wanted to go; it’s not what we set out to do, but I think it’s an indication of how well he’s doing at the moment,” said Pletcher of the Mike Repole color-bearer, who will be entered in Saturday’s Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at one mile. “We were looking for a ‘final breeze before the race,’ a standard 48, 49, and I think he’s just doing so well now that he went a little quicker than that. It seems like he’s moving great and everything he’s been doing since the King’s Bishop has been exceptional, so we’re pleased with that.”

 

Stay Thirsty, who will take on older rivals for the first time in the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, was up next. With Javier Castellano in the irons, Stay Thirsty covered the four furlongs in 47.07, third-fastest at the distance.

 

“Stay Thirsty is on a maintenance program,” said Pletcher of the colt, who also counts the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and the Grade 3 Gotham among his 2011 victories. “Obviously he’s been in a lot of races that are 1 ½ miles, 1 1/8 miles, 1 ¼ miles, so we’re just trying to keep him ticking over and he seems to be maintaining his form really well.

 

“It seems that since the [Kentucky] Derby he’s trained like a different horse,” he added. “You see some horses, they run in the Derby, it knocks them for a loop and it takes them a long time to recover. He sort of did the opposite; he kind of thrived off it. The Belmont [second to Ruler On Ice] was his best race to that point and he followed that with two better races [the Jim Dandy and Travers]. It just seems like he’s getting better and better.”

 

Repole was on hand for this morning’s action as well.

 

“They both went probably faster than you want them to go, but Johnny is on Mo, and I don’t think Mo knows the word ‘slow,’ so 46 for him is 50 for everybody else,” said Repole. “There are a lot of distractions [on the training track] so Thirsty wasn’t as focused to begin the work, but down the lane Javier just gave him a little tick, and all of a sudden you can just tell he looked good, and his gallop out was amazing.”

 

Also preparing for Super Saturday was Life At Ten, most recently third behind Blind Luck and Havre de Grace in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on July 16. The 6-year-old mare went four furlongs in 49.61 for Saturday’s Grade 1, $350,000 Beldame Invitational, in which Grade 1 Woodward winner Havre de Grace is expected to be the heavy favorite.

 

“She did not work with blinkers today; we were looking for a different kind of work,” said Pletcher. “She is training as well as ever; I’ve been saying that all year. I don’t anticipate she is going to beat Havre de Grace but I do think she will run to her capabilities.”

 

The trainer added that Super Espresso, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, remained possible for the 1 1/8-mile Beldame.

 

“We are weighing our options between this and the [Grade 1 Juddmonte] Spinster [October 9],” said Pletcher, who will be sending Grade 2 Molly Pitcher winner Quiet Giant (4f, 49.64) to Keeneland for the Spinster. “We probably won’t decide until entry day.”

 

Pletcher added that Calibrachoa and Dark Thunder (4f, 49.06) might be joined by stablemate Caixa Eletronica (4f, 48.84) for the Grade 1, six-furlong Vosburgh.

 

“Caixa Eletronica is ideally suited for a mile, but he’s not going to run against Uncle Mo,” said Pletcher. “This race looks like it could come up with a really hot pace and he’s the kind of horse who, if ridden properly, can sit back and make one run, and he’s game enough to do about anything.”

 

Pletcher also sent out Repole’s Stopshoppingmaria, who is being pointed to the Grade 1 Frizette on October 8. The filly, a nearly 10-length winner of her maiden race at Saratoga Race Course on August 14, went five furlongs in 1:01.26.

 

“It looks like she handled the time since her maiden win very well,” said the trainer. “She’s coming into the Frizette the way we hoped.”

 

Turf juveniles Crazy Party and Captain Webb will both work Monday and are under consideration for the Grade 3 Miss Grillo and the Grade 3 Pilgrim, respectively, on October 2, added Pletcher, with Georgie’s Angel being pointed to the Grade 3 Tempted the same day and Angel’s Tune possible for the Grade 2 Nashua.

 

Pletcher said that Big Blue Nation will work Monday at Saratoga and was more likely to run in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on October 8 than the Grade 1 Champagne on the same day. Also running at Keeneland on October 8 will be Sidney’s Candy, who worked four furlongs in 48.62 as he returns to the grass in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile, said Pletcher.

 

Rounding out Pletcher’s stakes-bound workers was Buster’s Ready, who went four furlongs in 50.07 as she points to the Grade 2 Cotillion at Parx Racing on October 1.

 

 

 

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Older Comments about Uncle Mo Shoots Kelso Bullet...

Only fact I'm scared of is that of Mo's three 2yo races, the Champagne was by far the least impressive. I think he's better than ever, and ten times the best horse in this field. Even if Belmont isn't his favorite track, he should beat these with authority. He is that good. Remember what he did in the King's Bishop was off a long layoff, horses improve second out the majority of the time.
GO MO!!!
I am so looking forward to SUPER SATURDAY!
But what if he wins the Classic? If Mo fires and wins WOW what a great call by Pletcher. Plus even if he fades it will insure a great pace for Stay Thirsty to run at .
It's great that Pletcher apparently has Uncle Mo back to what appears to be 100% healthy again, and his firing bullet work's for the Kelso Stakes. But I'm still of the opinion that you're not going to prepare Mo for any kind of meaningful run in the BC Classic by running him in 7 and 8f prep's. Mike Repole's ego and selfishness has Pletcher pointing Mo at a race that he truly won't be ready to run until next season. The BC Dirt Mile is the obvious choice for Mo this year, IMO. A race that he'd be very capable of a big effort or winning. It's not as if Repole is left without a card to play for the BC Classic. He has one of the ante-post favorites for the race in Stay Thirsty. I've said this before, and I'll say it again concerning Uncle Mo. The winner or place share of the BC Dirt Mile purse is a lot better than no share of the BC Classic purse. If Mo goes to the Classic? He'll run well for about 8 or 8-1/2f of the race. Then he'll fade like old ink on a newspaper. TJMO.
I included the Pletcher interview at bottom of article.
Link to the Pletcher interview after today's works. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Asa1qMV-cJw

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