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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

If Not Uncle Mo, Then Who?

Premier Pegasus
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.


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Older Comments about If Not Uncle Mo, Then Who?...

I like Premier Pegasis for his ability to be a deep closer. He has the late speed in a KY Derby that looks to be a fast pace. I believe Santa Anita switching to dirt will be a little stroke of Luck for the PrePeg Barn.
BTW:I hope I'm proven wrong as Zito is a great trainer and fine human being and deserves it as much as anyone
Mineshaft progeny don't win pst 1 1/8 mile in stakes races no matter the dam.
I like Uncle Mo, but I am looking for Dialed In to cross the finish line first in the Derby. I do think that it is going to be one of the most exciting Derby's, I am really looking for a battle between a few horses down the stretch.
If not Uncle Mo, then Dialed In. The Derby may be setting up better for him than anyone.
dcrscoops, I agree 100%!! It's the bottom of the pedigree that will tell you how far the horse will go and I think the surface. The top of the pedigree will tell you how much speed a horse will have and the class. The BMS has a bigger influence on a horse than his sire does. This is why I think Uncle Mo will be able to carry his speed to the 10f Derby distance. Arch is giving him enough stamina and he can rate! I also like Dixieland Band on the bottom because of his daughters passing along great genes (i.e. Street Sense's BMS). So, just look at last year's Derby winner, Super Saver. He had a great female family! Back to this year's 3-yos, PrePeg has a great female family and BMS, THAS has a great female family especially going back to his 4th and 5th dams Java Moon and Golden Trail. I think one of the biggest influences also is the BMS's BMS which is the horse in the X-passing position where it's the optimal postion to pass on the LH gene. For example, PrePeg and Dialed In have Secretariat in the X-passing position, Uncle Mo has Danzig, The Factor has Buckpasser. I like all these for the Derby, too! Another thing to everyone, don't write off Elite Alex just yet. He had great pace parameters in yesterday's LA Derby and just had some bad luck with a terrible post again, they did have him back a lil too far and he went like 8-wide on the turn. Just sayin'!
The Factor and Uncle Mo are two of the three possible winners.Both very impressive.
Zipse, I have never put much stock in the sire, but look at the dames. I wish I could remember where I read about it but the article was reading about how it is the dame that is the biggest influence in how far a horse will run. This kind of goes hand in hand with the X factor being from mares. While I'm impressed by Uncle Mo I do favor Dialed In even though he is lightly raced.
I am rooting for 2 three year olds, Uncle Mo and Frankel, both exciting horses. I have doubts about Uncle Mo getting the distance, and Frankel's trainer H. Cecil thinks 12f is a stretch. They are both high class colts and it should be exciting.
gettyde, not EXACTLY the same ... Uncle Mo was an undefeated champion and romping winner of the Champagne and BC Juvenile at 2, while Indian Charlie only had a 5 1/2 furlong, state bred maiden race under his belt. The foundation as a juvenile is important, as history has taught us, and Uncle Mo and Indian Charlie are worlds apart in that regard ... Thirsty, Keith?
Beer Meister , hehe.
The Timely Writer was only a regular workout under racing conditions. No competion to push his development. Only after the Wood would I rate him as a potential Derby winner. Premier Pegasus did look good in the San Felipe. But I think there are a few horses who are improving on the road to Louisville. We may have to wait and see who steps up in class and demonstrates his potential. As for getting 12 furlongs; questionable but possible depending on how it is run. Some Belmonts have slow early fractions and are won by speed horses who manage to carry their speed.
  • gettyde · I love Mo but I just keep thinking about Indian Charlie who looked EXACTLY the say way Mo does. He won the Santa Anita Derby by destroying the field with a 111 BSF and was the overwelming favorite going into the derby. THEN, he got a perfect trip in a stalking position and hung in the stretch to finish third behind the Baffart stable mate Real Quiet. I hope it's not the same story but breeding is breeding and history teaches us valuable lessons. · 2404 days ago
Good points one and all, Larry. As someone who bet Giacomo, I know the Derby can be an ideal spot for the upset, but part of what I do is write and talk about the horses who I see as the most likely to win along the way. Uncle Mo is one, PrePeg is two right now in my opinion.
How far can The Factor go? Will Elite Alex improve? Or will we see an upset like Giacomo?

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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, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, 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. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, 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 co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President 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, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

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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