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Friday, November 04, 2011

Hope and Admiration for Uncle Mo

I'm almost tempted to pick Uncle Mo, just to be contrary. He has to be the most under-selected morning line favorite in history. None of the 'experts' in the Form who analyzed the card in detail - Watchmaker, Brad Free, Dave Litfin nor Byron King - select him in the top three. Beyer obviously doesn't like him. He's not in the top three on the Form's consensus selection box. No one I saw on Twitter likes him. Absolutely NOBODY....

Oh, Steve Crist picks him out of hope, loyalty, and admiration, but with absolutely no confidence that he’ll get the distance.

Well, not a ringing endorsement, but that's something I guess. I actually might pick him out of hope and admiration. Certainly not loyalty. We've had a lot of fun with this horse here, labeling him as Uncle Schmo, presenting the poop on his illness with a great deal of skepticism, blasting his connections for even considering the Derby afterwards. (And given how serious we're told his illness turned out to be, seems especially bizarre now that he was actually at Churchill preparing for the race).

Uncle Mo's comeback though has been undeniably impressive. I don't think 'brilliant' is an overstatement. Taken out of his front-running game in the seven furlong Kings Bishop, the son of Indian Charlie settled in, and circled the field on the turn like he's being doing it all his life. No disgrace for sure in his first race back to get nipped by the one-turn specialist Caleb's Posse. And I've heard people try to disparage his Kelso win by saying he was alone on the lead. While that was indeed the case, he actually accelerated, completely on his own volition, to a second quarter of 22 2/5 after an opening split of 23 2/5. And he shook off the big rally by the older Jackson Bend, who has undeniably come into his own this year (as he will prove when he rallies for second in the Sprint), with ridiculous ease, earning his outsized Beyer (118) and miniscule Rag number (0).

Can he really now, off those two 1-turn races, succeed at the classic mile and a quarter distance, 3/16ths of a mile longer than he ever has? Surely does seem like a tall order. One thing I believe is for sure: those chomping at the bit to bet against him as the Classic favorite are going to be disappointed. I'd be shocked if he actually went off as post-time favorite over Havre de Grace given the overwhelming negative sentiment against him. I more expect him to be more or less even as 2nd or 3rd choice with Flat Out. And I would not be shocked if he's higher than So You Think (already accepted a wager about that, so please don't bother). Remember, this isn't the Derby, when the pools are flooded with a lot of amateur dollars (like I'm a "professional," right?). The Breeders' Cup, with its oversized roster of races, and undersized promotion by the sport's broadcast partner of choice, is strictly an industry affair, especially with no Zenyattas to crossover to the mainstream media (sorry Goldikova fans). In this case, we are the "public" money. And we don't like Uncle Mo.

I'll speak for myself though. I would bet him if his odds indeed reflect the uncertainty about his stamina and preparation, balanced of course by his undeniable brilliance. I dunno, 6-1 sound fair? Since that's unlikely, I probably won't do much of anything with this race, especially since it's preceded by the Mile, a race I'm excited to watch but also uninterested in wagering on. The Classic pretty much sucks this year, other than the presence of the 2 yo champ and the filly; not a Flat Out fan, though he's definitely in good form (though note his two middling efforts over this surface). I expect Uncle Mo and Havre de Grace to have opened up some daylight over these bums after turning for home. The more likely result is that the filly draws off and wins the race as the favorite. But, there's always hope. And, if he pulls it off, admiration, in spades.

- This year's Turf is a great European race, so maybe they should be running it in Europe so we don't have to hear the connections complaining about the grass course here again.


rather rapid said...

nice call. Uncle Mo will seem the fairly obvious choice on 20-20 hindsight???

Figless said...

Flat Out's last four Beyers;


at 10f = 107

HdG top four Beyers;


at 10f = 106,100

Uncle Mo top four Beyers


at 10f = ? at two turns 108,92

Flat Out deserves some respect, at a minimum.

He has the highest lifetime two turn beyer and highest at the distance and has run four consecutive races at 106 or better. He beat G1 winner Game On Dude at 1 1/16.

Pletcher sounded very confident that Uncle Mo would get the distance but I still think Indian Charlie will jump up and bite him in the ass the last furlong.

Flat Out, HdG, with perhaps Ruler On Ice or Headache or even Drosselmeyer rounding out the TRI.

Figless said...

Elusive Kate, one of the horses that did not get their work in due to the course being closed, ran like crap. Expecting the same from Sea Moon and Strong Suit IF they run.

Excuse this low brow American for daring to suggest that these superior Euro trainers perhaps should get their mostly G2 horses over here just a wee bit earlier than Tuesday for one of the biggest races of their careers.

Figless said...

Imagine Pletcher sending a string to Royal Ascot and complaining that the course was too soft.

Yet the BC officials cater to these snobs so they can justify the use of their "World Championship" banner.

Anonymous said...

Its time for Mike Repole to take a step back and realize that Uncle Mo is not the same horse he once had. I know you want to showcase this horse Mike, but lets face reality. You will have many other top horse's in your barn. Lets take care of the horse first and your ego second.

Figless said...

I like Repole and I cant argue with him running a horse that had the top last out fig.

Believe Uncle Mo simply is not a 10f horse, certainly not getting that distance over a stickey and very tiring racetrack that favored closers all day.

Dont think you can assume he is not the same horse for failing to win yesterday.

He will win the Cigar Mile if he runs and Calebs Posse doesnt.

Figless said...

Regally Ready for HOY?? Turf Sprinter, its the future of American racing it appears.

Anonymous said...

They all had to run over the same sticky and tiring racetrack. You sound like Pletcher making excuses why his horse layed an egg. If he was so certain that Uncle Mo wouldn't like the track then he should have not run him.

I like Repole also. But, he and Pletcher from Saturday's first race knew their horse would not like the track condition. So, they chose to run him anyway and they should stand up and stop looking for excuse's why their horse layed an egg. Its always the track that beat some of these trainer's horse's. How about the horse just bounced off the table from his last race. nahhhh not possible eh. Gee, what happened to Stay Thirsty. Oh, he must of not liked the track either. What a CROCK

Anonymous said...

He will not win the Cigar mile because he will not run. Uncle Mo needs a good rest or should be sent to the farm. This horse ran some huge numbers as a two year old and ran a huge number his last race before yesterday which knocked the crap out of him. Pletcher knew this but Repole doesn't take no for an answer and can't stop dreaming about running this horse. The horse obviously is not running at 100% or even close to it. Get over it Mikey you have plenty of other sound horse's in your barn to run at the right time. All is my opinion

I agree with anon 9:31PM

Anonymous said...

Geez, I think Drosselmeyer should win HotY. Anyone got a better idea? -jp

PS: Nice call on Caleb's Posse, Alan. I shoulda stuck with him.

Figless said...

I respectfully disagree that Saturday's result somehow proves Uncle Mo is either not right or bounced to the moon.

All Saturday proved is that he is not a 10f horse. If he had run in the Mile and been up the track then I would agree something is wrong but comparing his mile race in the slop with a 10f race on a cuppy drying track is apples and oranges.

I would love to see Calebs Posse face Mo and Shack in the Cigar, not that it will happen. But if they did it could decide 3yo championship honors.

Anonymous said...

As I have stated. Uncle Mo was not right, not 100%, not even close to what he once was. Uncle Mo will not run in the Cigar against Celeb's Posse or Shack or any other horse's. WHY!!!!! because Uncle Mo has been RETIRED as he should be. Thank you Mike Repole for doing whats best for the horse.

Figless said...

Was something wrong with Mo when he ran the 118 Beyer? If not when exactly did it become obvious he was sick again? He was fine right up until he hit the quarter pole and looked around as if to say "What, I need to run another quarter mile????".

But I do agree they are doing right by the horse if his liver enzymes are very slightly elevated. I assume they will limit his book to say, 40 mares, in order to not stress him out too much, correct?

Anonymous said...

No argument CORRECT

Simmy Mishra said...

I am not a racing expert but what from Ive seen and read about till date, Uncle Mo's sudden retirement sounds like a disappointment to me. I think the horse is incredible, just that this probably isnt his season. I still hope he is brought back from the Stud and given a chance to race again, from what i saw, he loved it, then whether others loved him or not, neither did i nor he...cared. :)