Friday, May 6, 2011

Kentucky Derby blog #10

Uncle Mo came out of the Breeders Cup Juvenile as a champion poised to possibly contend for the Triple Crown.

Now, its not even a sure thing he is healthy - or more importantly - if he will start from post 18 for Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

According to "he had a spirited 1 1/2-mile gallop over a tight and fast Churchill Downs main track on Thursday morning, Uncle Mo’s status for the Derby remains in limbo and a decision on whether or not he runs could be made by Thursday night or Friday morning, according to his owner, Mike Repole.

Uncle Mo was to undergo another battery of tests on Thursday as three veterinarians – Dr. Doug Byars, Dr. Ken Reed, and Dr. Steve Allday – were to examine the colt. Repole said those vets in concert with trainer Todd Pletcher will ultimately make the final decision on whether Uncle Mo starts in the race.

The connections of Uncle Mo have been fighting the calendar trying to get Uncle Mo ready for the Derby four weeks after he suffered his first career defeat in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9 and was subsequently diagnosed with a gastrointestinal infection. The infection needed to be treated with antibiotics and did impact the colt’s appetite for a little while. Though he has shown gradual improvement since shipping to Kentucky from New York on April 18, his connections are grappling with whether it’s enough to be ready to run 1 1/4 miles against 19 other 3-year-olds in the Derby.

Uncle Mo has breezed twice since arriving in Louisville, the last time being a five-furlong move in company with Stay Thirsty on Sunday morning. Since then, Uncle Mo walked the shed row one day and jogged twice before galloping 1 1/2 miles Thursday morning."

So what do handicappers do? If he starts, does that mean he is a sure thing?

Uncle Mo is a few lengths better than all the other 19 contenders in the race if he is healthy, but that is a HUGE "IF".

It is a risk that could pay off with a big reward.

The Daily Racing Form and contributed to this report



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