Race of the Week 2017

Does Uncle Mo Compare To Seattle Slew?

Uncle Mo vs. Seattle Slew
Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 59

Is it fair to be comparing a horse who has made only three lifetime starts to one of the greatest horses in racing history? Probably not, but I am willing to go out on a limb and compare what I have seen from Uncle Mo so far in his career to Seattle Slew at the same stage of his career.  The similarities are rather striking, both colts ran three times as juveniles and dominated their competition early on before coasting home with ease in each start. Neither colt left any doubt as to their superiority over the rest, and were clear early favorites for the Kentucky Derby, despite a few questions about their breeding and their ability to handle the distance. Both colts were rested until the second week of March before making their long waited three-year-old debuts. Let’s take a closer look at Uncle Mo and Seattle Slew side by side.

Race #1

Seattle Slew made his first start as a 5-2 favorite in a full field at Belmont Park on September 20. Showing strong speed from his outside post, Slew took it to his competition early, and poured it on down the lane to win going away by 5 lengths. Final time for the 6f maiden was 1:10 1/5.

Uncle Mo made his first start as a 9-10 favorite in a full field at Saratoga on August 28. Showing strong speed from the inside, Mo took it to his competition early, and poured it on down the lane to win going away by 14 1/4 lengths. Final time for the 6f maiden was 1:09 1/5.

Race #2

Seattle Slew’s second start came in a 7f allowance on October 5, where he was installed as the 2-5 favorite. Slew took an early lead in strong fractions and was never really asked by rider Jean Cruget on his way to a 3 ½ length victory. Final time for the 7f race at Belmont was 1:22.

Uncle Mo’s second start came in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on October 9, where he was installed as the 1-5 favorite. Mo took an early pressured lead in strong fractions, put away his competition easily, and was hand ridden to the wire by rider John Velazquez for a 4 ¾ length victory. Final time for the 1 mile race at Belmont was 1:34 2/5.

Race #3

Seattle Slew concluded his juvenile season on October 16 with his best performance. Sent off as a 13-10 choice in the Champagne Stakes, It looked like Slew’s early speed would be tested by highly regarded For the Moment on the far turn, but Slew treated the tougher competition with disdain. Drawing off to win by 9 ¾ lengths, Slew ran the flat mile in 1:34 2/5.

Uncle Mo concluded his juvenile season on November 6 with his best performance. Sent off as a 13-10 choice in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, It looked like Mo’s early speed would be tested by highly regarded Boys at Tosconova on the far turn, but Mo treated the tougher competition with disdain. Drawing off to win by 4 ¼ lengths, Mo ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5.

Race #4

Seattle Slew made his first start at three in a 7f allowance at Hialeah on March 9, where he made mincemeat of his overmatched competition. Showing that he had lost nothing over the winter, Slew romped by 9 lengths in the eye-popping time of 1:20 3/5 as a 1-10 favorite.

Uncle Mo will also make his three year-old debut in a one-turn race in South Florida. In three days, on March 12, Mo will also be heavily favored against an overmatched field in the Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Not only does Uncle Mo remind me of Seattle Slew in the way he races, but as you can see, their racing careers have much in common to this point (including identical times in the Champagne). Of course from here Seattle Slew would impressively win the Flamingo, Wood Memorial, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont to become the only horse ever to sweep the triple crown while still undefeated. He also returned at four to cement his immortality with another championship season. In this comparison, Uncle Mo still has a world yet to prove as he makes his way to the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

Will Uncle Mo end up having a Seattle Slew type of career, with a triple crown win, and thus be remembered as an all-time great? It has been a long time since the great American thoroughbreds of the late seventies. Back then triple crowns seemed almost common. There has been a whole lot of failure since then, so we have all learned to be skeptical and pessimistic when it comes to the triple crown. It is easy to say Uncle Mo will fail, with thirty plus years of drought to back it up, but sooner or later a horse will come along and get it done.

Uncle Mo is the most impressive young horse I have seen since Spectacular Bid came along in 1978. While Uncle Mo does not remind me of Spectacular Bid, he does remind me of Seattle Slew. After watching him battle on a fast pace and then romp down the stretch in the Champagne, I wrote that he is the closest thing to Slew I have seen in the last 34 years. Things can certainly go wrong between now and the finish line of the Belmont Stakes, but the truly great ones overcome adversity. I believe in Uncle Mo until he proves otherwise. Get ready America, this might be the horse we have all been waiting for.



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Older Comments about Does Uncle Mo Compare To Seattle Slew?...

JO Tobin would have beaten almost anybody that day. Even if Slew was at the top of his game, he might not have beaten JO Tobin. He ran an incredible race.
JO Tobin beat Seattle Slew. Although my heart is forever with JO, I think Uncle Mo is the next colt to surprise us all.
I don't see why everyone thinks Uncle Mo can win the Triple Crown..he hasn't even started this year. And, there's no complete guarantee he'll win any races this year, either. I hope he does well, and I hope that, even though it's a slim chance, that there will be a 2011 Triple Crown winner. But, I'm just not sure you can use the term "Triple Crown" yet with any horse until he's at least won the Derby.
Heart disease,the medications I take are not conducive to the quick analysis essential to maintaining a winning edge.There is a place for the slower methodical thinker in many professions,but not in gambling.In short I have no advantage and If I try to push it I'll lose at whatever I do in the area of gambling.Gambling for a living while supporting a family is very stressful as you can be wrong only so many times in all areas of judgment.The stress over the years does take a toll.If I had it to do over again I would get a 9 to 5 job and let others worry while I slept peacefully.
icyhotboo, what led you to retiring as a professional gambler?
I agree with icyhotboo on the breeding angle. Uncle Mo's stamina is too far back in his pedigree to really kick in. Hi is an impressive horse who has only started three times and I can't really say they were impressive fields either. I wish the horse well and pray that he doesn't get injured with only three two year old races for a foundation and two fairly easy races before the TC. What ever happened to giving a horse a great two year old foundation? To me it does not serve the horse well, especially if you suddenly want them to run 3 races in 5 weeks at 10, 9.5 and 12 furlongs.
All the triple crown winner's had the pedigree,top and bottom.Uncle Mo has no top stamina in the last six generations.Every horse I listed had a great bottom and and a good to fair top. Unless he is the recipient of a mutated super gene he won't get by the derby. Come derby day he won't be getting my money although I'm happy he's in it for the dead money he brings.Take a broader view there are two sleepers out there that have a legitimate chance,Uncle Mo is not one of them.This is the opinion from the viewpoint of a retired professional gambler( who did nothing else but gamble,I didn't sell tout sheets,I had no subsidy from a journalistic point or anywhere else ,I have never published any of my material and will not allow it to be published till I'm dead) who learned long ago not to wager with my heart but my head.The only thing I can add to bolster your view and that of others who like Uncle Mo to win it all is that as a gambler I've seen the improbable happen on a regular basis and have incorporated this into my thinking.Have a nice day.
I don't know whether Uncle Mo will even turn out to be as good as those horses. But where he is now, the first week of March, he is way ahead of any of the horses mentioned. At this point Barbaro was undefeated, but his only dirt race was a G3 Holy Bull win over weak competition. Afleet Alex finished second in the Champagne and BC Juvenile, and won the 6f Mountain Valley at this time. Point Given had the look of a great horse, but he had already been beaten in the Champagne and BC Juvenile and hadn't started yet. If we truly compare Mo with what we know at this point to where others were at this point, I think it's no contest he is the best to come along in 20 years.
Barbaro was a monster turf or dirt.Point Given,Afleet Alex(my pick as the best of the last 10 years) Smarty Jones lost the Belmont by one length that went in 2:27.2,FunnyCide(couldn't get by the Belmont mud) , Eskendereya.I would love to see Uncle Mo do it I just don't see the stamina anywhere on top that it would take for all three.
Icy, I agree it's a fluke we haven't had one. But I would say, put any of those good horses of the last 20 years against Uncle Mo. None of them (that had any realistic Derby breeding) had done what he had at this point in their careers.
mshutty I've stated prior to this what a fluke it is we haven't had one by now.Look at the horses of the last 16 at least one should have made it.
I don't think we'll see another triple crown winner as the classic distance in the USA has been reduced to 1 1/8 mile.
  • annmatt · Not sure I understand your logic Icyhotboo...if the distances have been shortened (and the shortest of the three is the Preakness, right?)...oh, you mean, horses don't compete often enough at the "classic" distances or longer to "get up" for the longer races. I think I agree, if I understood you correctly. Just look at the Breeder's Cup marathon race, at 1 1/2 mi or 1 3/4, forget which, and the purse is a measly $500,000, with the other shorter races paying $1MM or more. If we want to incentivize behavior, you have to be willing to hang a big carrot out there. Come up with a $5MM marathon race at 1 3/4 or the old Jockey Club Gold Cup distance of 2 mi, and we might see owners and trainers willing to train (and BREED) for a couple races like that. I haven't been a fan but for the past year, but I'm getting extremely bored with these little sprints and 1 minute baby races! I write and blog about the sport, so I have tried to get up to speed on all the issues...the wheels have come off and the sport better get its act together....with technology being what it is, we can go international fairly easily...I love the Irish steeplechase horses....now they are real stayers! Jeeeez...where do we want to see things go here. We sure are overdue for some variety at the very least! · 2449 days ago
  • annmatt · Just re-read my comments....It flashed in my mind, oh, puleeez, I sure hope the owners of the TC races don't shorten (and cheapen) them!!! · 2449 days ago
It will happen...It always does...The sport will have more stars. Uncle Mo has just as good a shot as Seattle Slew or other brilliant two year-olds that carried that brilliance into their 3 year old season and beyond. If there is a time to dream, it's this time of year! Thanks, Brian for bringing to our attention the striking similarities between Mo and Slew after their first three races.
I think the difference is going to be that Slew had three races after March and the Wood was two weeks before the Derby in those days. He was fit and ready for three tough races in five weeks. Uncle Mo will have two starts spaced about a month apart before the Derby. I just can't see a horse with that schedule winning the Triple Crown. But with the retirement of Zenyatta and Rachel, the sport needs a star and I hope it is Uncle Mo.
  • diane.hain · You've hit the nail on the head. That schedule prepared Slew for what he was to face. Babying Uncle Mo with so few starts could leave him short when he has to go once around at Belmont. · 2449 days ago
I see the similarities between Uncle Mo and Slew, but as far as I am concerned, NO horse compares to Seattle Slew! Signed, Lady Slew
The sport has plenty of stars but with the media's singular focus on Uncle Mo, it is unlikely the fan base will be increased. Uncle Mo, while a very nice 2 year old, is far more likely to be another Arazi than Slew. Notice Slew proved at 2 he could run 3 races brilliantly within 4 weeks. Mo hasn't run 2 races within 4 weeks. Slew also had his 3yo stakes debut just 2 weeks after his allowance win. Mo again will wait another month. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentson: I knew Slew. I was a fan of Slew. Uncle Mo is no Seattle Slew. I think Dialed In, Miucho Macho Man, just to name 2 are better.
I'm all in, maybe he can do it maybe he can't but I'd like to beleive he can! He's been like no other horse I've ever seen up until now. Go MO!
Great comparison! I love how similar their careers are to this point. And I'd have to say, Uncle Mo sounds a little more impressive. Great story, Brian!
I agree with zatt. We just need that one horse.
I absolutely believe we will see another, we just need the right horse to come along.

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