If Not Uncle Mo, Then Who?

If Not Uncle Mo, Then Who?
Photo: Charles Pravata/Eclipse Sportswire
Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 43

"Uncle Mo is the most impressive young horse I have seen since Spectacular Bid came along in 1978." Yes, you guessed it, the quote was made by yours truly. I am reminded of it every day on the front page of HRN. I am also on record as saying he is the closest thing I have seen to Seattle Slew since the great horse became the only undefeated winner of the Triple Crown. Since the heyday of the seventies, fans have learned to become more than a little skeptical of ever seeing another Triple Crown winner. The sentiment is completely understandable. It has been a long time.

I have heard all of the arguments …

The way horses are trained today, a Triple Crown winner is a thing of the past.

Uncle Mo doesn’t get enough distance breeding from his sire Indian Charlie.

Only 1 out of 26 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners have come back to win the Derby (although the only other recent BC Juvenile winner at Churchill Downs, Street Sense, did come back to complete the double.)

Two easy races before Louisville is not enough to have him ready for the rigors of the series.

Even if he can win the Derby and Preakness, 1 ½ miles of the Belmont will be too much for him.

An 89 Beyer in his first race this year leaves too much improvement needed before the Derby.

I could go on. Some of these have more merit than others, but all of them are possible reasons why Uncle Mo will not win the Triple Crown, or even the Kentucky Derby. To all of those reasons I respond; the special ones find a way to overcome.

I believe I am in the minority, at least from reading the comments I receive, in believing that Mo can do it, but I am enough of a realist to know that the odds are stacked against him. I am an optomist, but not naive. I realize winning the 2011 Kentucky Derby will be far from easy, and the Preakness and the Belmont after that, even tougher.

If any or all of these factors do conspire to foil Uncle Mo as he attempts to become an undefeated Kentucky Derby champion, then who? Who will step up and snatch the mantle away from the Repole star?

There are a lot of good candidates out there who have captured our attention this spring, and we certainly will learn a lot more from races like the Louisiana, Florida, Santa Anita, and Arkansas Derbies, but to me only one horse has already run the kind of race good enough to defeat the champ. The race was the San Felipe, and the horse is Premier Pegasus.

I am confident the son of Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus would have beaten any three-year-old in the land in the San Felipe, save Uncle Mo, and this in his initial try around two-turns. It was a breakout performance, and I expect more of the same in the Santa Anita Derby.

If all of you that tell me Mo can’t do it, turn out to be right, I say look no further than PrePeg as the horse that will wear the roses on the first Saturday in May.

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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