HRN Original Blog:
Dueling Down The Stretch

Don't Back Down

Dear Mike Repole,

My, oh my, what a day you had Saturday. Was it quite what you wanted? No, it was a nose short, but none the less impressive. You can now say to the world that you have the two best three year olds in the nation. However, it must be noted that if you retire Uncle Mo, you can no longer say that. If you retire Uncle Mo, the sportsman image you have now will be ripped away and you will look like a hypocrite and spoiled child.

Forgive my bluntness, but I am not known for beating around the bush. Sir, I know that you were disappointed that Uncle Mo’s nose did not fall on the winning side of that photo. I know that maybe the possibility of the liver disease he just recovered from may resurface has you worried. Do those two reasons, however, mandate you saying that there is a strong possibility of his retirement? I do not think so.

Uncle Mo was coming off a potentially life threatening disease that saw him sidelined for four and a half months. He was making his return against some of the fastest, most brilliant sprinters of his class at the tricky distance of seven furlongs. He had all the cards stacked against him, no average grade one horse would have been able to place let alone win. Uncle Mo shocked many realists and silenced many doubters, running what was, in my opinion his best race yet.

First, as I said, no ordinary horse could have performed the way Uncle Mo did. After all he had to overcome, he gave Caleb’s Posse, now the head of the three year old sprinters, all he could handle. His six furlong split was 1.09.21, the exact same time he ran in his debut, last year. He and Caleb’s Posse ran the fastest 7f on the card. He came home his final eight of a mile in 12.38, an unbelievable time when trying to close over Saratoga’s main track. Lastly, he showed another dimension, his ability to rate. Many of his doubters cried that he would not be able to duplicate his top efforts when rated and he slashed that belief yesterday. To think, he did all of this without his right hind shoe.

If you are worried the disease may flare up again then why not wait a week and see how his energy level is. Listen to your trainer, Todd Pletcher, listen to Johnny V, who said Uncle Mo had more left in the tank. If he bounces back well, then I think the best road for you to take is to keep him at sprints for the remainder of 2011. Go to Belmont and run in the Vosburgh, over six furlongs; had the Kings Bishop been that long Uncle Mo would have been a three length winner. Should he dominate there, point him towards the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. You cannot deny that a race that contains him, The Factor, Smiling Tiger, and Big Drama, would not be an exciting race. After finish the year there, if you remain true to your word to bring Uncle Mo back at four, then you would have a whole year to prove that he can dominate at longer distances.

Mr. Repole, you have been a great positive influence on this industry since you surfaced. In Uncle Mo you have a great horse with the ability of capturing thousands of fans. To retire him off of such a big comeback would be a giant hit to thoroughbred racing. We need a star and we need somebody who won’t back down from a fight. Right now, that is you and Uncle Mo. Please, don’t back down now.

Laura Pugh


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Older Comments about Don't Back Down...

He made the comment right after the race. I don't believe any channel showed it, but it was reported on DRF and USA Today that he said that. However, he now seems much more upbeat. It looks as though Mo will go to the PA Derby, where he will face THAS.
Mo really ran his heart out as if almost telling his owner he wanted to keep racing. I truly hope Repole doesn't retire Mo. These horses are athletes and warriors and in any major sport, there will be injuries and illnesses when competing at the top level of competition. Imagine if every NFL QB retired after receiving a concussion. It's difficult to watch horses get retired with such a "half glass empty," or a "what could go wrong, will go wrong" mentality. True champions are defined by the adversities they overcome and proving their greatness.Common Mikey, let him run!!!
I must not have been watching when Repole made the comment about Mo sure wasn't on the channel I was watching. I can only imagine it must have been made maybe right after Mo finished second. I was just tearing up watchinghim run his heart out; win, lose or draw, he was spectacular! I was please to see that the Repole folk released info that Mo and Thirsty looked good after their races. I hope the other runners are Ok too.
How was that in any way a slow paced race? 22, 44, 1.09 as fractions? He ran the fastest seven furlongs on the card and the second fast six furlongs of the day. That is hardly what i would call slow.
Those beyer numbers are a joke how do you give Uncle Mo a 106 in a losing slow paced race?
Mo will stay in training. Repole has proven again, while a little on the rash side, to be a true sportsman.
I dont understand why Repole would what to retire him. He's only just gotten started! I agree completely with the suggestion to go to 6F and maybe try the BC Sprint. Then he'd (hopefully) have horses in the Classic, Sprint, and Juvenile.
I will be EXTEREMELLY sad if Mo retires now. Why bring him back for one race and then retire him? I love Mo with all my heart, and if it is in the best intrest of Mo to retire him, fine...but if he is HEALTHY, let him RUN!
106 beyers in the Kings Bishop? 101 in the Travers? hummmmm....the KB was wicked fast...I could't believe my eyes. Uncle Mo retired? (?????)
I agree ... what say you Mr. Repole?

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred Racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2001. After that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at the now closed Virginia Intermont College, then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010 Laura came to Horse Racing Nation, but soon branched out to other media outlets, such as Lady and the Track,, and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter, while making a return to Horse Racing Nation, where she will once again feature her opinionated columns on the latest in horse racing. 

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