Get Ready For the Uncle Mo Show

It's September so I guess we better start talking about juveniles.

On Saturday at Saratoga we may have seen the most dazzling maiden winner of the meet when Repole Stable's Uncle Mo devoured a field of 10 in a six-furlong contest. The son of Indian Charlie drew off to win by 14 1/2 lengths under John Velazquez, opening a lot of eyes along the way.

If you didn't see it, here it is.

Uncle Mo led every step of the way but it's not like he sprinted away from the field out of the gate. He rated well while on the lead and it wasn't until the top of the lane that he drew clear. It was a professional effort from a horse that was making his first start. He set a legitimate pace, going the opening quarter in :22.20 and a half in :45.67 before finishing up in 1:09.21. He earned a 102 Beyer, tied with Boys At Tosconova for the best figure of the year for a juvenile.

By comparison, four races later at Saratoga in the grade III Victory Ride for 3-year-old fillies, the winner (Rapport) ran a bit quicker on the front end (:22.05, :44.54), but finished up in 1:09.66. Also, three races prior for 2YO maiden fillies, the winner stopped the clock in 1:11.05. Any way you slice it, Uncle Mo turned in a huge effort in his debut.

What is next for the colt, who is out of the Arch mare Playa Maya and was bought for $220,000 as a yearling? Owner Mike Repole took a few minutes on Wednesday to tell us a little more.

For those that are not aware, 41-year-old Repole is the co-founder of Glaceau, the company that makes the popular drink Vitaminwater and was sold to Coca-Cola in 2007 for $4.1 billion. Repole, who sends the majority of his horses to Todd Pletcher, including Uncle Mo, was the leading NYRA owner a year ago and is running away with the owner's title at the current Saratoga meet. He is also a big time horse welfare advocate who donates a significant amount of money to several rescue organizations.

 

JS: Like everyone else, I guess you were pretty impressed about Uncle Mo's performance on Saturday?

MR: We had a pretty good idea he was going to do well. Another 2-year-old that Todd trains for us is Stay Thirsty, who will be running in the Hopeful (gr. I) on Monday. Todd told me two or three months ago that Stay Thirsty is his second best 2-year-old. Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty worked three times together. Each time, Uncle Mo was hand-ridden and Stay Thirsty was under a drive just to stay with him.

Anything can happen when they string that latch open, but I liked our chances. I wasn't shocked he won, but to see him win by almost 15 and earn a 102 Beyer was unexpected.

JS: He won on the lead but it's not like he did it in runaway fashion. That must make you even more excited that he can go longer.

MR: We're very excited. The way he rated on the lead was very professional. He only had about a three-length lead approaching the eighth-pole and by the time Tom Durkin got done calling the second, third, fourth, and fifth-place horses, he opened up another 10 lengths. It was like he said to Johnny (Velazquez), ‘You tell me when.' And he galloped out past the wire about 20 lengths ahead. Someone described it to me by saying the other horses looked like they were salmon swimming upstream trying to catch him.

That was the first time we really asked him to run. When he works in the morning you don't want him to beat the other by too much, so he would win by a neck or length and then gallop out way ahead. So this was fun to see.

JS: You bought him for $220,000 at Keeneland. How did you pick him out?

MR: It's a good story. I don't usually go to the sales. I have my team, Jimmy Cruppi and my racing manager Jim Martin there. They call me with the hip (numbers) and conformation and all that, and I usually decide what figure I want to pay.

I bought an Indian Charlie two years ago, Arrrr Pirates Booty. I paid $200,000 and it didn't turn out too well. So when they called me about this horse I wasn't too excited. I already had $200,000 tied up in an Indian Charlie and didn't want another one. I was talking to Jim (Martin) and told him I didn't want it. Jimmy (Cruppi) grabbed the phone and said, ‘Mike, you gotta have this horse.' I told him to put Jim back on the phone and I told him to go $200,000 but not a penny more.

So we're on him for $200,000 and thought we had him. Then at the last second someone went $210,000. I said 'no more,' but Jim said to me, ‘Hit it one more time!' And so we went $220,000 and got him. Trust me Jason, if someone would have went $221,000, I'm telling you, we would not have had him. I give those guys all the credit.

JS: Is Jimmy Crupe the one that broke him as a yearling at his farm in Florida?

MR: Yes, I send about 90% of my horses to him. He has a great eye.

JS: He's by Indian Charlie and out of an Arch mare. Do you think he can go longer?

MR: Yeah. Arch won the Super Derby and the mare broke her maiden at a mile first out. He is a big horse. Todd said the horse has no distance limitations.

He's still growing. We wanted to start him late because we knew he was going to be good and there was no rush. Todd said there we didn't need to win the Hopeful, so let's set him up for later in the year. We wanted to keep him and Stay Thirsty separated anyway.

JS: What will his next race be?

MR: The Champagne (Oct. 9 at Belmont) is the next stop as long as he is healthy and takes us there.

JS: Are you going to wait until after the Champagne to start thinking about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile?

MR: No, the Breeders' Cup is on the radar as long as he stays sound. He has to get through tomorrow and Thursday, and Friday, and every day after that. But if you want me to be candid, I'll tell you we're thinking about the Breeders' Cup. As long as he stays healthy, he will be a heavy favorite for the Champagne.

JS: When you play this game at the level that you do, it must be excited to have a couple talented 2-year-olds like this?

MR: It is. I'm a kid from Queens who has been a $2 bettor since I was 13. Our phone has rang off the hook since (the maiden win), but he's not for sale. Why would I sell him, just so I can buy 10 more yearlings that might not be as talented as he is? Mike Watchmaker has Uncle Mo as his No. 1 juvenile and I think he has Stay Thirsty ranked seventh. To have two of the top juveniles out of 15,000 is a dream.

JS: What is Uncle Mo named for?

MR: Uncle mo is a sports term for momentum. I've wanted to use the name for years by I didn't feel Repole Stable had enough momentum to use it. Now I thought was the right time to use the uncle mo name because the stable has momentum. You always want uncle mo on your side and I have him.

47 Comments

Leave a Comment:

LAZMANNICK

I saw that first race and was in awe at how easy he did it.  He might even have been the best 2 year old before Kantheros was injured.  He looks like a colt with an attitude when it comes to beating up the competition......the dominator.

Of course, there is always that transition from 2 to 3, but this guy looks like he's the real deal.

01 Sep 2010 6:26 PM
Rachel

Fun to watch him grow and go!

Timber Reserve ♥

01 Sep 2010 6:29 PM
josh

I will always choose a horse who can come from behind and win his maiden first time out over another front runner who wins by a million lengths no matter how good he looked, I will always toss out juvenile beyers too.

JP's Gusto is still #1 because of he is battle tested.

Don't get me wrong Uncle mo looked good, but I have seen this happen a million times before and they turn out to be one dimensional front runners.

Jason when you get excited about a horse...watch out

01 Sep 2010 7:07 PM
2:24

Stay safe and sound Uncle Mo.

01 Sep 2010 7:21 PM
Trebloc

I witnessed the race in person and it was just awesome....But, I am keeping an eye on a Winstar colt named Brethren who fired a bullet yesterday at Belmont.  By the way he's Super Saver's half brother. So, he can get the mile and a quarter.  The surf's and the hurricane is on its way..........

01 Sep 2010 7:50 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Hey, how did I get here? I was looking for the Christine Daae article. Was Uncle Mo in The Phantom of the Opera too? I think Twirling Candy is running Sunday, don't forget to watch him. He's special too. 2yo -will be looking at Afleet Alex sons. Elite Alex looked good. Curlinello looked good. Uncle Mo looked shockingly good. You'd better check his birth certificate. Has a good Derby pedigree too. Watch out. Thanks for the heads up. Wow.

01 Sep 2010 8:43 PM
Ranagulzion

Uncle Mo, a very promising colt at the top barn.  Ranagulzion will be paying attention for sure.  Its so sad that Kantharos got injured ...got to wish for health and soundness for these precocious ones.  I'm also following the progress of Little Drama and Gourmet Dinner from South Florida.  The million dollar Delta Jackpot is going to make for another interesting year of Kentucky Derby qualification in 2011 ...yummy yummy.

01 Sep 2010 9:03 PM
donnie

It's great to see Mr Repole finally have a high level of success.He has put alot of money in a game he loves,and having observed him with friends before and after races it's great.We need more like him for the betterment of horse racing.

01 Sep 2010 9:22 PM
Ferdinanthebull

The Repoles and their team are class acts.  Advocates for the game, and the work they do with horse rescue is wonderful.  Uncle Mo or Charma, its come their way.  Congrats!

01 Sep 2010 11:26 PM
Bellwether

FOUR POINT ONE BILLION...THEY COULD BUY THE HOLE CROP...ty...

02 Sep 2010 5:00 AM
Love 'em all!

Full of info, and thanks for sharing!

Best wishes to Repole Stable, Stay Thirsty and, of course, Uncle Mo.  

Great name .... loved it even before I knew what it meant, and now the name is even mo' lovable.  

Cheers to Repole Stable.

02 Sep 2010 9:32 AM
Slew

Loved Uncle Mo's race.  Very impressed by a Point Given filly, Fancy Point out of a Rahy mare.  Great stakes win at Saratoga, another rising star.

02 Sep 2010 9:55 AM
Alex

Was there to witness it and thankfully had him straight up. I love this time of year when any hot looking colt gets touted as the can't miss pick for the following year's TC races.

When I come in through my garage, there's picture of Silver Wagon to greet me. The Hopeful winner who developed sore feet but still made a million. Loved the way he smoked Chapel Royale.

02 Sep 2010 10:39 AM
Zookeeper

Jason- Very good interview. It's interesting to see how reluctant Mr. Repole was to spend what now seems like a bargain price for a colt with the promise of Uncle Mo. Much more than *impressive* first start! It will be fun to follow his progress. Hope he stays healthy and sound. Go Uncle Mo!!!

02 Sep 2010 10:42 AM
Rachel

Jason, I'm sorry this is way off topic, but how funny will it be to have Rachel winning the "East Coast" Lady's Secret Stakes & Zenyatta if/when she wins the "West Coast" unZenyatta Lady's Secret Stakes?

You can't script stuff this funny...

02 Sep 2010 11:58 AM
Barb Dwyer

Certainly a nice juvenile but in terms of next year's Derby aspirations it makes no difference if Uncle Mo had broke his maiden by a pole.  There's only 2 questions that really matter in predicting next year's Derby winner:  

Who will Calvin Borel be riding?   Is there rain in the forecast for Louisville the first Saturday in May?

02 Sep 2010 2:45 PM
Zookeeper

OK, it's now official. Runflatout is entered in Race 3 at Del Mar on Sunday, Sept.5th. He drew post 1 of 8 and Bejarano has the mount. I wasn't looking for a win and now, with that post, I'll be elated if he hits the board. Time to send strong positive vibes our way, we'll need it!  :)

02 Sep 2010 5:52 PM
Ed

Hi Jason.  Excellent stuff on a really impressive 2YO. I just happened to be watching TVG early that day, as it was Traver's day.  

I caught Uncle Mo in the post parade and during pre-race exercise, and without knowing anything else about him, I was totally impressed.  Here was a 'green' 2YO making his first start, and yet he was fit, poised, calm, and looked like a million bucks out there.  Not only did he look calm and collected, but he was out there without an outrider and looked more like a seasoned racehorse than a 'green' 2YO.  

Without any PPs, just by his pre-race demeanor I was totally impressed and picked him as the winner.  Well the gates opened and by the time Uncle Mo hit the top of the stretch it was obviously all over.  I hope he does stay sound and happy, and if he remains in form - I look for him to romp in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

02 Sep 2010 7:22 PM
Zookeeper

P.S. I sure hope there's no Uncle Mo entered in Runflatout's race!

02 Sep 2010 8:53 PM
Pedigree Shelly

          I'm rooting all the way for Stay Thirsty ! I've been a Bernardini fan since the first time I laid eyes on him ! What a specimen of a Thoroughbred !

 Stay Thirsty has the talent , pedigree , and trainer , to make it to the BC Juvenile , I'll keep my fingers crossed , especially since top 2yr old Kantharos is done racing :(  The fragility of our 2 yr olds has become scary !!

02 Sep 2010 10:24 PM
jayjay

ZK : You sharing your experience being an owner while it's just beginning, is really exciting.  Now I feel like I have a stake on this horse as well all because we've been blogging on the same blog for months now.  I'll share the ecstacy as well as the agony with you this coming Sunday and I'm hoping it'll be the ecstacy of winning (even by a nose hair), come to think of it, don't groom his nose hairs, he might need it!  GO RFO!

02 Sep 2010 11:04 PM
Copier Tony

Time Out....Mike Repole is what the game needs young blood and a smart businessman. What fails to get noted is the amount of horses he took away from Bruce Levine over the winter after he was spending to much time at Gulfstream Park with Buddy's Saint. If somebody looks back at an old issue of the Bloodhorse from 2 years ago where Repole talked about going with a trainer who would give him attention rather than Pletcher who has over 100 plus horse. Bottom Line is that these horses would have been with Bruce Levine if it was not for an owner upset with the lack of attention while his trainer tried to get to the derby for the first time...Sorry to rain on the parade of Repole Stable. It was a bush move unless there is another story behind the switch of trainers.....

02 Sep 2010 11:26 PM
Curllin

I was out at the OTB and was lucky enough to see him run. He was visually impressive.  I think what impressed me more was the fact that Discreetly Mine ran a 1:09 3/5 for his 6f split in the Kings Bishop and Uncle Mo ran a 1:09 1/5 for his 6f maiden victory.  Any way you shake it, that's impressive!  The horse definitely has a bright future if he stays sound, which hopefully he does.

03 Sep 2010 1:03 AM
GunBow

It looks like Uncle Mo has been the big maiden winner of the Saratoga meet.  At least we know he's fast.  

I've never been a huge fan of 2 year old racing, and have trouble getting that excited about any youngster because so much has to go right for them to stay healthy and make the Triple Crown races.  It's a long way from 6 furlongs in August to 10 furlongs in May. However, I wish Uncle Mo and his connections the best; the sport needs as many exciting prospects as possible.

In California, the gr.1 Del Mar Futurity will be run Wedensday.  3-time stakes winner JP's Gusto, who has run some nice Beyers himself, will likely be the favorite with Best Pal runner-up Sway Away close behind in the wagering.  There haven't been many jaw dropping juvenile performances at Del Mar this year, but that could partly be the result of the closer finishes produced by the Polytrack.

I wouldn't sleep on the Del Mar Futurity though.  4 of the last 6 2 year old male Eclipse winners captured the Del Mar Futurity(Lookin at Lucky, Midshipman, Stevie Wonderboy, and Declan's Moon).  The race has also produced Georgie Boy, Officer, Street Cry, Forest Camp, Silver Charm, Bertrando, and Best Pal over the last 20 years.

The Woodward came up weak.  I guess it was a little too much to expect Quality Road and Blame to face off in 3 races before the Breeder's Cup Classic.  In effect, Team Blame has left Quality Road to feast on the Woodward, where at level weights and 9 furlongs he would have been tough for Blame to beat.  Most likely, Pletcher will then take Quality Road from the Woodward directly to the BC Classic and leave the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and its 10 furlongs, to Blame.

The Woodward would have been more intruiging had Rail Trip been able to make the race, but evidently nagging physical issues have put him behind schedule.  He's expected to make his debut for Dutrow in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  The JCGC is also expected to draw Travers winner Afleet Express, and thus it should offer a much stronger field than the Woodward.  I'm sure Quality Road's presence, however, has something to do with the weak Woodward field.

03 Sep 2010 6:02 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

Zookeeper

  There may be an Uncle Mo in your race. His name is Runflatout. Actually there haven't been too many Uncle Mo's ever at this stage of a 2yo's career, first time starters. 3yo, yes, I've seen some, not an August 2yo. Not that I've seen anyway. It was very nice of Jason to point him out, don't you think? Jaw dropping.

03 Sep 2010 9:54 AM
Saratoga AJ

Rick Dutrow said in an interview 2 weeks ago that Boys At Tosconova may be the best horse he's ever trained. And he had Big Brown of course.

That's enough for me. I think Boys may be the best of what looks like a very talented group.

BTW, as good as Kantharos looked, his  Beyer speed numbers were not as good as Boys At Tosconova and Uncle Mo, who have the best numbers by any 2 yr olds by a wide margin.

BEYERS, TOP Rated TWO YEAR OLDS:

1. Boys of Tosconova  102

  Uncle Mo           102

2. Kantharos           90

3. Wine Police         90

4. Stay Thirsty        89

03 Sep 2010 10:37 AM
carla

My mother and I go each year to the Travers. One of my favorite races to see other then the Travers is always the 1st time 2yr olds. I picked Uncle Mo before we even go to the track, I have a habit of picking names (for one reason or another) before we go then I check the DRF.

I go the paddock to see them walk in and thought he was a nice horse. But after watching him race my comment to my mother was there's my 2011 Derby horse. All I saw wow nice form as we watched him fly buy with the greatest of ease..nice two year debut.

Last time I picked picked a 2yr old in that race was Discreet Cat who turned out to be a horse after his debut at the Spa.

03 Sep 2010 10:57 AM
Smoking Baby

 Zookeeper...Good luck on Sunday with Runflatout.  I'll be watching and rooting.  Wouldn't you just know he'd draw the rail?  Where's the luck?  He should certainly get some good experience out of this start.  Good luck!!!  My girl and I will be rooting for you to get your picture taken.

03 Sep 2010 11:33 AM
LAZMANNICK

Rail Trip stepped on a stone on the safe Saratoga surface, bruising his foot and promting Dutrow to make a snide remark.  Kantharos suffered an unfortuantate and tragic injury on the same safe Saratoga surface.  The other day Timber Reserve broke down on the same safe Saratoga surface and had to be euthanized.  Injuries and catastrophies happen on many different race tracks.  As important an issue safety is, accidents still happen.

03 Sep 2010 11:36 AM
mz

Zookeeper: when RFO makes it to the feature on the first Saturday in May, will you have a special section available for us?

We could call it the BH Hot Air Section or, in honour of some of the stuff I read at some times, the BH Hot Heads Section.

Let me know.  I gotta start thinking about my hat.

Buona fortuna and bonne chance.  (Extra languages for when RFO starts taking his overseas trips to the Arc and all)

ahhh

I love 2YO's and dreaming about them.

03 Sep 2010 11:54 AM
Mike Relva

SARATOGA AJ

You never got back regarding my post last week when stated I didn't believe RA could get the 10f. In fact,you haven't commented on her loss. Imagine that!

03 Sep 2010 12:59 PM
Mike Relva

MTB TO WIN WOODWARD!!!!

03 Sep 2010 1:01 PM
Aluminaut

Zookeeper,

Drawing the one hole sure sucks.

Sorry for your boy.

03 Sep 2010 1:10 PM
Zookeeper

mz- Too funny! If that was ever to happen, we would be too busy arguing among ourselves to enjoy the race. Don't hold your breath and for goodness' sake don't even think about the 1st Saturday in May... let's get through September 5th first! :)

jayjay- Thank you! Carla Gaines won't let me near him with a pair of scissors. She's funny that way. lol!

Dr D.- Yes, very nice of Jason. I'm sure the partnership will give Uncle Mo a wide berth. As far as I'm concerned the Rockies are a blessing! :)

03 Sep 2010 1:26 PM
Zookeeper

Mike Relva,

You better pray for torrential rain if you want your prediction to come true. :) I hope he does well, it's sad to see Jason & company laugh on THS at the mere mention of MTB... Let's get a rain dance going!

03 Sep 2010 1:34 PM
mz

Mike Relva: Way To Go!

Since I am already thinking about my Derby Hat (see previous comments), I would love to see Jason et al eat it after the Woodward.

(also see my previous comments re "dreaming")

03 Sep 2010 2:36 PM
sleepingfish

I too was at Uncle Mo's race and it gave me goose bumps. It reminded me of watching another talented 2 year old break her maiden at Churchill a few years ago. Silverbulletday.

03 Sep 2010 4:08 PM
Arlene

Thanks for poting the video link. Uncle certainly has an efficient way of moving..a still, straight top line, with well balanced stride underneath. Looks like he strikes the ground a bit hard (a la Smarty Jones)..nice BIG rump...I hope he stays sound..looks like he is built a bit like a sprinter. I am also against racing 2 yr. olds..this still seems early..could have waited until November? He is a looler, a mover, and exciting anyway..

03 Sep 2010 7:49 PM
skyfire

I wish Mike Repole good luck -- he has invested a lot in the sport, and has had a major positive impact on it economically.  He is the type of owner that the sport needs to continue to attract.

03 Sep 2010 9:05 PM
Mike Relva

MZ

Thanks!

03 Sep 2010 11:21 PM
Ranagulzion

SARATOGA AJ,

Littl Drama (Big Drama's half brother sired by Burning Roma) also ran a 90 Beyer speed in an impressive victory at Calder in July.  He too is one to keep an eye on.

05 Sep 2010 7:47 PM
GOMOGO

While I attended the meet that great Travers day it was a sentimental one.  Just a year earlier my girlfriend and family had lost their human Uncle Mo.  When we saw the 2 yr old name in the post parade it was like a sign from above and im not even religious.   He was the favorite that day but I truly doubt that mattered.  WE KNEW Uncle Mo was winning that race long before seeing the odds or the race itself.  After that dominant performance we can only hope he can continue this success in next years Triple Crown season..GO Mo GO..

13 Sep 2010 10:51 PM
chuckles the clown

Guys, Guys...

Hold on now. The horse is eligible for a NW1X. He beat maidens for crying out loud. The one horse that had a chance in that race was crashed right out of the gate.

If this horse goes to the Champagne off one maiden race he's a target not a monster.

Sheeez

21 Sep 2010 9:21 PM
jon

Uncle Mo reminds me of Mr. Fantasy, but appears to be more talented. Not even Secretariat won his first start. Hoist The Flag was a good one, and for Uncle MO to win by 14 and gallop out by 20? I havent seen the other juveniles, but he has a small field to face in The Champagne. If he wins that and the Breeders Cup, we might have ourselves Arazi the 2nd. I keep wondering when we d see a great 2 year old...and we just have. Lets see how he wins the next few races, and what he has left at the end. If he wins the way he won his first race, then we have a legitimate Triple Crown Winner. Hes that good.

06 Oct 2010 11:50 PM
Uncle mo

Uncle Mo goes from Maiden to Grd 1 winner tomorrow in the Champagne.  Period and end of story.  From there the only horse that might beat him in BC Juv is his stable mate Stay Thirsty.  Repole Stables is about to dominate the sport the way they did at Saratoga.  And since they are not old stuffy blue blooded money but rather average people who literally found lightening in a bottle and are living the American dream and having a ball I am cheering for them all the way to the finish line!!

08 Oct 2010 10:28 PM
EarlySpeed

I watched both of Uncle Mo's races on youtube and he is a very fluid runner. He has a nice stride and big push from behind. If he can stay this good at three or maybe even get better, not only will he be the real deal, he could be another Barbaro, hopefully without the breakdown. Uncle Mo is awesome. I am excited to see him in the BC and Derby next year as a bigger, even more powerful horse. And Mile Repole being an advocate for retired and/or unwanted race horses making sure they don't go to slaughter also enhances the karma behind his horses. I might take a closer look at Vitaminwater too. If it does not have any high fructose corn sugar, and doesn't have the calories sweet tea does, I might just because a product user of Vitaminwater.

11 Oct 2010 8:04 PM
2011 Triple Crown Winner?

Looks like a Triple Crown winner to me in 2011!

29 Jan 2011 9:14 AM

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