Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily - Day 74
Decision ’11 has been made. Owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher have decided to send their superstar colt, Uncle Mo to Gulfstream Park’s Timely Writer, rather than the original goal of the Tampa Bay Derby. Both races will be run on Saturday, March 12.
The Timely Writer is a listed stakes race recently created to offer horses not in need of additional graded stakes money to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Uncle Mo certainly did not need more graded stakes money, but I can’t help to think about all the fine people at Tampa Bay Downs.
All Winter they have been happily bracing for the arrival of Uncle Mo to headline their biggest race. Now less than three weeks out, they are left without their star. In his place it is likely that Pletcher will send WinStar Farm’s Brethren back for the Tampa Bay Derby, and I’m sure Tampa will field a good bunch for the race, but without Uncle Mo, they lost the big horse that excites the masses. Too bad, Tampa Bay Downs deserved to be in the spotlight for at least a day.
As far as Uncle Mo, his connections will say that they are only doing the best for the horse. Perhaps they are trying to keep him fit and fresh for all three legs of the Triple Crown, rather than having him at his very best for the First Saturday in May. This can be seen as a bold strategy … trying to win the Triple Crown, not just the Derby. I wonder if it will pay off, after all you can not win the Crown without first winning the Derby. One two-turn race before the Derby seems a little light to this seasoned observer.
[Does this decision take anythng away from Uncle Mo's firm spot at #1 on HRN's list of 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders]
On a personal note, I will be in attendance at the Tampa Bay Derby, and I imagine it will be a great time, but … truth be told, I wanted Mo.
The only good thing about this decision is it could set up an early showdown with Dialed In who might be pointing for the Timely Writer as his next start. An Uncle Mo and Dialed In matchup in March does lighten my mood, even if it is only in a one-turn, listed stakes race.