A Derby Turned Upside Down

At 5:52 p.m. EDT on April 9, Kentucky Derby 137 officially became a free-for-all.

Uncle Mo's defeat in the Wood Memorial was shocking. There is no getting around it. Very few people expected the undefeated 2-year-old champ and Derby favorite to get beat, let alone challenged, by a seemingly overmatch field that did not include a single graded stakes winner. Take nothing away from Toby's Corner and Arthur's Tale--both of them ran very nice races, especially Toby's Corner, who was not a fluke winner and has a big chance four weeks from now. But nobody saw this coming. Not Graham Motion. Not Tom Albertrani. Not the 12,000 that showed up at Aqueduct, including Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher.

Couple Mo's stunning defeat that with the fact that in the 48 hours prior to that we lost major contender Premier Pegasus and fringe contender To Honor and Serve, and Bob Baffert's main gun, Jaycito, was scratched from the Santa Anita Derby, and we are staring dead on at a Derby that has become as wide open as its been in a long, long time.

With only a few preps remaining, the favorite, by default, becomes Dialed In, a stone cold closer who has made only four starts in his career. That is, unless The Factor--a one-dimensional, front-running speed-baller that not even Baffert believes is a best suited for two turns--wires the field in next week's Arkansas Derby. In that case, he probably becomes the public's choice.

After that? Well, you have Mo, who in a matter of one race prompted more people to jump off his bandwagon that any horse in the history of the sport (more on that in a minute); a Santa Anita Derby winner (Midnight Interlude) that was a maiden three weeks ago, two supposedly proven colts (Soldat and Stay Thirsty) that now have major questions marks next to their names after dull Florida Derby efforts; a workmanlike but unflashy top contender that also comes out of a third-place finish in a major prep (Mucho Macho Man); four horses that ran way above anything they had shown previously to win major preps (Pants On Fire, Twice the Appeal, Animal Kingdom, and Toby's Corner); three others that may make the Derby field but would have be considered big-time longshots (Decisive Moment, Watch Me Go, and Shackleford); and a slew of others that could run well in one of the the two remaining major preps but would still go to Churchill Downs with a lot of doubters (Santiva, J P's Gusto, Astrology, Archarcharch, Nehro, Elite Alex, Brethren, etc.).

There are your main contenders for the first Saturday in May as it stands on April 10. Not exactly an overwhelming group. At this point, to say the race is going to be a good betting opportunity is an understatement--which is a shocking turn of events considering that just a few hours ago Mo seemed to be on his way to becoming the heaviest Derby favorite that we would have seen in a long time.

So what happened with Mo? So far, the consensus from the "experts" seems to be that he just can't get the distance because of his pedigree. One major writer has even gone as far as to say he wonders why "the connections would even think about going on to the Kentucky Derby." Talk about a rush to judgment.

Here is one man's opinion: Uncle Mo's defeat was not as bad as it seems. Shocking? Absolutely. A loss that he cannot recover from? I don't believe so. It's impossible to quantify how much the grabbed quarter affected his overall performance, but I'm going to offer a guess that it didn't have a major impact on the outcome and say that he lost mainly because he was a short horse. No more, no less. For the first time in five lifetime starts he just didn't fire. He was going nine furlongs for the first time and it took more out of him than most of us anticipated, including Pletcher. But let's keep it in perspective; he was beaten 1 1/4 lengths, not 5 1/4 lengths.

Does this mean he can't win at 10 furlongs a month from now? Most people now seem to think so, but I don't. Not with the less than stellar field that is heading to Louisville. Not with the talent that he possesses. Not after watching how well he ran at Churchill in November. Not when six of the last 10 Derby winners lost their final preps. And not with Pletcher at the helm.

With his stunning Wood defeat, Uncle Mo almost certainly lost his role as Derby favorite and along with it lost a lot of members on his, until recently, jam-packed bandwagon. There is certainly more doubt about whether he can take the roses, and rightfully so, but he still has a big chance four weeks from now. If he's healthy, I still think he is the best 3-year-old in the country.


Leave a Comment:

Ted from LA

What odds will you get on Mo on Derby Day?  5-1?  I haven't given up on him, but he looked out of gas at the end of that race.  The added furlong could be asking too much. Ted from LA is glad he is going to Churchill early.  

10 Apr 2011 5:38 PM
Ted from LA

On a different matter, it's painful watching that Rory kid with the big urine stain running down his leg at the Masters.

10 Apr 2011 5:46 PM

Mo has no chance to win the Derby and The Factor's chances are slight. The ones who don't have the pedigree for the race are often,luckily, exposed beforehand.

10 Apr 2011 5:52 PM

Great blog Jason, I believe this is your best and you're 100% right.  Uncle Mo didn't win the Wood but Secretariat lost too.  After he lost many said his breeding wasn't good enough to win at Classic distances.  They were wrong.  Uncle Mo has a G1 win at Churchill going 2 turns how many others can say that?  The fact is Uncle Mo losing the Wood does nothing but help those who believe and know he is the future Derby winner.  Now I can expect 3 to 1 instead of 9 to 5.  Uncle Mo just didn't like Aqueduct and the good news is he never has to run there again.  He is off to Kentucky and will have plenty of time to work and get sharp for the big race.  Make no mistake he is STILL the horse to beat.

10 Apr 2011 6:00 PM

I thought Arthur's Tale looked gorgeous!  Any thoughts about him maybe being a big player later on in the season?

10 Apr 2011 6:05 PM

Uncle  Mo  was  never  a  Derby  contender  in  my  eyes.  With  only  eight  points  in  his  dosage he  has  definite  distance  limitations. Maybe  the  Arkansas  Derby  will  supply  the  Derby  favorite.  If  The  Factor  wins , he  could  be  favored. If  Elite  Alex  or  Sway  Away  rebound   or  should  I  say  progress  to  the  winner's  circle , they  would  jump into  contention.

10 Apr 2011 6:09 PM

Actually, there are plenty of people out there who weren't shocked in the least by Uncle Mo's loss.  He was off for several months, had the easiest prep race possible short of a $10K maiden claimer, and was under-prepared for a nine-furlong race.  This is not any fault of Uncle Mo's.  His connections were supremely overconfident and did him a huge disservice with his prep schedule.  At least he lost now and maybe got something out of it to help him in the Derby.  

10 Apr 2011 6:21 PM
Bill Daly

I have mixed feelings about this horse. On the plus side, he obviously needed the race and should greatly benefit from it. Second, Aqueduct was not kind to speed on Saturday.  There was a distinct bias favoring closers.  Third, his next start will be the third start of the cycle and we all know what that means from a handicapping point of view.  On the negative side, he is a speed horse and he will have to deal with other quality speed - if he makes it to the Derby - namely The Factor, an aptly named horse.  Second,his pedigree is speed oriented and I don't think he really wants to go that far. Third, he may have issues we are not aware of [which may account for his less than ambitious schedule].  Lots of questions with no easy answers.  I took notice of Elite Alex's work the other day and I have a feeling this is a new horse who could be very dangerous from here on out.  Trouble is, he has to win or place in the Arkansas Derby to get to Kentucky.  That work tells me he should be up to the task.

10 Apr 2011 6:29 PM

People who jumped off Secretariat's bandwagon sure felt like idiots at Churchill! I'm not saying Mo is close to Secretariat... yet, but i do think hes the best chance we've had as a TC hopeful since Big Brown! Sometimes it takes defeat to bring out the real STAR in something!

10 Apr 2011 6:38 PM

Was Mo out of gas? Yes. Will he ever be able to run a mile and a quarter? Of course he will. Boy, I have been saying he is undertrained for the first Saturday in May, but I never thought for a minute he was not the most talented of this years crop. Shame on some of you fair weather friends. The Derby is going to be more interesting and Mo will just be getting really fit by Preakness.

10 Apr 2011 6:39 PM

Uncle Mo is a reincarnated version of War Pass.

War Pass won the Champagne, BC Juvenile, wintered at Palm Meadows in Florida then for his three year old debut ran in an allowance race at 1-20.  After that race he finished last in the Tampa Bay Derby at 1-20 odds and finished second in the Wood as the odds on favorite.  He never raced again.

Uncle Mo won the Champagne, BC Juvenile, wintered at Palm Meadows, made his three year old debut in an uninspiring ungraded subpar stakes race at 1-9 and then ran third at 1-9 in the Wood.

Let me think.  If Uncle Mo runs in the Kentuck Derby he will have John Velaquez, whom is 0 for 11 in the Derby, riding him.  He will have Todd Pletcher, whom is 1 for 24 only because Calvin Borel bailed him out last year, as his trainer in the Derby.

Also, I can't think of more than horse with Wood Memorial connections that have won the KD in over 30 years.

Do the right thing and keep Uncle Mo out of the Derby.  The odds are way to much to overcome.

10 Apr 2011 6:47 PM

Mike Repole was so graceful and classy after that huge upset -- what a credit to racing -- may he continue to get really good horses!

I am not abandoning Uncle Mo yet. Third off a layoff!!   This should be the end of the two race KD prep philosophy however.

I think it will be Baffert, Zito and Todd in the money in the Derby.

10 Apr 2011 6:50 PM

Wow, I think I already read this article on another site a few hours ago...

10 Apr 2011 6:51 PM

I've been a solid believer in both Uncle Mo and Dialed In for awhile now. The former was the likely winner and the latter was my personal choice to pull a possible upset. For me, nothing really has changed except the odds they both may be. Uncle Mo would have been even odds or so and now I'd expect 3-1 on him. Whereas Dialed In may have been 5-1 or so and now I'd expect something around the 7/2 mark. I do have a few more horses in the mix now, I think the odds have went down slightly that one of these two horse would win, so I'm looking at horses that I previously liked for exotics as possible winners. I also have a couple horses that caught my eye in recent races. Comma to the Top and Arthur's Tale especially in how game they both were in defeat. Arthur's Tale soared by Uncle Mo and looked to open up on him and then I think he started waiting around when Toby's Corner sneaked by him. The thing I like is how he responded and cut back into the margin at the wire, he then proceeded to gallop out very strongly indicating to me he was probably the best horse that day, and he'll also handle more ground. I hope he makes it in and I'd think about removing his blinkers so he can show his true grit. Elite Alex and Sway Away are two sentimental favorites that I'd give a much bigger chance to if they enter the race off good performances in Arkansas. This is as of now, if speed horses start to drop out that would cause me to have rethink almost everything. A Derby not unlike last year that is for sure. Pletcher and Zito were able to show their strong hands then and they have the horses to do it again. That at least hasn't changed.

10 Apr 2011 6:52 PM

Right on...Don't give up on Uncle yet. In fact keep up the excuses, pump up the hype and get those odds down on Derby Day.

1-9 in the Wood and the overlays were everywhere. Keep up the spin on MO, "I said Uncle", and we can watch a short horse at a mile and quarter blow up the prices on the contenders.

10 Apr 2011 7:02 PM

i think dialed in will be the favorite come derby day. i still think mo will be there too maybe 3rd choice.i have to say though midnight interlude ran a hell of a race yesterday and since baffert's the trainer you can't ignore him imo. i believe he's better then the factor.

10 Apr 2011 7:03 PM

Im not giving up on Uncle Mo this easily.  I too think he must have been short. Hopefully with his talent, the fields lack of talent, his love of Chuchill Downs and some time to get more serious works in, he will still be my Derby horse on the first Saturday in May unless Brethen comes back with a big win.

10 Apr 2011 7:05 PM

Also I'd like to reiterate (I mentioned this on BH, before Downey's "Who'll Get to the Eighth Pole First?") that the distance of the Derby is almost moot. How many recent Derby winners were behind at the eighth pole? I look at this way, if the Wood Memorial had 11 extra horses creating traffic problems behind Uncle Mo he would have probably won. If he's in front at the eighth pole in the Kentucky Derby he is almost assuredly home free.

10 Apr 2011 7:09 PM

Still hard to tell about the extra furlong; have to defer to Pletcher who doesn't seem to think it is a problem based on the way he has been training. All the same, not a lot of time to figure out what was the cause for the lackluster performance down the stretch. Maybe it really is as simple as a bad day. It wasn't the Mo we know but I think he can bounce back from this and show his BC form again. I remain on the bandwagon - I still  believe he is the one to beat.

10 Apr 2011 7:18 PM

Many of you folks are jumping off Uncle Mo's band wagon, I am sure folks did the same in 1973 when Secretariat lost the Wood Memorial. It's just 1 race, all the great ones udually lose a race or two, it means nothing. Uncle Mo looked to me like he just needed the race. He was short and tired the last sixteenth. The Wood is a prestigious race but it isn't the Derby. More then anything else, Mo's defeat should be an eye opener to owners and trainers who lightly race their horses. Horses are built to run, not stay in the barn. Most of the horses nowadays come into the Derby having run 3, 4 or only 5 times.

We will see, I am not giving up on him, he still is my pick the first Saturday in May.........

10 Apr 2011 7:21 PM
The Rock


Well, yesterday didn't work out too well. So much for tip's. I guess 1 for 2 ain't bad when you're dealing with medium priced horses. Comma to the Top, Cambina & Morning Line to Apriority helped ease the blow a bit.

Now on to Uncle Mo. Thank you Dray for confirming you're still on the Uncle Mo wagon. But Jason I will say this, I agree with your thoughts. I believed he was a short horse. Until I see some stamina in his works, which isn't Pletcher's style, I'll consider him for tri's & super's pending the draw. Adding a furlong after each race requires some foundation. And if he's expected to contest the triple crown series should he win the derby, he better get more out of his training. Unless I see a couple of 7 panels out of him during the mornings, I'm staying away. I believe he's by far the most talented colt of this crop. I just don't like the game plan on how they're approaching the Derby.

10 Apr 2011 7:24 PM
Art from AZ

When are you going to face reality-Uncle Mo is the most over-hyped bC juvenile winner since Favorite Trick. Remember him and, of course, War Pass? Mo does not want to go beyond 1 1/16m Period... Fletcher notwithstanding. I'll take Bob Baffert anytime who has had 3 Kentucky Derby winners with 12 entries (25%)over the years vs Fletcher's 1 for 24 or a measly 4% strike rate despite all that expensive horses under his tutelage!!!

10 Apr 2011 7:24 PM

At least Secretariat had a good excuse to lose the Wood. Uncle Mo didn't have a lip abscess and wasn't running against horses like Sham or Angle Light. Keep the lame excuses coming Draynay, they're absolutely priceless!!!!

10 Apr 2011 7:28 PM

The Factor is a beast, Dialed In will be closing late...The best 3yo in the land might be Joyful Victory...the oaks winner...same connections as 8 belles

10 Apr 2011 7:31 PM

Hey Folks,  The Sand Wizard

just flew in from my desert oasis.

Lest we forget: I called the

trifecta In the Derby and the

Superfecta in the Preakness last


Uncle Mo? Sorry...Uncle No !

Great 2 year old, great sprinter,

but please compare him to War Pass

not Big Red !

I am not sure who was driving the

bandwagon: but why was anyone

so sure he could he even get a mile and an eighth let alone

the Roses? He simply ran into

his pedigree, It's not his fault--

his bloodlines are never, eve going

to yield a classic horse.  Keep

running mile G1s and he will be just fine. Sorry, but that is the


Looking ahead, let's take a long look down in Arkansas and see what we see. But please, don't rush to

rash judgments. The bandwagons will


10 Apr 2011 7:31 PM

Not sure who your "experts" are.  I think that the consensus amongst experienced handicappers is that he lost the Wood because he was not given adequate preparation to go 1 1/8 miles for the first time against a quality field.  Most thought that this would probably show in the Derby instead of the Wood.  But, the fact that he couldn't hold on in the Wood makes his chances in the Derby remote.

He did probably gained some fitness from the race.  However, 1 month is almost certainly insufficient time to gain enough fitness for the tougher and longer Derby, even if he eventually shows himself more talented than the other horses.

I intend to look for an outsider in the Derby.  None of the expected favorites are appealing.

The Factor is talented but confirmed front runners are usually at a big disadvantage in the Derby.  Dialed In may win, but his Florida Derby was so slow that he is also just not attractive at the expected low odds.

10 Apr 2011 7:31 PM

Jason - I was there; pretty quiet after the race. I was really impressed with the Carter Handicao as well. Morning Line ran a huge race and also was impressed with Sunrise Smarty at 15-1 who took them all through 6f at 1:08. Looks like he will be tough at 6f going forward. 7f was not his distance. Thoughts??

10 Apr 2011 7:33 PM

Art from AZ

you know those crops were weak because the 2yr old champions were sired by sprinters.

10 Apr 2011 7:36 PM

Disagree - Mo looked bad, period.

I hope Arthur's Tale makes it into the race because he's got a pretty decent shot, I think.

10 Apr 2011 7:37 PM

Uncle Mo was likely short for the Wood, which is, by the way, a major error by Pletcher.  Jason, if you're excuse is that Mo was short, Pletcher should take his lumps.

Was that all that was wrong with Mo?  Maybe.  But it is now much more likely than 24 hrs ago that Mo is simply not a classic distance horse.  The main thing still going for Mo is that no one else looks that good.  I was underwhelmed by Dialed In's Florida Derby, but given he was winning his 2nd graded stakes of the year, he certainly looks better after the latest round of preps.

But yes, if you still like Mo in the Derby, you are going to get a MUCH better price.  Actaully, most horses should be a good price.

As for many people's hope that there will be a Triple Crown winner this year, wake me when someone has won both the Derby and Preakness.  Then, and only then, will I really start thinking Triple Crown.  It took Smarty winning the Preakness by almost 12 to convince me he really had a shot at it, and I didn't put the Crown on Barbaro's head even after he won the Derby by the largest margin in 60 years.  The Triple Crown is not something you can wish or hope into happening, especially in January or February.  It will happen when a truly deserving horse wins all 3 legs, and only until that horse hits the wire of the Belmont first will I acknowledge we actually have one.

10 Apr 2011 7:40 PM

I still think Mo is a factor in the Derby.  I believe he has been undertrained and was not ready.   I wonder if he will really even be ready for the Derby.  I hope he will be.

10 Apr 2011 7:41 PM

Joyful Victory won the Fantasy in visually impressive style.  But she got a great pace setup and really didn't come home fast.  Maybe the Oaklwan surface slowed since yesterday, but her time in the Fantasy of 144 and change(8.5 furlongs) is almost 3 seconds off Win Willy's 148 and change(9 furlongs) from yesterday.  

Win Willy received a 107 Beyer.  Misremembered ran his race, but Win Willy had the pace he needed and we know he loves Oaklawn.

10 Apr 2011 7:45 PM

I can buy him being a short horse the way he has been trained, but even short he should have accellerated away from them better at the top of the stretch than he did.  If he were my horse, I would regroup and bring him back in the Met Mile and go on from there.  There has to be a reason he has been trained so lightly.  Mr Pletcher does not overtrain his horses, but he is really training the horse with kid gloves, and there has to be a reason for that.  He could still get 10 furlongs, but he reminds me of Quality Road more than Secretariat or Seattle Slew.  This is the second slow race from the horse.  He may jump up and surprise, but at the moment he is not the same horse he was as a two year old and that final furlong looks daunting.  Mr Pletcher needs to put a ton of foundation and distance works in this horse in 4 weeks, and he doesn't seem to train that way,  But maybe this will wake Uncle Mo up too.  Another wait and see case, I guess.

10 Apr 2011 7:49 PM

I would hate to say that Uncle Mo was exposed at the Wood, but the fact that he ran comfortable fractions and still couldn't close the deal solidifies my feeling and many others feeling that Mo cannot win the Derby at 10F.  

I was hoping Mo would win to help give better odds derby day, but with the defection of Premier Pegasus it opens this field up even more.  

I will be watching the Arkansas Derby as will everyone else very closely.  The Factor is an interesting horse as I had my doubts before his last race, but he sure looked the part.  Brethren is working like a monster and may be able to bounce back like a champ.

May 7... will you hurry up already?!

10 Apr 2011 7:52 PM

Bloodhorse, why would you allow an idiotic post such as this by Ted in LA:  "On a different matter, it's painful watching that Rory kid with the big urine stain running down his leg at the Masters"

His lack of taste is matched, maybe even exceeded, by yours

10 Apr 2011 7:54 PM

On a related Derby topic, i just received my tickets for the Oaks/Derby FROM CHURCHIL DOWNS ITSELF NOT A BROKER...paid $300 per day for 1 grandstand seat and a tix to infield club. Face value for grandstand tix was $76 for Oaks and $129 for Derby. Assuming the Infield club isn't $200 per day is that how they get around anti-scalping laws by packaging it with the Infield Club? Anybody else have similar experience?

10 Apr 2011 7:56 PM
Jason Shandler

GunBow and Footlick: I know for a fact that he was training brilliantly and he was sound going into that race. That is about all I know at this point. If anyone can get the horse to rebound, it's Pletcher. R Heat Lightning was able to do it a couple weeks ago.

Footlick: Pletcher trained Mo the same way he trains all of his horses pointing toward major races. Im not sure there is any proof that he handled him with kid gloves. Sometimes horses dont fire. Sometimes they need a race.

10 Apr 2011 7:57 PM
Art in AZ

Just for the records: In the last 30 years the following horses won the KD following their preps at the Wood. 2003 Funny Cide (2nd); 2001 Monarchos (2nd); 2000 FuPeg (1st); 1994 Go For Gin(4th); 1981 Pleasant Colony (1st); and 1980 Genuine Risk (3rd).Over the last 10 years though, the road to the derby passed through Arkansas (2010 and 2004) and Florida(2008 and 2006).

10 Apr 2011 7:57 PM

Uncle Mo will probably finish last if he runs in the Derby. He ran the same way in the Wood that he ran in the TW, except the Wood was longer and the horses  better. He has no chance of winning at 1 1/4 miles against graded stakes winners. He's just not that good. If he improves a lot maybe he could win the Preakness, but not the Derby.

10 Apr 2011 7:58 PM
Cuban chef de race

i told you friends, pletcher have been playing with fire you can not be playing catch up with a horse  that has a suspect sire for a grueling race like the derby,he was not beaten by t.c he was beaten by his trainer todd pletcher,he can be a better stallion then his sire take him to the farm and avoid a real ugly defeat.

10 Apr 2011 8:08 PM
Mike Puder

Uncle Mo was not just undertrained but has not progressed as a 3 year old. He simply matured sooner than his competion at 2 and as a result he looked better than he really is coming into his 3 year old year. I believe that The Factor will win in Arkansas and will be very hard to catch in Kentucky. The Factor has more speed than any horse I have seen in a very long time. Anyone who tries to run with him is toast and if you let him loose in the front it's all over for everyone. Good luck!

10 Apr 2011 8:09 PM

the factor is the only horse that has done everything asked of him so far this season

those that think he is "short" bet heavy derby day

i am betting this horse with both fists next week and theresfter on the first saturday in may

10 Apr 2011 8:19 PM


If I'm not mistaken, if you count his gallop out in the TW, he ran the 9 furlongs on that day at the same speed than the Wood, but on TW day he was playing in the first mile and galloping out in the last furlong pass the wire. So there's no reason why he couldn't have gone faster while trying to

He just didn't fire up that day, it happened, every horses has a bad day once in a while

10 Apr 2011 8:20 PM

God, will people please stop with the insane comparisons of Uncle Mo with Secretariat in the Wood.

Secretariat was a co Horse of the Year as a two year old and then won the Grade 3 Bay Shore and the Grade 2 Gotham.  Uncle Mo just raced in an ungraded race called the Timely Writer.

In the Wood, Secretariat finished behind Sham, whom just won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in stakes equalling time (1:47) over a horse, Linda's Chief, that had earlier tied the track record for a mile at Santa Anita.

Uncle Mo gets beat by non graded stakes winner called Toby's Corner AND a horse called Arthur's Tale whom owned just one win over maidens.

Please, any comparisons are insulting the legacy of Secretariat.

10 Apr 2011 8:31 PM

It's kind of late and I am a huge John V fan, but I wasn't impressed with his ride either.  He could have gotten more separation earlier in the race, actually made the others work a little and he could have made Mo dig in more from the mid point of the turn on.  He galloped out much more impressively in the TW than he did in the Wood.

That being said, the speed did not hold up well at all yesterday at the Big A, especially along the inside where most of the horses racing on the inside faded in similar fashion to Mo.  There was only 1 dirt race in 9 where the winner wired the field.  This tells me the track might have been tiring, which considering that Mo might have been short would have contributed even more to his fade.  What I didn’t like was that there was no fight, no fire in his eyes.  I also didn’t like the fact that there was no attempt to rate him.  Come on, there is no way Mo was going to wire a field in the Derby so why not take him back a bit and let him make a run?  This is another concern I have with John V…….he likes the front end too much.  His ride didn't inspire me just as his ride on Life at Ten at 2 to 5 didn't inspire me today.

This bit about his breeding might hold true for a 10F race, but not for 9F.  Indian Charlie offspring have done extremely well at the distance.  It was more like the horse didn’t fire, might have been short, might have been hurting a little or maybe was too docile.  The blood test might tell us something.

10 Apr 2011 8:36 PM

Well the Arkansas Derby will either showcase the derby favorite,in the aptly named colt The Factor or the derby,will have a betting pool just like last year.Supersaver was the 2nd choice

at 7-1,if Im not mistaken.In either

outcome if Mo and Dialed In run IMO the favorite will be AT LEAST 3-1.MO is not the bully he was as a 2yo as his competition has improved and the races have gotten longer.I am wondering why his bloodwork on Tuesday is such a hot topic.Pletcher has stated that is his MO(standard operating procedure)for all the stakes horses that dont perform up to expectations.Could it be that it is because we live in the information age or something else.You make the call as all of this is subjective,and not objective.

10 Apr 2011 8:41 PM

The naysayers here remind me of after Secretariat lost the Wood in '73. Granted, these are two different horses, but the reaction is always the same when a superior horse gets beaten. Many jump ship. The second guessing gets started and all the hoopla that goes with it. Uncle Mo is a good horse. He was undefeated until yesterday. He won some wonderful races. Everyone seems to have forgotten that. Also, many great horses have lost the Derby because of the insistance of starting a cavalry stampede on the first Saturday in May instead of a race. There should be only one starting gate on the track in the Derby and there should be no more than the 14 horses it holds competing in that race. Uncle Mo is still my choice.

10 Apr 2011 8:42 PM

Jason- R Heat Lightning ran flat her first race back, not her second.  If you say he was training brilliantly and is sound then I will believe you.  You are right, sometimes horses don't fire.  But the way all of you have painted him as a horse who is so heads and shoulders above this crop, even an off day against that field, should have produced a winner.  He didn't even clear them around the turn and the pace was soft.  I can only conclude that he is distance challenged then.  I hope you are right, and he will bounce back and be the horse he was, but he has not come close to his two year old form yet and Mr Pletcher only has 4 weeks to get him in shape by training him I guess the way he has been training him because you said he is training him the same he trains all his horses pointing to major races.  I'm not trying to argue here, just that I know you hear more than we do, so I am drawing conclusions from what you said.

10 Apr 2011 8:46 PM

Uncle Mo is Uncle Slow in 2011.

He's another Arazi. Just sayin...

10 Apr 2011 8:48 PM
Paula Higgins

Jason, I will take your word for it that he looked good when they trained him. But I think he has been underprepared overall. They need to step it up and I think it can be done. ITA that he is a really good horse. But if he doesn't do well in the Derby it is clear that distance is the issue. There is no way to find that out except by running him in the Derby. If he is in good condition, to not run him in the Derby would be stupid. You can't assume distance is the issue based on one race. Horses outrun their pedigree all the time.

10 Apr 2011 8:49 PM
Ted from LA

Sorry Skyfire.  It was a joke.  I really did feel badly for him.  Considering he is only 21, he'll have many more Masters in him.

10 Apr 2011 8:55 PM
no mo mo

I've been telling you people how unca schmoe reminded me of Favorite Trick for month's now. I also have been saying he was going to lose soon. I was right on both counts and now it's off to the Ky. Derby where unca schmoe will not win!!

10 Apr 2011 8:55 PM

jason, why is it that horses aren't trained the way they used to be--weekly workouts besides the daily gallops? I think that is why uncle mo didn't fire--wasn't fit enough. horses of yesterday ran more often-even secretariat did--as a two year old and as a three year old.thanks, anita

10 Apr 2011 9:01 PM

A lot of people were thinking the Derby winner was going to come out of the Wood, maybe he did. Not hearing much mention on here about Toby's Corner. He is one that looks like he will really like the Derby distance and got just what he needed yesterday a tough stretch run that really tested him. I think he deserves more credit and a few more folks on his near empty bandwagon.

10 Apr 2011 9:04 PM

hey jason, I was at aqueduct on saturday for the wood and I was disappointed with the way mo lost but not jumping out of the banwagon yet still believe he could win the derby but I was really impress with arthurs tail thatn with the winner.

10 Apr 2011 9:10 PM

I know it is not wise to compare times from different track, but in this case I actually think it does show just how much better Mo is than the default favorite, Dialed In. AQ hardly ever produces quick final splits. Mo, even being a short ran 12.8, roughly, for his final 8th. Dialed In, over Gulfstream, with a pace that set up the race perfectly for him, came home in 13.5.

10 Apr 2011 9:35 PM

Jason, I'm not jumping off the Mo bandwagon, I was just never on it.To me, he just doesn't have seemed to lived up to his 2yr. old form. But with his defeat, and the outcome of the last few preps, and the injuries, your right about the Derby picture being turned upside down. Right now, I kinda like MMM and Soldat( mulligan in Fl derby)on top of Dialed in( Ice box move), Shackledford, Pants on fire, animal kingdom, astrology ( depends on Ark), nehro.But, its still early, see how the training goes.

10 Apr 2011 9:36 PM

It looks like all the SERIOUS journalists have stopped with the Secretariat comparisons because it's just so patently ludicrous!  As for Mo, I've thought for a long time that he's probably a very good miler, & what is wrong with that?  A lot of great horses couldn't run a distance. The highest rated horse in the world, Black Caviar, is a sprinter.  I have a very bad feeling that, if they persist with running him in the KD, he's going to be embarrassed, & that would be a shame because he really is a nice horse.

10 Apr 2011 9:37 PM


10 Apr 2011 9:42 PM

I was never on the Mo bandwagon and this defeat came one race to soon as far as I am concerned..

Comparring UM to War Pass is spot on..

Dialed In is the Horse to beat right now, question is how wide will he be coming around the turn and can he make up that much ground?

Can we toss out Soldat after his 1st clunker in his career?

What about MMM loosing a shoe?

Either way I see a big payout this year..

10 Apr 2011 9:42 PM

I must say I agree with all your thoughts above concerning the Kentucky Derby. With the outcome of the upcoming Arkansas Derby the only prep result I will probably take into consideration, I am strongly

looking at Dialed in as the horse to beat. My problem is last night i had the strangest dream. It went back to a few years ago the week of the Belmont Stakes. In my dream Nick Zito had just entered Da Tara(an alw. type horse) in the race against the mighty Big Brown. He then began to constantly pray, go to church, light candles, say the rosary ect... ect... ect...He was literally driving God crazy. God told Nick time and time again that being not only unbiased but a big fan of horse racing he just couldn't let his horse win. Nick wouldn't take no for an answer and continued to pester God. Finally, in my dream God gave in and said ok Nick your horse can win the Belmont, but that's it! And there my dream ended and my problem begins. Did God mean no more Belmont Stakes wins for Nick, or did He mean Triple Crown Races in general? What do you think? By the way in case you were wondering, in my dream God was an older, well-dressed white haired gentleman.....no never mind, that's Bob Baffert. I sometimes get them mixed up.It's easy to do you know!!!

P.S. Posted this on Mr. Watchmaker's blog on DRF.I thought I'd post it here also as I feel any information pertaining to the Derby is valuable this time of year.

10 Apr 2011 9:48 PM

Jason or whoever I am the original Johnny on this blog the new guy blogging under Johnny post at 9:36 please make it so others know who is who.

I have built some realationships on this blog and do not want people to confuse us.

TY in advance.

10 Apr 2011 9:50 PM
The Bid

Well I sure 'am not one of those who's feeling sorry for myself despite the LOSS in The Wood! No excuses...After watching the race over several times Mo did not seem tired like some have said, I feel he was completely UN-INTERESTED...Watching him after the turn it looked as if MO was just getting in his work and could care less who passed him! We all know he has an extra gear...It seemed to me that MO knew he didn't need the race as much as he needed the work...I know how it sounds but besides catching a quarter, he just seemed as if HE KNEW he just needed to get in a work. If you watch closely when Toby and the other colt come up and evevtually pass him he seemed to be acting as if " he were in a work and not a race". Maybe working Mo in company was the result of this performance, WHO knows, all I know is THIS...EVERY colt on anyone's list has ONE race, Steve and Jason numerous times have made mention to "drawing a line thru a race", well here is the line Mo gets and deserves, AND NOW IT IS ON TO CHURCHILL!!!!!

10 Apr 2011 9:54 PM

"I still think he is the best 3-year-old in the country."

Jason, I know this is your opinion and you are entitled to it, but for me, there doesn't seem to be any evidence of that. I had my doubts before the Wood and the race hasn't reassured me in any way.

I wanted to be on the bandwagon but I couldn't. THIS YEAR, I haven't seen anything to make me feel confident that he has improved on his excellent 2yr old season. You say that Pletcher will remedy the situation in the next 4 weeks... I hope you're right.

Before the events of this week, I thought that MAYBE Premier Pegasus would fit the bill. Now, I don't know who's the best 3yr old. I may find out in the KD, but something tells me that I'll have to wait until the summer races to have a definite answer to that question.

10 Apr 2011 9:56 PM

I've never been on Mos bandwagon.  I agree that he was a short horse and think he'll be that again for The Derby.  

As per my previous comments...I'm sticking with Toby.  His sightseeing in prior races was a factor and I was real pleased Motion popped blinkers on him.

The Gotham and trying to close on that slow pace wasn't going to happen...but he did make up ground.  

As for his sneaking past horses to win The Wood...he was dead last at the far turn.  Made up ground to the top of the stretch but was behind a wall of horses including one that was backing up.  The jock stood up and almost clipped heels to get him a path.  Arthurs Tale had passed him on the outside before Toby got clear to run.

He didn't sneak...he ran them down.

This colt has tactical agility, a real nice turn of foot and a smooth ground eating stride. I don't believe he'll have any problem with another furlong or three more for that matter.

10 Apr 2011 9:57 PM

I'm not going to throw out the baby with the bath water, meaning Uncle Mo.  No, it wasn't his best race but you don't want it to be anyways, you want him to peak the first Saturday in May.

Was it a step forward in terms of conditioning and experience though?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  Time will tell.  Can't forget he has a win over the track which is a huge advantage.  

Dialed In's stock rose in Mo's defeat. He certainly looks to be going in the right direction and the distance won't be an issue.

The horse that I think could be a sneaky factor on Derby day is The Factor. And even though all of his front running speed  doesn't bode well for 10 furlongs the first Saturday in May, I like the way he keeps stretching out.  He has a naturally high cruising speed and an incredible stride.  I'm more excited about the upcoming Arkansas Derby than I've been about ANY of the preps this year.

But when it comes down to it, maybe the best 3 year olds this year are two fillies: R Heat Lightning and Joyful Victory?

10 Apr 2011 9:59 PM

Paula- I think they should back off of him and regroup.  He can be ready for the Met Mile and they can plan a campaign for the Summer pointing for the Travers to see if he can go 10 furlongs.

10 Apr 2011 10:15 PM
Spend A Buck

Uncle Mo; I knew Secretariat.

Secretariat was a friend of mine.

Uncle Mo, you're no Secretariat.

10 Apr 2011 10:25 PM

To be the man you got to beat the man.I love the fact that Tobys Corner is getting no love today I will be salivating May 7th if this blog is any indication of the betting crowd on derby day keep that Uncle Mo bandwagon full. I would love to get more than 8 to 1 in Kentucky.

10 Apr 2011 10:25 PM

Given the apparent lack of fundation and fitness in Uncle Mo's Wood Memorial, I think it is highly unlikely Pletcher can train them into Mo in less than 4 weeks! Don't waste time trying to rationalizes Uncle Mo's shockingly poor performance. As Jeff Siegel stated Uncle Mo lost badly against a tepid field and he looked bad doing it! Don't throw away more money on Uncle Mo. Get yourself another KDerby horse so you are not disappointed again on Derby Day.  There are several worthy contenders in whom you can place more confidence than Uncle Mo!

10 Apr 2011 10:36 PM

But, Paula, I have been wrong before.  I've said my piece on this.  However it ends up i hope the horse comes out fine.  That is the only thing that matters.

10 Apr 2011 10:41 PM

Just because he lost doesn't mean anything. He's still a great horse despite this loss. I don't understand how people continue to say "the derby is now up for grabs." He's not out just yet. I have a lot of faith in this horse that he will come through. Watch and see.

10 Apr 2011 10:43 PM

Do they always "pull blood" from a horse days after a race.

In this case, what are they looking for or expecting to find out?

10 Apr 2011 10:47 PM

I think the only way UM will get 10F is if he is loose on the lead by at least 5, having said that, I don't mean he'll win.  He might hit the board if they let him go but with speedball The Factor going, I seriously doubt UM will even be in the lead.  TP has four weeks to put some stamina on him, maybe Jason can report as to how he's training.  

At this point, UM will not be in any of my tickets unless I hear he's doing great with long workouts.  If TP sticks with his 4, 5 furlong workouts, he'll finish up the track.  I've said in the other blog, Dialed In if he stays healthy and makes the gate, will be the 2011 KD winner.  I'm going to put Nehro and Soldat and Jaycito (if he makes it) and a few "unknown" longshots for my exotics.

I know it's early but here's my early picks :

Arkansas Derby : Nehro Archx3 / Nehro, Archx3, JP's Gusto, The Factor / Nehro, Archx3, JP's Gusto, The Factor

I don't see much any contenders other than those 4, hopefully I'm right lol.

Bluegrass : Wilkinson, QPK / Wilkinson, QPK, Data Link, Santiva / Wilkinson, QPK, Data Link, Santiva

Again, I don't expect the Bluegrass winner to make any impact in the Derby but you never know.

It's funny how one race can humble anyone after proclaiming their horses TC winner wayyyy before they even run a race. LOL.  Someone's being vewy vewy quiet now....

10 Apr 2011 10:50 PM

Took my wife and two kids (2.5 yrs and 3 months)out to the Big A yesterday to see the million $ Wood and Big Mo.  We saw a tired horse down the lane, getting passed by some up in comers.  I'm pretty sure he will still be the fav come post time in the Ky Derby despite the L, which will help the boost the odds on the other runners, and I don't expect him to fare much better come the first Saturday in May.  PS: on a separate note, Aqueduct is a joke, although only 12,000 showed up it was a sardine can of humanity, with people climbing over each other to get their bets in, fist fights on the hot dog line.  They need to open up the rest of the grandstand to give folks some elbow room.

10 Apr 2011 10:54 PM


How much you lose on your LOCK for the OAKS today at Oaklawn?? You are without a doubt the worse horse player I ever seen!!! Joyful Victory made your filly look just plain common simple as that! Just let us know how much you burned up over the weekend between the WOOD and the FANTASY Stakes?? The big question is the way your going will you still have cash to bet Mo in the Derby cause you been crashing and buring all winter long! You can't fire with no bullets, lol. Good luck at the windows everyone...

10 Apr 2011 11:21 PM
Gary Max

Jason, I am tired of all the lame Mo excuses you expert writers are just desperate for a champion. Mo is at best a miler maybe they can shorten him up and look at Kings Bishop, True North, Forego and finally the Breeders Cup Sprint. I think that right up his alley.

10 Apr 2011 11:24 PM

UM:  First off I don't believe for a 2nd he was under trained.  They were running for 600,000 to the winner.  That is not chump change in horse racing.  Maybe something comes back from the blood work or a breathing problem.  For all those that still love him this is perfect for you.  Your going to get 4 to 1 on your bet now.  

If all comes back from blood work and all that would be good news.  Maybe they should just put Calvin on that would make him a winner from most peoples opinions in here.  Pletcher is no dummy, and I am sure they wanted to win that race bad.  Home town and all.  Horse racing is a funny game, nothing is a lock as we just saw.  I have a feeling he don't run in the Derby.  No reason just a feeling. In my opinion he is not going to be able to get the distance. I still think we are going to hear from UM just not on the TC.

The Factor further clouds the water this weekend when he gets beat.  Mkaes for an interesting Derby as far as pari-mutual goes.  Big Payoffs coming.

AAA Wins the next weekend and every horse will then have a kink in his armour.  

Nice Blog Jason.  

10 Apr 2011 11:26 PM

Arienza will win the Oaks.  There is no stopping her.

Draynay 05 Apr 2011 6:13 PM

There is the proof so everyone can see it to. Nice job once again DRAYNAY... looks like you will be pitching a shutout both big days at Churchill this year. I mean you would think after years of playing this game you would be able to notice class. I mean Arienza, really!! LOL

10 Apr 2011 11:30 PM


I'd like to get permission from you to place a bet with Dray for everyones sake in these blogs @ Bloodhorse If I may.   It would go something like this.  Dray can pick one of the top two finishers in next weekends Ark Derby.  The horse he picks from that race  would be my horse to outfinish his Uncle Mo in the Derby.  Should I win this bet, Dray would have to go away until the horses cross the finish line in the Belmont Stakes.  Should I lose, I'll send him $5.00 for his favorite charity. I'd like to make it more but I'm out of a job at this time.

Are you up to it Dray?  Fellow Ohioan.  Thanks Jason, I figure since I don't blog much it's the least I can do for most of your fans here!!   lol

10 Apr 2011 11:41 PM

Uncle Mo will finish last in the Derby like Quality Road did in the Classic.

10 Apr 2011 11:45 PM
Shelby's Best Pal

Mo's race wasn't that bad.  Everyone get a grip.

10 Apr 2011 11:50 PM

I've never thought UM would get the 1 1/4, but I certainly think 1 1/8 is within his scope. But, that horse never looked like a winner to me Saturday. He looked dull. I think the race is a toss.

The Derby picture is a mess as usual.

10 Apr 2011 11:53 PM

I think the core problem is we rush to judgment too soon. Uncle Mo (if I have it correctly) won four races and suddenly he was everyone's Main Man. He is only three years old, and a young three years old at that. Secretariat ran third in the Wood and then went on to take the Triple Crown. We're so desperate for another horse like him we expect too much too soon of today's youngsters. I suggest we all chill out a bit, relax, and see/if how Uncle Mo progresses.

10 Apr 2011 11:58 PM
Windy City

At least we have a little more room in his bandwagon :-) For whatever reason he didn't put his head down and didn't stretch his stride...I don't think he gave all he had, he didn't fire but he didn't seemed "spent". Hope he comes back and wins KD

11 Apr 2011 12:03 AM

Wow give the horse a break. There is no reason why Mo needed to win this race. He ran the distance and got tested. Better to be tested and learn from it then have to do it on derby day when it really counts. Its not like he placed last. Besides Toby is a better horse than people think and Motion has just been BSing, like oh I don't know what this horse can do. Besides Toby was ready they sent him to the Wood instead of the Ill. Derp. Toby is a very green horse still. He is learning and very curious and just wants to gawk at everything. I am sad that no one is giving the horse his due.  

11 Apr 2011 12:07 AM

I am not sure what to think about Uncle Mo. But this kind of reminds me of the 2003 Wood. Funny Cide lost that race but went on to win the Derby. So you can't always judge a horse by his last race.

11 Apr 2011 12:07 AM

I look at that the wood and I feel that his race was more on lack of fitness than being able to go a 1 1/8. He still only lost by a length to Toby and Arthur. The pluses for me is that he is going to churchill on April 18th. He will have workouts at Louisville prior to the derby. Toby's corner and soldat both sounded they will not have a workout at Churchill. Uncle Mo might have a kink in his armor but I do not think it is a big dent.

I think it will be a big payoff in the derby because there will be no odds on favorite.

11 Apr 2011 12:28 AM

I have been saying it all along. UM needed to be battle tested. If you look at his 2 year old campaign after winning his maiden he went right into the Gr.1 Champagne where he was on the lead being pressed the whole way going 22.41, 45.92 for the half and 110.47 for 3/4 finishing the mile in 1.3451.Hence setting him up perfectly for the BC Juv which he did not disappoint. Fast fwd to this year. Takes too much time off and then is entered in a ridiculous race at GP. Goes 25.53, 49.50 and 113.69 for the opening fraction's. Please tell me WHAT did he get out of that race. Answer ZERO!!! Now comes the Wood. Why he takes the lead I will never know. But he does carve out some legit split's. 23, 47.5 and 112 for 3/4 being pressed on the outside by Duca for most of the race. Granted I'm sure they would have liked to win the Wood but keep in mind at this stage of the game there sight's must be set for the 1st Sat in May!!  I believe that Mo needed this race more than people think. It's also an eye opener to Pletcher and Repole. It's pedal to the metal now as far as his training goes the rest of the way. His pedigree on his dam's side does suggest he can get the mile and a quarter. My main concern is whether or not he can rate behind horses. We know he loves CD.

11 Apr 2011 12:34 AM

The Factor just finished working out today at Santa Anita in 1:12.2 for six furlongs with the jockey holding him down.  The Factor "galloped" out a mile in 1:38.2 meaning he was striding along the last quarter in 26 seconds flat.

It was reported that Bob Baffert, whom just witnessed this display of speed, couldn't contain himself and had the biggest grin on his face.

I think someone heard him say ..."Oh my God."

The Factor - can we say the REAL TC winner?

11 Apr 2011 12:40 AM

Draynay/ Deacon,

I repeatedly cautioned you guys to be more measured in you submissions about Uncle Mo but to no avail. Sadly you have now left yourselves exposed for incoming fire without any form of cover. We are all passionate about our respective derby choices but we must never forget that they are as good as their last races.



I have noticed that Mr. Pletcher runs most of his horses in a Figure Eight. I have limited knowledge as to when this particular equipment is necessary but it can hardly be necessary for all his horses. One of the primary purposes for the F8 is to keep the horse's mouth closed or at least prevent a horse from evading the bit by opening the mouth too far. It can sometimes prevent the horse from putting its tongue over the bit and avoiding pressure in that manner. I cannot recall any derby winner that I have seen sporting a Figure Eight. Who am I question Mr. Pletcher’s program? It is interesting to note that Speedy Bob winner of nine TC races in 15 years does not use this equipment. In Europe this bit equipment is literally nonexistent. If its nonexistent in the capitol of rout racing, it therefore stands to reason that a mile and a quarter and a Figure Eight is not a good mix.

11 Apr 2011 12:49 AM

Funny thing is as bad the Wood looked for Uncle Mo I went back and watched the replay a couple times. It wasn't really all that bad. I mean he got tired no doubt but that is not the worse thing to happen to a TB. His beyer number went up so there are two ways at looking at this. I have never been one in the past to say GO GO Uncle Mo, but if your a numbers player he did improve number wise. Let's be honest Toby is not a piece of crap. I mean he in fact has only lost 2 times in his lifetime and when you look at him beyer wise he stacks up well with these 3 year olds. Once again no way would I have ever bet Uncle Mo in the Derby field but if you were to give me lets say 5-1 maybe little more because this defeat and his numbers did not go down they went up, I would put him on top of some Exactas and Tri's. I mean I am sitting here with a Ohio Valley head cold in Louisville KY thinking you know what the big EX play may be just like back when Empire Maker and Funny Cide. Box the Wood (MO and Toby) and get a nice payoff!! I also went back and looked at the past Wood results time wise and it was right there on what they usually run the race in. I mean he still came home in less then 13 seconds which is more then we can say for Dialed In... Just a thought. Maybe it is just the head cold talking but until all the preps are run I have no real favorite to win the roses. Good luck at the windows...

11 Apr 2011 12:52 AM

Quoting Mike Puder :

" Uncle Mo was not just undertrained but has not progressed as a 3 year old. He simply matured sooner than his competion at 2 and as a result he looked better than he really is coming into his 3 year old year."

I'm glad someone said, we've seen this before but I'm not going to say who she is...this is what I've been trying to say all along.  Let's see how he does with his 3 yr old first before crowning him TC winner or even KD winner.

I'm still wondering what people are basing their bet that UM will win the Derby.  The horses he beat last year and this year, none will be in the Derby or even in contention to be in the derby.  Can someone please edumacate me with some info as to why UM is still considered the top 3 yr old colt this season ? or why everyone was so high on him in the first place?

Gladiator : I've been looking for the Funny Cide this year, UM is not it.

Windy City : Todd himself said it, he was tired.  If you watch the race again, he was all out and John V was on him like there's no tomorrow.

Off topic : I bet the resort that bought the name rights to the race is busy with their lawyer trying to figure out how they can recoup the money they paid for the name.  I don't remember any article calling the race by its new name.  Everyone is still calling it the Wood Memorial lol.  I actually don't remember the new name at all...

11 Apr 2011 12:56 AM

There's an article on DRF about drawing blood work on UM but they're not doing it until Tuesday.  Now, I'm not that familiar with that stuff but shouldn't the blood work be taken closer to the race...like after the race ??  What would the bloodwork on Tuesday tell them if the horse was having or not having issues on Saturday ??  It doesn't make sense, can someone please explain that?  Weird.

11 Apr 2011 1:12 AM
Mike from Michigan

DO NOT disregard Soldat.  This horse has tons of class and while his pedigree does not suggest overwhelming stamina, I think he will win the Derby with Alan Garcia in the irons.

11 Apr 2011 2:01 AM

I was hoping for Mo to be just a little worse and finish off the board.  750k to show on him would have meant some juicy show payoffs.

11 Apr 2011 2:03 AM
Mike from Michigan

Did anyone see the interview with Baffert following the SA Derby?  Was it me or did Baffert seemed so shocked he didn't really know what to say??!!  That interview just struck me as odd.

11 Apr 2011 2:15 AM

Draynay : Where's your opinion about the race ??  Not even a single blip from you about how UM did.  Do you know anything about horses ?  Do you know how to handicap horses themselves ?  How's those wishes and dreams for a $9 DD hittin ya ??  LOL

11 Apr 2011 2:44 AM

I did not like what I saw the Wood from Uncle Mo. If he simply had an off day or needed the race, I do believe that he's the calibre of horse that can rebound with a bang. However, I'm in agreement with Footlick's asessment, consequently I'm off that bandwagon and firmly in Diale-In's camp.

Toby's Corner made quite a turnaround from his "slow-poke" Gotham run. He looks awefully dangerous for the first Saturday in May. The Derby is setting up  be a closer's paradise.

After touting "Mo" so strongly its very sad/humbling to be a defector but I hate not having confidence in my Derby horse. Mo's preparation, Wood Memorial flop (what a contrast to Esky last year) and the time left plus the distance question does not inspire confidence. Dialed-In is looking very very inspiring right now and that anticipated big stretch run, when he uncorks it, will be breathtaking.

I think that the graduates from the Arkansas Derby are going to enhance the pace scenario in the Derby if it turns out the way I see it right now, Saratoga Red chasing The Factor all the way around Oaklawn Park.

11 Apr 2011 2:57 AM

People,  if the quarter crack is not an excuse for Uncle Mo's third place finish, why is it even being mentioned?  Unfortunately, it looks like Uncle MO cannot get the classic distance.  It's a shame because Repole seems like a good guy and is a good ambassador for the sport.  I for one am looking forward to his next blog.  

Taking the family on a road trip for school vacation and the first stop is Pimlico!

11 Apr 2011 7:39 AM


They will pull blood a couple of days after a race from a horse that doesn't run the way the trainer was expecting.  It is done very often--you just don't read about it in the press.

They are looking for signs of illness in the white blood cell count.  Often a dull effort is the first sign of illness.  They wait a couple of days for the blood to sort of normalize after the race.  Pulling blood right after a race tells you nothing.

11 Apr 2011 7:45 AM
Fran Loszynski

The Derby field will look totally different on Derby Day. But the winner will be Elite Alex. It is true though- the day of the race dictates the winner. Weather, track conditions, how the horse feels etc. Just because Uncle Mo had a bad day doesn't mean he won't come in second the day of the Derby to Elite Alex.

11 Apr 2011 7:50 AM

I feel bad for Uncle Mo, he cant talk, he didnt create the hype that he was the best and next Secretariat. The media did. T.P is no racing hero and as others have stated his Derby record proves he cant train a good horse to get there. He is a numbers guy 100%!! Super Saver was a total fluke. You better get that lucky one day with all those horses.

Uncle Mo has issues that will come up later, T.P wont admit them, did he admit he did something wrong with Life at Ten? NO!!

There will be a Derby winner on the 1st Saturday in May and I highly doubt his name is Uncle Mo.....

Just stop the comparisons to Secretariat, Funny Cide, etc...Did they look that leg weary losing the Wood? Was their action off? Dont think so. Kid gloves for a reason folks!! Take the blinders off....

11 Apr 2011 8:03 AM
Matthew W

Sure liked what I saw from Baffert's horse Sat--Mdnight Interlude---He ran wide both turns then powered away over Comma Top The Top, which means he's battle-tested--to think, that was his first start v winners--big colt--good looking, too--has speed and stick--think Uncle Mo's still the one to beat--think Midnight Interlude is the horse to bet....

11 Apr 2011 8:13 AM

Jason, why no mention of Jaycito? I read through about half the comments but didn't see anything about him either. I know he has a bruise, but that is expected to heal, and he'll have another prep race, probably April 23rd. I was wondering if running him that close to the Derby is a good idea? I think he'll be a real contender though, even if he closes slowly, I think he may be a more grinder-style horse rather then a fast closer like Dialed In. I'd love to see Jaycito about mid-field instead of last in his prep. I think he has what it takes to be a real Derby contender. He's always been my pick, since his second race at two I've liked him.

Other then that, if The Factor can go the distance, he's faster then everyone. If he can do it, he'll run the other pace horses right off their feet, which may set the big race up well for closers.

My last pick is Shackleford. I've liked him for a while and he appears to be a gutsy, gutsy horse. And I like my longshots.

Uncle Mo? Never liked him. I think he was over-hyped, and though he may turn out to be a good sprinter/miler, his distance is over matched. On Saturday, I expected him to lose. And, no surprise, Toby's Corner was the horse that I thought would do the job. Still not a fan of Toby, though.

11 Apr 2011 8:42 AM

Qouting Todd Pletcher; "He did grab his quarter, about the size of a nickel...".

Herein lies the saga of Uncle Mo. As good as UM looked in the BC Juvenile, some of us horse nuts turned him into the size of a quarter, but when finally tested, it is revealed he is more the size of a nickel.  (Hey, Ted from LA, how do you like that metaphor?)

For me, UM is still in the mix but I have huge reservations he can get 10F at CD.

The ARK. Derby hopefully will shed more light on things but if The Factor shows he is distanced challenged, we are in for a wide open betting buffet line at the Derby.


I like your take on Toby's Corner.  I agree he is a live closer as is Dialed In.

Ted from LA:

Like you, I'm glad I'll be at CD early starting on the Monday before the Derby.  I'll be there early for workouts each day to see who is ready to blossom like the red tulips lining the winner's circle.

I'm getting this warm feeling, like a fever.  Maybe a few cool early mornings at the finish line at CD, watching beautiful horse flesh train, will help this fever.    

11 Apr 2011 8:43 AM
David A

I completely agree with you, Jason.  People forget so easily.  There's no doubt in my mind Uncle Mo would have gotten a mile and an eighth as a 2-year-old based on his BC performance.  So what's different now?  Yeah, I think he just had to be a short horse.  He also, it seems, forgot what it's like to be hit by the whip, as you can see in the head on he almost hits the rail when Velazquez cracked him right-handed a couple times.  The Timely Writer obviously took nothing out of him and I think if anything, he's going to be a lot fitter for the Derby.  This race can do him only good down the line.  Definitely not counting him out yet.

11 Apr 2011 8:44 AM

Jason, Nice column. You always provide a fair objective view and have once again. Was the Uncle Mo performance stunning - yes. Was it a total shock - no. Is it time to write off the Derby - no.

Although Mo would not have been my choice for the Derby, I certainly can't see why those that think he is the horse to beat would totally abondon him off the Wood. Although it was a lackluster performace, your observation that he was beaten a total of a length and a quarter is spot on. He was most definitly a short horse. The fact he did grab a quarter couldn't have helped either. It's possible that he truly does not want the distance but Pletchers' goal is and was the Derby not the stepping stone prep. Keep in mind the Wood was not Pletchers' choice but Mike Repoles'. The TW did little to put base under Mo and Pletchers short distance work tab leading into the Wood is the reason I feel the result was not a total shock. In fact, it was a much needed race stretching out. Should the blood work come back clean you can expect a much improve effort next out. Will that be enough - does he really have distance limitations - who knows. But one certainly does not write off a 2 year old champ, that a week ago was thought to tower over this 3 year old crop, off this race.  

11 Apr 2011 8:54 AM

May 7th will be a repeat of April 9th. Toby's Corner collars Uncle Mo at the 1/8th pole and takes the roses.

Eddie Castro is a good rider, IMO.

11 Apr 2011 9:03 AM
eight belles forever

Jotful Victory/Larry Jones what a gimmee that was. Any draynay who bet otherwise doesn't know anything about handicapping.

11 Apr 2011 9:10 AM

Can Mo win the Derby? Maybe. But for those of you thinking he's the next TC winner, get real.  No way an Indian Charlie is going to get 1 1/2  miles.  Period. From the beginning, Mo has been compared to the greats of our sport such as Slew and Secretariat, which in my opinion is ridiculous and totally unfounded, which will be proven in the next few months.

11 Apr 2011 9:13 AM
The Legend

I am a fan of Uncle Mo and have not given up on him. Please understand I am not any kind of "expert" but I am a follower of the sport. I bet against Uncle Mo on Saturday and was rewarded with a nice payoff on Toby's Corner and an excellent exacta! Seeing Uncle Mo's paid workout in the Timely Writer I knew he would be a short horse in the Wood. I think the connections were way to confident in this horses ability and fitness. I look for him to bounce back with an outstanding effort in the Derby over a track we know he likes.

11 Apr 2011 9:24 AM
Criminal Type

Never really have cared for Uncle Mo's chances in the derby and his third in the Wood did not surprise me at all. How many BC juvenile wiinners have come back to win the Derby ? One ! And in MY opinion, this horse is no Street Sense and Todd Pletcher is no Carl Nafsger.

The horses that do impress me recently are Dialed in, Tobys Corner and Animal Kingdom.  This is a wide open derby as of right now. The speed will burn out and the closers will battle to the wire..should be very exciting, but for right now, my moneys staying in my pocket.

11 Apr 2011 9:33 AM
Gary Max

Well said Lola. Go to the head of the class.

11 Apr 2011 9:35 AM

For what's left of you Mo fans take solace in the fact that T. Pletcher has a knack for getting his horses to rebound after defeat. R Heat Lightning is the latest example but going back to last year Devil May Care who went off at over 7/1 her race prior to the Derby made me some nice cash. I was fortunate enough to have Bluegrass Cat in my exactas in 2006, and Limehouse in my super in 2004 who both were Pletcher horses dismissed after weak showings in their last preps before the Derby. On the bright side the odds and payoffs including Uncle Mo will be much more enticing if you still believe in him.


Awhile back you had some nice things to say about Casper's Touch. Did you catch him in Friday's 8th at KEE?

nice exacta-     77.80

better tri-      408.40

super super-     5,090.00

I hit the tri 2 1/2 times and the .50 super. It pays to pay attention to the entries.

McPeek has Washington's Rules going on the turf at KEE Wednesday. What do you think of him on grass?

11 Apr 2011 9:37 AM
LouAnn Cingel of Union, Missouri

Uncle Mo has just as much of a chance to win the Kentucky Derby as any of the other horses that line up in that gate at Churchill Downs on derby day.  You really never know who is going to win until that moment. Nothing is a sure thing.  Good luck to all the horses that run in the Kentucky Derby!  May the best horse at that moment win!

11 Apr 2011 9:45 AM

Good observations Jason. Part of the problem this prep season is that we are expected to make evaluations of colts that are too lightly raced, hence every race another contender is being exposed. At the same time several contenders are off the trail because of injury so it's hard to be critical of trainers for taking the conservative approach that now seems to be in vogue.

11 Apr 2011 9:45 AM
El Kabong

All I can say is pay attention. We all know that these 3 year olds can peak and falter without any clues. I'm just hoping for a couple clues from these last big preps and the workouts in Louisville, but the excitement of a wide open derby betting opportunity is upon us as Jason has stated. This has me way more interested about the first Saturday in May than the opportunity to watch one great horse waltz his way around Louisville(2008) for comp roses. This is my kind of run for the roses. Let's enjoy it.


Pletcher is a great trainer and I was following Super Saver very closely last year as he was my choice early on, but I do not see the building blocks on Mo that Super Saver was given. True he did not need to win but he did need to show improvement when facing competition and some improvement in going further. I did not see either. For whatever reason, and that's what makes this still a hunch, I just do not think he is talented enough to overcome his lack of race training at this point. He's is out, NEXT!

11 Apr 2011 9:54 AM
Jason Shandler

Great score on Casper's Touch the wiz. I need a score like that! Not sure what to make of Washington Rules on turf but McPeek is off to a nice start so I would think he is going to run well.

Dont be surprised if the blood work on Mo comes back showing something abnormal. The horse is 100% physically sound despite the amateur vets we've heard from over the last 48 hours. Results will be out Wednesday and I'm betting they will help explain his dull performance.

11 Apr 2011 10:02 AM

Did anyone else think Mo looked a little dull in the post parade?  I thought his coat looked dull and he was very quiet. He didn't look like a horse on his A game - of course, these are my observations from watching on TVG.  I think he can still come back and run a big race in the KD.

11 Apr 2011 10:09 AM
Mike Relva


FYI just returned late last nite from flying to AZ. I met everyone @Hearts of T and can say without ANY doubt Judy and Mark are very honest,caring individuals who do great work and devotes alot of time caring for the horses'. You showed ZERO class making the statement that "you were sorry you donated". Dyna King looks very good and continues to improve. You slammed them from the beginning to end. Take it from someone who KNOWS,cause I actually got on a plane and went there and viewed everthing up close.....it's the real deal!

11 Apr 2011 10:10 AM
Jose E Gonzalez

Uncle Mo is an other Devil's Bag

11 Apr 2011 10:10 AM
Lisa g

Wow, lose one race, lose your fans that just loved you win your were winning....I have faith in the young Mo.  He had a small injury, which affects his running and I do believe that Todd should have had him run more this year.  Hopefully, this loss is not in vain, and Todd, once Uncle Mo is cleared by the doctor, get out there with Uncle Mo.  During the whole race Saturday, I did not see Uncle Mo fly, which he usually does..I think that was due to the quarter...

11 Apr 2011 10:13 AM


Do you know if blood was drawn after Stay Thirsty and Brethren's last races?  

Is King Congie still being pointed to the Bluegrass?  He has no posted works since March 16th.  

11 Apr 2011 10:19 AM

well,i've been saying with Mo's dosage profile he'd be a NO BET TO WIN for me in the derby,,but that don't mean he can't run 2ed..what's got me all fussed was the negative talk about Dialed In..

look at what he's done-broke his madien at churchill in a 6 and a half sprint

while having issues outta the gate and goes last to first in a breath taking sweeping move,,,right after that Mr. Zito plans out the derby trail,,,to flordia,,3 races then kentucky..that's really confidance from Nick,who really knows horses..

so things didn't go exactly as planned...awesome race in the 1 mile in the Holy Bull--great race..i don't wanna hear about..well the race set up perfect for him..let's remember this is Gulfstream Park..a extremly speed favoring track...

 Now this brings us to the allowance run...he races against OLDER horse's-has a bit of trouble,plus add to the fact that i belive his stablemate's jockey was actually supposed to be acting like a rabbit in the race did not

...then he goes in the Flordia Derby...look at it people it was not that fast..get NOT THAT FAST!!

and he closed and WON..ran the last quater in 24.96 by my figs...

and people are saying the Zito camp was avoiding Uncle Mo..come on it's the other way around,,,that Fla.Derby field was full ot top contenders...if your Mo what the heck are you afraid of???..so you have a colt down in Fla. all winter..and ship to New York..why??? i'll tell you why for the soft field and easy 60% of the million purse...but ya still gotta run the race...it was a good race

BUT it was kinda slow...i belive the Carter went 6 f in 1:08 and 2

the wood was 1:12:28...so those runners,although older very good runners,were 20 lenghts in front of the wood runners....so...what do you all have to say

i'll say this..if dialed in gets an good honest pace in the derby

and can make his move..in that traffice

jam of the derby he will be there at the top of the stretch whit a good shot to win it

11 Apr 2011 10:21 AM

Funny thing is I think Mo and Team Pletcher got the wake up call and workout they really needed and everyone was crying for. 4 weeks is long enough to recoup and get a little more wind. If the heel is not an issue, they can get some longer workouts in him, he may still flourish on one of his favorite tracks...can't write him off. I think the jock got too carried away out front again all the way. Will certainly make the Derby more interesting! Eager to see The Factor next weekend!

11 Apr 2011 10:31 AM

Uncle Mo was not eager to go into the gate this time, a behavior that often means that individual is not ready to run for whatever reason. Maybe that's why he grabbed the quarter. He certainly didn't have the movement he had in his previous races. Condition is probably part of it, i.e. foundation, but I think there is something else.

11 Apr 2011 10:33 AM

I agree with Lucy....Arthur's Tale is a beautifully bred horse and my Derby choice....if we can get Darley to enter him !

11 Apr 2011 10:34 AM

I agree with Stevebiscut, Secretariat lost the Wood with an abcess, temp, and there were stakes winners in his race. Mo lost to an ungraded field.  Plecher has done him no favors by not battle testing him sooner and giving him much needed experience.  It amazes me that everyone thinks this trainer is the second coming!

11 Apr 2011 10:36 AM

Mo was babied in his opening race.  This loss will cause his trainer to step it up a bit as soon as that hoof is ready to run on.  I kind of like the rats jumping ship.  His price will be better on Derby day.  I also like the fact that The Factor has a ton of detractors.  Again, good price.  Keep piling on Dialed In.  Just makes my bets tastier.

11 Apr 2011 10:36 AM
bite reality

not a big fan of two race stradegy but if that is your plan,run him hard--street sense ran against any given saturday in tampa and went to the blue grass that turned into a calvary charge thru the stretch-he was battle tested and ready for the derby--you don't do it this way-live and learn

11 Apr 2011 10:40 AM
Criminal Type

I dont think Uncle Mo got worse, I think everyone else got better and Mo stayed the same. It happens. In fact, it happens a lot. Sadly, Ton's of highly successful two year old's from past years have not carried their two yr old form into their three year old seasons. Would I keep Uncle Mo on my ticket? Yes, but only as part of a trifacta or superfacta wager. Would I bet him straight up to win....not likely.

Someone said something about a Quarter Crack....Uncle Mo does not have a quarter crack. Grabbing a quarter is not the same as a quarter crack. Basically, Uncle Mo tore nickle size chuck of meat out of his front heel when he overreached with his rear hoof. Revisit Big Brown if your interested in Quarter cracks he had enough of them, as well as grabbing his quarter on, I think 2 occasions.

These are just one of the reasons these horses are not campaigned like they were in years gone by...Tender Feet.

11 Apr 2011 10:41 AM

u guys who think MO was some sort of over hyped superhorse obviously did not look a the will pay prices on the Derby Futures did ya..Sure he was the favorite (somebody has to be the favorite) but even after the large bet takeout he was better than 3-1...this was not some overhyped horse by the actual punters..he was a horse well thought of by many and bet in the futures about right compared to others.

11 Apr 2011 10:46 AM

Its not the end of the world because Uncle Mo lost. Even Secretariat lost the wood b4 he swept the triple crown. I just credit the lost to lack of season. They really need to stop babying these horses. I think he might be able to get the distance, people tend to forget that if you look at Uncle Mo's pedigree, you will find In Excess, sire of Indian Charlie. Remember In Excess won the 1991 Surburban at the derby distance in 1:58 4/5 and also won that year's Met Mile and Woodward in good time so I think he will be fine.

11 Apr 2011 10:50 AM

 What about Midnight Interlude? He ran just as fast as First Dude,a 4 yr old, ran 2 races prior to the SA Dery, despite being wide on both turns and shyng from Comma to the Top in deep stretch.

11 Apr 2011 10:50 AM

Did anyone win on the lead at Aqu on Saturday?  I thought it was a strong closer's bias.  The smartest rides of the day were on JJ's Lucky Train and Morning Line, both horses that are typically involved early that dropped back and got last run.  I would really watch Apriority, Sunrise Smarty, and Vengeful Wildcat in their next races.  Oh yeah, and Uncle Mo ran against the bias too which probably cost him the race.  On the other hand, even if he won, it probably isn't the performance we expected.  Nevertheless, he's probably one of say 4-5 horses actually fast enough to win if there isn't a total meltdown.  I bet horses in the derby that have run 100+ Beyers and "winning" races at 9f.  Works almost every year.  To me, Mo's Wood reminds me less of Big Red's 3rd in the Wood and more of Street Sense's 3rd in the Blue Grass.  Not the best race in the world, but he ran a "winning" race when considering the bias.  Not many other qualifiers in here including likely fave Dialed In who may well be fast enough, but hasn't proved it with only 3 lifetime starts.  My play will probably be Soldat if he gets a middle to outside post (same for Mo).  The Factor can join the club with a strong AK Derby.  The Afleet Alex colts will have to jump up big time to break 100, but I think (hope) they have that ability.

11 Apr 2011 10:54 AM


I'm inclined to agree with you.  Mo looked way too docile and there was no fight, no fire in his eyes.  Even in the TW when he was challenged at the top of the stretch there was a little of that I'm the Boss attitude and he pulled away and he was running well past the wire, like he was actually running a 9F race.  The blood work could tell us something, hopefully, not something we don't want to know, but maybe give more of a logical explanation.

Mo is the two year old champ.  He has displayed his dominance in every race.  A horse like that might get beaten occasionally to a horse that steps up, but not two horses, and not with their credentials.

11 Apr 2011 11:01 AM

I'm not surprised by the loss of Mo.  He only had one race in six months to prepare for this race.  He'll have two going into the Derby.  I just can't believe that's enough.  He could very well rebound off of this effort.  I just hope he is well.  Premier Pegasus was a huge loss for the TC.  Really too bad.  I hope the rest stay healthy for the year.

11 Apr 2011 11:04 AM

Even though some feel that he ran to his pedigree on Saturday, I don’t believe that was the case, I think as many have mentioned they need to take the kid gloves off and train the horse like he needs to be trained. You can’t make the assumption that he can’t get this distance or that distance when there is no indication at all that he was considered dead fit for the race, and for those that feel it’s a distance limitation, that’s unfortunate, because that’s just not the case, and it would seem there is a lack of fundamental understanding of Horse Racing.  If he had been brought into this race with bullet works and impressive times in the morning then there would be need to panic for his fans & the connections, but his times have been average at best in the morning.  He has no bottom due to these sprinter works and that makes me think back to the mistakes many make bringing a horse along slowly due to 2 year old form.  Unfortunately that form if only given 30 days off during the winter is no longer a factor.  Ask Larry Jones about the mistake he made with Old Fashioned, in thinking that his two year old foundation and form would allow him to train him lightly leading up to the Arkansas and Kentucky Derbies.  No stiff 6f foundation breezes, same as MO, no bullet works that give indication of fitness, Same as MO.  Going 8, 8.5 & 9 panels having to dig deep to compete in these races when they should have been cake walks, OF in the Ar Derby ended up breaking a knee.

11 Apr 2011 11:07 AM

The connections should be lucky that MO wrapped up on himself and strolled home instead of trying to lay his body down at the end to get to the wire.  Its amazing to see eclipse award winning trainers make mistakes of this nature – add to that the blinkers experiment with my Fav, Stay Thirsty and well Pletcher should be unemployed at this point 5th and 3rd place with two top class horses in $1million preps. That’s 1.2 Million missing from Repole’s wallet due to the trainer.  It doesn’t bode well for movement going forward.  But, there is absolutely no reason to panic, you continue to go about your daily activities and watch for signs that he wants to move forward off the race.  A 6f work on the 17th, the time he should be looking for is 1:13 flat, a 6f work on the 24th, time he should be looking for is 1:11.60, then on May 1st, a 5f breeze in :59 flat. This is what Pletcher needs to see from his horse, each of these works should be breezing, not handily.  As a fan and handicapper if I don’t see some sort of progression of this nature, I don’t feel that he will be anywhere close in the Derby at the finish line. Unfortunate but true, yes he loves the track but its still the most difficult race he’s going to run in his career, coming off of losing the least competitive race of his career.  I will be looking, and if I see 4f, 5f, and 4f works going into the derby, well I for one will be looking else where. He’s a very nice horse but sometimes the horse really can’t overcome an over confident trainer and amateur owner.

11 Apr 2011 11:07 AM

But I will say this, I wont be looking the way of Dialed In, and for those that are, well it seems that you would follow the blind anywhere in an attempt to find a good horse, unfortunately Dialed In is not the one.  Consider for a moment that Mo Struggled down the lane, switched leads and even ducked out once or twice and still finished in 12.80.  comparing that to the optional claimer type finish in 13.75 of Dialed in, are you serious. Dialed In would have made up no ground in this race, but I hope he goes to the post as an overwhelming fav, I want to see him at 3-1, because it wont be hard to beat him.  He would have finished 4th or 5th in the Wood, Im just saying.

11 Apr 2011 11:09 AM

Coldfacts- I believe Sea Hero ran with a figure 8.

11 Apr 2011 11:27 AM
El Kabong

This year's Derby will come down to foundation. Who has it? Who got the most out of their 2011 races and it's not just about the win. Looking back, and this is why I think Mo is not going to win let alone hit the board, Curlin had two wins in his lead up to the roses, but neither race challenged him. He won too easily against lesser horses and his foundation was not as battle tested as Street Sense, or Hard Spun for that matter. We all know Curlin emerged as the superior horse but this is about who is ready on the first Saturday in May and no example illustrates that point better to me than Curlin's loss. Street Sense had to fight hard in his two preps, like Super Saver did last year. Both got enough out of those races to build the edge that's needed in this very competitive race. It's not just about times or wins. We have to assess, and you have to wait for this, who ran against better competition, improved, and trained up best in Louisville. Stay tuned, as none of us has enough info yet to be accurate.

11 Apr 2011 11:27 AM

Jeremy- remember In Excess did that as an older horse, not as a 3 yr old.  Also, Secretariat did lose the Wood, but had better form before the Wood than Uncle Mo.

11 Apr 2011 11:30 AM
Donut Jimmy

Mike Repole is a class act, and Uncle Mo is a really nice horse. BUt I have never liked the chances of any Indian Charlie to even stay sound enough to make the Derby. I think the most important sentence in your article may well have been the last one "If he is healthy..."

If Pletcher has kept him together, and if he can get enough into him between now and the Derby without him falling apart, then he has a good chance to redeem himself.

I hope for Repole's sake that Mo comes back strong, and or Stay Thirsty is able to take up the slack.

11 Apr 2011 11:31 AM

Man some of you guys are as confusing as sitting in a corner of a round room..

What is wrong with SOLDAT?

1st clunker in his career.

Guys wrote of Dialed In then he won the Fl Derby.

Lets see what the Factor and Elite Alex in Blinkers does..

Downey Profile said the top two finishers in the Santa Anita were the first two horses that ran 12 second furlongs this season of preps..

Toby's Corner is he sneaky good? He has the dosage points.

Do You trust the synthetic to dirt angle?

MMM lost a shoe at the gate and finished 3rd by a length.

What if he won the LA Derby?

11 Apr 2011 11:39 AM
Top Turf Teddy

Jason, great take on the Wood, great piece.


11 Apr 2011 11:46 AM

Arthur's Tale. :-)

11 Apr 2011 11:54 AM

Before the Wood all I heard was how bad the field was.  Now all I hear is how good Toby's Corner is.  What a joke.  Toby's Corner will be middle pack on Derby Day. Churchill is not Aqueduct.

11 Apr 2011 12:04 PM

Jason - tend to agree with you on potential blood issue.  Mo just did not look right along the backstretch.  He just looked out of sorts.  At least that is what I'm thinking as we get more removed from the moment.

Have you asked Pletcher if he thinks Mo will get 10 furlongs?  I know he can't tell for sure but I would be interested in his response.  I know that amongst this bunch I still would not be surprised to see him win the Derby.

11 Apr 2011 12:04 PM
Billy's Empire

Trebloc, King Congie was supposed to work this morning at Keeneland.

Big Week ahead. We have the racing Festival at Oaklawn and the Keeneland meet is off to a great start. Quick bit of advice. Play the inside at Keeneland. Yesterday, the 1 horse was in every race, and if you bet 1,4,5 ex  box every race yesterday, you would of won $546.00.

11 Apr 2011 12:05 PM

Jason, this is 2011, not 2010. While brilliant in 2010, Uncle Mo has run two races this year with beyers in the low 90's. The field wasn't even supposed to finish within a furlong of Mo in the Wood. Mo was a short horse that wanted not part of the last 1/8 or a mile. What makes you think he will be able to make that up in four weeks, plus add enough conditioning to add another 1/8 of a mile. It is sad to say this, because I am a big fan of Uncle Mo, but he will not win the Kentucky Derby. TP has not given him the foundation to win a 1 1/4 mile race, and this kid gloves approach is pathetic. Uncle Mo could have given us a memorable triple crown season but now, nothing. How in the world do you expect to give a horse 2 prep races against cream puffs, and have him ready to run the 3 biggest races in his life all at distances further than he has ever run in his life? The curse of Todd Pletcher (TP) strikes again...

11 Apr 2011 12:06 PM

know wonder why arienza lost draynay put the horns on her lol

11 Apr 2011 12:29 PM

Please,please,please stop the comparisons of Secretariat to UM. UM is not even in the same universe.

11 Apr 2011 12:31 PM
FM from B.C.

One comment was Mo's connection was to over confident on him, that his training schedule was to easy could be right. but now that one done it well the next step to see. Making health diagnose on the horse over by just watching a horse from a distant is just foolish for must people to do.But one thing is sure Mo just grab something on his foot somewhere??  

11 Apr 2011 12:35 PM


I'm sure TP reports directly to you about UM's soundness. Nobody knows the exact story but TP,his assistant and the groom. The good ones always have something bugging them because they give their all everytime.

11 Apr 2011 12:42 PM
Old Timer

To all who are asking to stop the comparisons to Secretariat, I second that emotion. My God, Secretariat ran the Gotham mile in 1:33 and change. Sham, who beat him in the Wood (finishing second), then ran the second fastest Derby ever.  Uncle Mo fell back in the stretch of a race where the half was run in a slow 48 seconds. Even with an abscess, Secretariat clobbers Uncle Mo. Now stop the comparisons!

Anything can happen and if he enters the gate at CD, Mo certainly may win. That is why they call it horse racing. However Dray, you think you'll get 3 to 1? I'd say Mo will be 6 or 8 to 1 when the bell rings. Bottom line, folks, Indian Charlie's don't run a mile and a quarter.

11 Apr 2011 12:51 PM

I am the guy who stated that I really was not on the Uncle Mo bandwaggon,personally,his trainer is not so great, he is blessed with money owners, with expensive horses, and that's what is his mantra!he really should go and learn how to train race horses, and do not rely on his vitamins, to win for him..even Wayne D.Lucas was able to stalk Uncle Mo, and pressured him, personally if Uncle Mo goes in the Kentucky Derby, he probably will be off the board, even if he won at churchill Downs already, Uncle Mo just dont want to run past 1-16 miles, and when looked in his eye, he will fold like past Saturday, he cannot reverse this form now, this is new style..bye Uncle Mo...

11 Apr 2011 12:51 PM

People tend to forget that if you look at Uncle Mo's pedigree, you will find In Excess, sire of Indian Charlie. Remember In Excess won the 1991 Surburban at the derby distance in 1:58 4/5

Jeremy 11 Apr 2011 10:50 AM

In Excess, foaled Apr08 1987 in Ireland. Suburban H., July 4, 1991.

At the time of the Suburban (1991), how old would that have made him??

11 Apr 2011 12:59 PM
About Guy

Dray is a whacko. Please get off of UNCLE MO, becaue he is dong just what I hoped he would do, in the way I wanted so I could play him on the first Saturday in May.

Uncle Mo/Dialed In

11 Apr 2011 1:03 PM

Did someone say something about being inspired by Dialed In's 13.75 closing 1/8th mile fraction in the Florida Derby.  He wouldnt win the Kentucky Oaks with that time, less known the Derby.  Some people have to wake up and smell the allowance horse they are backing.

11 Apr 2011 1:20 PM

This derby is beginning to look alot like 2002 when nobody thought War Emblem could win up front/  The Factor could do exactly the same thing because the other speed in the Derby is cheap, really cheap.   Nobody thinks he can go a mile and a quarter and Baffert is doing a great convincing job.  I think he steals it.

11 Apr 2011 1:21 PM

Mike Relva,

What is your problem?  This blog is about the Kentucky Derby, not about rescues and whether or not they make wise use of donated monies.

11 Apr 2011 1:28 PM

Here is a good Question, Does anyone have thoughts on comparing what a decent horse in Toby’s corner closing into the pace he did in the wood in 11.97 looks like compared to Dialed in closing in 13.75. Or Author’s Tale closing in 12.12, or even Uncle Mo closing in 12.88

11 Apr 2011 1:34 PM
Ted from LA

Midnight Interlude was impressive with a less than smooth trip.  Another to keep an eye on...

11 Apr 2011 1:35 PM
Soldier Course

Who's Borel riding? This is going to be one boring Derby, worse than last year.

11 Apr 2011 1:37 PM
Carlos in Cali

I don't believe Uncle Mo was short,Pletcher & Co. were fully expecting him to win.By all accounts he was training lights-out and Pletcher said he was back to his 2yo form.He ran his race,evidence by the wide-gap to the 4th place finisher,it's just that he got caught by 2 horses who are legit routers begging for 10f.Pletcher can tighten the screws all he wants,but the fact is Uncle Mo wants no part of 1 1/4...he's a speedy Indian Charlie.The fruit doesn't fall to far from the tree.

Uncle Mo is the new Quality Road.

11 Apr 2011 1:38 PM


Plusses for MO---the aftermath

-A LITTLE SHORT ala Turner’s plan for winning TC Seattle Slew gone wrong because Mo isn’t SS. I think he will be as good as he can for Derby.

A BIG WIN around two turns at Churchill- this is his biggest plus

CLOSER’S TRACK, but I really hate that excuse---he really wasn’t good on Wood Day—period!

Now for some obvious ones—The competition-"Dialed In" must navigate through a madhouse maze of horses coming from the clouds---Other from him is there a truly good looking option with credentials other than "The Factor"—who-although he worked well from my view on my TV—he really didn’t look like he wanted any more distance at the end of his work—he was very willing to end it-Too willing in my eyes 1 ¼?

Who have really proven their selves a solid choice? None

OK my original pick wasn’t MO but I certainly didn’t think he was anything” but special” I had no knocks—he certainly looked that way from day one. Had he blown away the Wood field I probably would have conceded him to the best shot especially with my Premier Pegasus gone the way of many, on the road to first Saturday.  

I find myself moving "Dialed In" to the top. "Toby" to number two like the next-rapid improvement- the new player Baffert player Midnite to 3---and for the longshot player’s a real oddball for a shot Decisive Moment who I thought ran unbelievably well in Turfway—but that isn’t a breeding ground for Derby horses. If you want a bomb in exotics.

I’m off MO, like many, but I certainly haven’t removed him as a very possible winner or would be surprised if he came back and showed it was just an off day.

11 Apr 2011 1:40 PM

Uncle Mo's race wouldn't have been that bad if he hadn't been hyped to be a super horse. It was silly of people to do that after only 3 two-year-old races. He still has the potential to go on to win some big races, as do a lot of the others.

11 Apr 2011 1:55 PM
Bill B.

Didn't think Mo could get a mile and a quarter before the Wood and I certainly haven't changed my mind. Not surprised he lost the Wood either after that cushy little work out of a race put together just for him prior to the Wood. A horse needs to be in top condition to win these big ones & he certainly was not and has only his handlers to blame.  

11 Apr 2011 1:59 PM

Gotta give the nod to Tobys Corner over Dialed In as far as the closers for Kentucky goes.Assuming he doesn't bounce and fires which is always a question with every entry in that race.He is always more forwardly placed and seems to have several gears.Really respect Zito this time of year and I like Dialed In,just think he is more of a grinder than a horse that can re break 100 yards from the wire.

11 Apr 2011 2:31 PM

Now I understand why I get good odds on so many horses every Saturday.  Most of you have no idea how to handicap a race.

11 Apr 2011 2:37 PM

Uncle Mo definitely needed that race. He was bumping up to an extra 1/8th of a mile from his last race. In the Timely Writer he ran splits of 25 and 49 on the front end, in the Wood he went 23 and 47. Perhaps going ten lengths faster on the front end had something to do with his deep stretch meltdown. The bottom line is he was a short horse, and will now need to have the screws tightened all the way to give him a chance on Derby day. But let's give credit where credit is due. Toby's Corner, is a nice horse and remember his father Bellamy Road won the Wood by 17 1/2 lengths, equaling the track record. Trainer Graham Motion did a nice job getting this horse focused and ready for the Wood. Here's an interesting tidbit. Uncle Mo, Indian Winter, and Anthony's Cross all sired by Indian Charlie had a tough time with the mile and eighth distance last saturday. Comma to the Top by Bwana Charlie, grandsire IC, did the best of the four Indian Charlie Derby contenders, getting photo'd in the Santa Anita Derby in a final time of 1:48 and 2/5ths.      

11 Apr 2011 2:44 PM
Sarah from KCMO

Ok, what is it with this "exposed" nonsense? People who use that term act like the horse has a dark and dirty secret. My God people don't loose your faith, especially in an animal who has raced his heart out everytime for OUR ENTERTAINMENT. People are so unapprecitative. Makes me sick. One loss and people freak out.

11 Apr 2011 2:59 PM
Jason Shandler

Distance is not an issue with Mo. At least, that's what the connections believe from how he trains.

Mike M: Not Todd, the owner.

11 Apr 2011 3:11 PM
Jason Shandler

I love all of the people bashing Pletcher. Jealousy and foolishness gets you nowhere in life.

11 Apr 2011 3:13 PM

Please let Dialed In stay healthy and we may have a triple crown winner.  The othes do not impress.

11 Apr 2011 3:14 PM

I'm just buying it that Uncle Mo was short.  Something was amiss for him though, probably the sorry schedule he's been on in this prep season.

The pace was not enough for him to be gassed at the head of the stretch.  He's proven that he has much more speed and not separating down the lane is perplexing because the Timely Writer was run, along with his gallop out probably faster than The Wood.

If he has any competitive streak in him, he's not going to take this lying down.  I have a feeling that the CD setting is going to have him feeling pretty darn good on May 7 and he won't be as flat as he was this weekend.  I'm not sure he'll win but he's still a favorite.

Now's the time for Sway Away, Elite Alex, and Nehro to make a statement.  The Factor is a very tall order to get past though.

11 Apr 2011 3:15 PM

Jason- he said that about Quality Road also.  Not saying he can't get the distance, but he is suspect as far as his breeding is concerned.  The fact is you never know until they run it.  That is why I will reserve judgement on whether he can get the distance.  But the Derby will be a tough time to find out.

11 Apr 2011 3:18 PM


Do you really think the owner knows everything?

I'm not impressed.

11 Apr 2011 3:25 PM
Billy's Empire

So, the one thing that I think we will not see is a filly in the Derby, at least not R heat or Joyful Victory. Pletcher will not go against MO, and the reason Jones retired was partially due to the EIGHT BELLES fiasco and the scrutiny that followed, so I doubt we see them in the Derby, but the Oaks is going to be awesome.

Plum Pretty

R Heat


Joyful Victory



A Z Warrior

who did I forget?

11 Apr 2011 3:47 PM

afleetalexforever- aka dubby30.  Please revisit the equibase chart for the Fla Derby.  The last 8th was run in 13.69.  Dialed In was 3 and a half lengths back at the top of the stretch going wide, so there is no way he ran his last 8th as slowly as Shackelford.  It probably was 13 flat, which will still please you because you can still ridicule it, but it is faster than you are reporting.  Do you know how many works Dialed In had before the FL Derby?  Do you really think Mr Zito would have the horse cranked to run his "A" race?  He is not my pick for the Derby, by the way.  He could be, but I will wait and see how everything is shaping up the week of the Derby and go from there.  Do you always pick horses to have vendettas against?

11 Apr 2011 3:47 PM

you know i think arthurs tale will be a great example for darley on why you should keep some of your best 2/3yr olds here in america and not ship them over seas especially wit the new synthetic track.

11 Apr 2011 3:59 PM

If I were O'brien, I would definitely be bringing over Master of Hounds now. Godolphin are kicking themselves right now for not having any prospects.

11 Apr 2011 4:03 PM

Draynay.  Could not agree more.  The Wood was weak.  I looked and looked but could not find a graded stakes winner with the exception of Mo of course.  Mo hated Aqeduct and got caught by the Wood curse.  His blood work will show dehydration or something.  He should have stayed in Florida.  

11 Apr 2011 4:03 PM
Mike Relva


Please don't go there. You've bashed a certain trainer and allowed others to do the same without fail. Cause it's Pletcher you don't think people have the right. But you did as long as it was another trainer. You have it both ways and I'm right. Look,if you and many bashed the other one,PLETCHER IS FAIR GAME ALSO. Talk about objective!

11 Apr 2011 4:08 PM
Mike Relva


Wow! You don't wanna talk about it cause you know I'm right cause I've got the facts.

11 Apr 2011 4:10 PM
Mike Relva


As usual you don't know what your talking about! That's right run interference and cover for Mo's disappointing performance.

11 Apr 2011 4:12 PM

I see that Joyful Victory received an 83 Beyer speed figure in the Fantasy Stakes. It was nowhere near the 100 figure that R Heat Lightning receieved for her Gulfstream Oaks victory, but I would like to point out one thing. The Fantasy Stakes was one of only two route races run that day at Oaklawn Park, the other being a low-level claiming race. I imagine that it was very hard to come up with an accurate track variant on which to base the speed figures.

Therefore, I would judge Joyful Victory's performance more on the way she looked doing it rather than the speed figure that she earned. The 83 Beyer could very well be completely accurate, but I wouldn't put too much faith in it.


11 Apr 2011 4:20 PM

Pletcher's best 3 yr old in trianing is R Heat Lightning. She has been the most impressive and has the best numbers of the bunch. She ran a second faster than the boys in the FD, which the FD is pretty consistent with the other 3 yr old preps this year so far.

Don't be surprised to see her in the Derby, especially if Mo turns out to be a no show. Love Love Love Joyful Victory. She is ultra impressive to my eye. MS and LJ know a few things about having a special filly too.

11 Apr 2011 4:30 PM

Jason : The fact that not Todd, but the owner was the one that said distance is not an issue with Mo tells a lot about the horse.  Todd really believed QR can handle the 10F and he was wrong.  The fact that he's not said one word about MO going 10F is a big red flag to me.  

I would love it very much if UM still takes the money on derby day, I'll take my chances on the other horses.

Draynay : Let me guess, you won a bunch of races again??!?!?  HAHAHA, you're a joke, you can keep wishing and dreaming like that, it's perfectly normal for someone who hasn't picked a lick this year.

What happened to UM will win his next 4 races prior to the Wood??  Where's the smack talk about the rookies?  ROOKIE :)

11 Apr 2011 4:38 PM
Jason Shandler

He knows more than you do Mike M.

11 Apr 2011 4:40 PM
Jason Shandler

Has that 'other' trainer reached five wins this year yet? It's only April, so I guess he is right on schedule.

11 Apr 2011 4:42 PM

Tom Durkin had it exactly right with Uncle Mo when he said, "And it's the moment of truth for Uncle Mo, as they turn for home!" The truth is that Uncle Mo was a tired horse down the stretch, even after leading through a half in a comfortable 48 seconds (47.98, to be exact). When a couple of good horses applied some pressure on Uncle Mo, he folded up his tent. Now he's going to run another furlong and win?

I understand the sentiment behind wanting Uncle Mo to be more than he really is. But we've seen this before with some really good juveniles who just couldn't handle the Classic distances. The feeling here is that Uncle Mo is in that same category.

11 Apr 2011 4:46 PM
joe c.

I agree with Old Timer, Monica, and John way back:  Yesterday I went back to Bill Nack's Secretariat and the 73 Wood.  Big Red, sore lip and all, was raced and battle tested, not kept competition free in the barn weeks on end.  Oh for the days-and the trainers-when our champs and stars raced every couple of weeks, and were strong...and recognizable to the public, and were good p.r. for racing.

11 Apr 2011 4:51 PM
Matthew W

Thw Wood was way too weak for there to be any horse who was better than Uncle Mo--let alone two horses--the race is a toss out, just like Twirling Candy losing the Big Cap/Caracortado running a stinker Sat--horses don't always have their "A-game"--Uncle Mo gets a mulligan in my book--as for Baffert, he's holding a strong hand--Midnight Interlude was beautiful on Sat--he looked like a million bucks--then he won the million dollar race--considering it was his first start v winners, I think Midnight Interlude is turning the corner right before our eyes--he's the Kentucky Derby horse to beat/bet--and at 10-1 I'm using him on top....(along with Uncle Mo....)

11 Apr 2011 4:53 PM
Billy's Empire

Jason, Pletcher won more races at Breeders Cup than the other trainer has won since Breeders Cup.

11 Apr 2011 4:59 PM
It aint easy being good

Jason you always say the clock doesnt lie the final time for midnight interlude was very impressive and his stretch run was amazing he has to be top 3 right now!

11 Apr 2011 5:00 PM
Billy's Empire

I just want to see 1 of 3 horses make some noise on Saturday, Alternation, Sway Away, or Elite Alex. So much hype and talk, and no results... "Can I get a hot tub"

11 Apr 2011 5:01 PM

Im sad that Mo lost the Wood because I really liked the horse. Wasnt going to use him in the derby but loved the way he covers the ground. Uncle Mo is another example of a horse that hasnt improved from two to three. He ran his race and just isnt the same horse he was at two. He ran a 93 in his first race and probably got a 91 or something like that in this race. An eigth of a mile farther and basically the same race. Lets hope that they find something in the bloodwork to show why this horse isnt the same. At two he was 10 lengths better than that.

Todd will not be able to fix that in 4 weeks along with going another 1/8 of a mile farther. Expect another 91 in the derby and that makes him 10 lengths back. Its hard to get a horse to the derby off of a bunch a 5 furlong works. At least this will get the people that want to use him a better price at the windows. I will be excited about all the value that people will get on the 6 or 8 horses that can get the distance that are probable really close talent wise. One of these years I look forward to getting 16 to 1 on the entire 20 horse field. Im sure that most betters will be just betting on everything this year.  

11 Apr 2011 5:09 PM

Jason, nicely written and well stated.  I am in total agreement with you, Mo's loss was a shock but not something so terrible that he cannot rebound from it.  I don't think grabbing the quarter did it.  Did anyone ever think that the horse just got off a plane 2 days prior to the race from Florida and had to re-acclamate to his surroundings, and win a race on top of it? That has to take something out of them.  I thought, as you did, that Toby's Corner would be a threat, buy never actually thinking it would really happen.  Poor Mo, probably wondered why he was not in the Winner's Circle!  I think Mo can rebound, he has enough talent and athleticism.  Mo gets another chance in my book, yes, it opens the Derby wide up now as a free-for-all, but I think he is still capable of doing it.  Every great runner has an off day and maybe Mo was just tired, he did get a respectable third, hey better than Soldat's last time out.

11 Apr 2011 5:13 PM

Pletcher came from the loins of the D. Wayne Lukas racing operation.

What was "the theory" behind the Lukas racing operation?

Answer: Kill 'em with numbers.

D. Wayne Lukas was the first racing operatinn that worked on the premise of the "Walmart Theory". The more clientele...the more horses, the more horses...the more your racing operating is exposed, the more your racing operation is exposed...the better chance of receiving better horseflesh, the better the horsflesh and clientele...the better chance you have of winning graded events.

Lukas was so large at one time, he was a an empire.

D. Wayne Lukas outright "performed" on the world stage. The problem is: Todd Pletcher has had a hard time doing the same. He's turned out a lot nice runners, but Pletcher just cannot churn the "big wins" like Lukas could. Sure Pletcher has a large racing operation and has won a few triple crown events, etc, but he's no D. Wayne Lukas when you compare their resume's sid-by-side.

Todd underperforms "most of the time". At least he finally won a Kentucky Derby last year.

D. Wayne Lukas was doing something unheard of. I don't see Pletcher doing the same.

11 Apr 2011 5:19 PM
Jason Shandler

It Ain't Easy: The clock doesnt lie--except at Santa Anita Speedway. Times have been so far off this meet its not even worth looking at.

Midnight Interlude will be my first toss on May 7. He just broke his maiden on March 20 people. With the two scratches, the SA Derby was an allowance race. Wake up!!!

11 Apr 2011 5:20 PM

Pletcher came from the loins of the D. Wayne Lukas racing operation.

What was "the theory" behind the Lukas racing operation?

Answer: Kill 'em with numbers.

D. Wayne Lukas was the first racing operatinn that worked on the premise of the "Walmart Theory". The more clientele...the more horses, the more horses...the more your racing operating is exposed, the more your racing operation is exposed...the better chance of receiving better horseflesh, the better the horsflesh and clientele...the better chance you have of winning graded events.

Lukas was so large at one time, he was an empire.

D. Wayne Lukas outright "performed" on the world stage. The problem is: Todd Pletcher has had a hard time doing the same. He's turned out a lot nice runners, but Pletcher just cannot churn the "big wins" like Lukas could. Sure Pletcher has a large racing operation and has won a few triple crown events, etc, but he's no D. Wayne Lukas when you compare their resume's side-by-side.

Todd underperforms "most of the time". At least he finally won a Kentucky Derby last year.

D. Wayne Lukas was doing something unheard of. I don't see Pletcher doing the same.

11 Apr 2011 5:21 PM
Jason Shandler

Congrats Wes: You win the award for most ridiculous blog of the month. Where should I start? How about with the notion that he can't win the big one? Better check his graded stakes and grade I wins over the past 10 years. You must have been sleeping in last year's Derby and BC too. I laugh everytime people like you play against him on major weekends. Two weekends ago at Gulfstream was a prime example. Thanks in advance for your donations.

11 Apr 2011 5:24 PM
Craig Thompson


If I had to compare anyone with D. Wayne Lukas, it would have to be Baffert, except baffert doesn't have a very large stable.

11 Apr 2011 5:30 PM

The big races in North America: Triple Crown and the Breeders Cup

How many times has he tried and how many has he won. What is his percentage rate?

Simply put, Pletcher is not on course to break the records D. Wayne Lukas out on in the 80 and ealy 90's.

11 Apr 2011 5:34 PM
Matthew W

Disagree that Santa Anita Derby was an allowance race--several stakes winners in the field, soft pace for Comma--he's a solid horse--that maiden breaker looked awesome before the race--go ahead and toss him--he better bounce or else you're tossing the best horse now--and only getting better--by far the best prep of the weekend--Midnight Interlude has the look of a major Triple Crown player to me--in a weak year he just stepped up--way up....

11 Apr 2011 5:38 PM

Jayjay, I don't have to lie my life is interesting enough.  I was on fire Saturday at Tampa.  I posted some of my tickets on my facebook page.  And yes I posted my 300 dollar DD loss on UM.  I still can't believe I got 2 to 1 on Morning Line.

11 Apr 2011 5:39 PM
Mike Relva


Knew I could count on you to back up Jason,Pletcher. Get back to me after the Derby is over. I'm giving Mo a pass for the Woodward,cause of qtr problem, maybe even worse. But,that doesn't change the fact I've stated for months Mo won't win the Derby. I want him healthy and drawing a decent post,cause DON'T WANT ANY EXCUSES WHEN HE DOESN'T WIN!

11 Apr 2011 5:39 PM
Johnny C

D. Wayne Lukas, Steve Asmussen and Todd Pletcher work off the "Walmart Theory".

11 Apr 2011 5:40 PM

Reading some of these blogs are absolutely funny.  Here's the facts and then draw you own conclusions:

1.  Uncle Mo not only lost to an ungraded stakes winner whose best time for the mile was a shade under 1:39, but also finished behind a horse whose only win in eight starts was against maidens

2.  Uncle Mo is getting a blood sample taken to see if there is something the wrong with him

Conclusion:  One of two answers are correct...

1.  Uncle Mo really was sick and everyone can throw out the Wood

2.  Uncle Mo  was overhyped  and really cannot win at longer distances and was not trained up to capacity

I tend to think the most accurate answer is #2.

11 Apr 2011 5:42 PM

I agree with you Wes, the only difference between Todd Pletcher and D. Wayne Lukas is that Lukas is an actual horseman. There's a reason why Pletcher's only Derby winner turned out to be as big of a fluke as Mine That Bird. The best trainer in the nation has always been Bob Baffert. He is unmatched in his ability to get horses ready for the big races and he doesn't simply inherit all the best bred horses from all the top owners in the nation like Pletcher does. He has the best eye for talent in young horses. Only Baffert could have had Game On Dude ready to win the Big Cap and only Baffert could've turned a maiden winner like Midnight Interlude into a serious Kentucky Derby contender. Pletcher can't even get a loaded gun like Uncle Mo to go off in his hand.

Jason, were you laughing when we played against Pletcher in the Wood? I know I sure was!

11 Apr 2011 5:43 PM
Matthew W

Jason a word to the wise: Midnight Interlude won the Santa Anita Derby, after breaking his maiden in March--he had to run to beat Comma--he had to re-rally after he was impeeded in the stretch--after going wide both turns--he won the S A Derby after breaking his maiden cuz he could.....I don't see any other horse on the Derby trail who could do that--not right now....

11 Apr 2011 5:44 PM
It aint easy being good

Jason it is no secret you love the east coast horses when are you going to give some luv to the west coast horses especially for The Factor. He is a beast in the making he is in correct form and unlike mo he is smooth and has a trainer that knows how to win! THE FACTORS a BEAST!

11 Apr 2011 5:51 PM

Todd Pletcher is a good trainer with a huge number of good horses hence his win percentage.  He was a GREAT trainer when he was just starting because he showed he can actually train horses and pay attention to all of them, manageable stable unlike now where he has billions of horses to look after.  It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that some of those horses "he" trains are pretty much trained by his assistants.

It's impossible for him to pay attention to each horses, with only 24 hours in a day, if he did, he wouldn't have time to sleep, eat and spend time with his family.

So Jason, the fact that he has not won the Classic and has not won the Derby (except with Borel's help), it's quite reasonable that people questions his training methods.  I like Todd, but it doesn't mean I will bet all his horses.  UM is a prime example of me not betting all his horses.  I was right about UM's foundation, it showed in the Wood Memorial.  I still haven't seen any posts about why people were so high on him in the first place.  Being a fan of him is one thing, but betting on him to win the TC or even the KD is another.  UM is done with his preps, are you willing to put your money on him on May 7th ?  You did say, he is the top 3 yr old colt this year by far.  Or do you have any other excuse as far as not betting him even though he's the top 3 yr old ?

11 Apr 2011 5:53 PM
Joe Alva

the wiz:

I agree with you that Pletcher is scary good bringing horses off disappointing efforts.  I was fortunate enough to make real good money by not disregarding Bluegrass Cat in my Derby exotics in 2006.  However, those horses you mentioned -- Bluegrass Cat, Limehouse and Devil May Care all had very superior distance pedigrees to Mo's.  Pletcher is a top-notch trainer who should never be underrated and hrses can indeed outrun their pedigrees, but Mo getting the Derby distance continues to strike me as improbable.


Take whatever stand you will on how slow the final eigth of the Florida Derby was run by the winner, but to refer to Dialed In as an allowance horse is silly after he has already won two graded stakes races as a three year-old in Florida where the competition runs deeper than in any other circuit.  How many other three year olds other than The Factor can claim that?  I don't think so!

11 Apr 2011 5:56 PM

If the race were today, I would bet the following:

1) $20 win on Master of Hounds

2) $5 win on Astrology

3) $5 win on Santiva

People, do yourselves a big favor and don't bet too much on this Derby.........you'll be sorry!

11 Apr 2011 6:01 PM

This year reminds me of the year that Barbaro won the derby.

11 Apr 2011 6:05 PM

Pletcher has a ways to go to catch his mentor.  Lukas has won 4 Kentucky Derbys, 5 Preaknesses, and 4 Belmonts.  He also put a lot of races into horses like Lady's Secret or Winning Colors doing some things that I don't think will ever be done again.    

Pletcher also has a ways to go to catch Baffert.  Baffert has won 3 Kentucky Derbys, 5 Preaknesses, and 1 Belmont.  

If anyone beats the Lukas/Jim Fitzsimmons record of 13 Triple Crown races it will be Baffert.  

All 3 are well educated, I think Lukas has a master's degree, and have paid their dues in places like South Dakota or New Mexico, before hitting the big time. I think Pletcher also spent some time interning with Charlie Whittingham so he certainly did his homework and paid attention.  

To dismiss any of the 3 in a Triple Crown race would simply be foolish.  

11 Apr 2011 6:05 PM

Jason, I think Todd Pletcher is great too, he's one of my favorite trainers.  Look at the number of horses in his operation.  Ken Rudolph of TVG said it best this weekend, and I quote, "It's Todd Pletcher's world, we all just live in it!"

Now that says it all!

11 Apr 2011 6:14 PM

I've never been on the  Mo bandwagon and I've believed from day one his trainer and connections do not know how to properly prepare a horse for the Derby or Triple Crown (the only one he was really good with was Rags To Riches because she actually had a foundation under her but he can't seem to do that with the colts). Mo was given the easiest possible races where he wasn't challenged and it was easy for him. When they could have faced a tough spot in the Florida Derby, they chose to duck and run to NY.  Same with the Tampa Bay Derby.  His stablemate beat the runners that beat him Saturday. And Stay Thirsty couldn't handle the pressure in the Florida Derby, so that doesn't bode well either.

Mo doesn't run like a 10f horse, his low action indicates he's more a one turn 7f to 8f runner.

This crop is about as uninspiring a group as I've seen in the last 30 years. I foresee no Triple Crown winner this year but yet another series taken by three different horses. One thing is for sure about the Derby, you can bet that Super will be HUGE!!

11 Apr 2011 6:37 PM

Off and on topics

Lukas stable decline went hand in hand with his son Jeff getting hurt--then the other assts going on their own. He was a top quarter horse (like Baffert) before thoroughbreds and he got big by talent not just for horses but people. Honestly I believe Pletcher has done better--and he doesn't gut horses running against the best when there are big purses in easier company--my biggest knock on Lukas --he has broken the will and heart of really nice horses that could have make a million and a lot of wins instead of (2nd) 3rd and 4ths until they have no spirit/will to win left or break down trying. On the other hand he was a great success and credit is due no matter what the recent history shows.

Dray---good price???? What 8-5? Any chalk you don't like in the last number of years from an outsider looking in? Chalk is fine IF they win, but you have eaten enough chalk dust to line a highway from Belmont to Gulfstream.

I agree with Jason on the stupid knocking of TP--he's great trainer and must have fantastic help to be top on so many fronts.

BUT! On another front

Hmmmmm figures don't lie? Andrew Beyer and Watchmaker never pick anything but winners-Read Mike's Weekend Warrior in the DRForm is he about 10% or is that being kind? He is a huge speed figure guy. (Give him some props for not going Chalk) Andy %’s doesn't inspire either when I read his selections and then their results--hmmmmmmmm

Watching the way a horse goes or wins or is improving or peaking at the right time doesn't supersede time?--hmmmmmm (Example Monarchos or was he better than Point Given? PS don’t give me he was close to a fast pace Congaree held 3rd with a tougher trip)

I guess Funny Cide was just a better horse than Empire Maker or he didn't just peak for those 2 monster races. Proud Clarion over Damascus didn't it?????---That little race in KY go really really fast for the day? No Beyers then but probably 120 -- so--- it couldn't have been a horse peaking on a day or was Proud Clarion a hidden monster that just had a day when he was ready to try since he certainly wasn't quite up to

Damascus after that day? (Note I was there for that Derby--I'm an old fart)---hmmmmmmmmm

Interesting betting Derby --You can all be right until it runs---- even the chalkmaster.

11 Apr 2011 6:42 PM

Facts are facts,Pletcher is Lukas lite.He has managed to get the few available new money clients that will give 30 or 40 horses each.His horses generally don't run to their looks,odds,or price tag.This is a volume game pure and simple. It doesn't matter if your barn is at Saratoga or the. County Fair.You gotta have the horse flesh that's the end game.

11 Apr 2011 6:47 PM

" the SA Derby was an allowance race. Wake up!!! "

Just like the TW and the Wood Memorial...I bet MI finishes ahead of UM in the derby.

Jaycito is pretty much in the bubble as far as making the earnings.  There's 2 G1 prep races running next weekend and four will get in the Derby off of those two G1 races.  Jaycito is currently 17th, the good thing is, Zayat Stables have Nehro running in the Arkansas so they may actually still have a horse in the Derby.  Unless of course JP's Gusto and The Factor places 1st and 2nd then he's good to go.  I can then feel good about Jaycito running in the lexington as pretty much a tightener/workout.  

Anyone heard anything about how Soldat is doing ?  Is he good to go for the Derby ? Last I read, they're still deciding whether to go or not...

11 Apr 2011 6:58 PM

How can people be so huge on Dialed In and Soldat, and throw Mo to the garbage?

I mean, first, Soldat was totally destroyed in the Florida Derby and Mo was barely beaten by 1 lenght. If you think Soldat can rebound, using as an argument it was his first bad performance of his career, why is that argument not working for Mo?

Second, Mo ran just as fast, if not a little faster than Dialed In (who was all out in the Florida Derby), in the Timely Writer + his 1 furlong galop out after the wire, just having fun and galloping out. There's no reason that all the sudden, couple of week later, he can't run 9 furlongs again. He just wasn't interested in running last weekend, just not himself.

11 Apr 2011 7:03 PM
Jason Shandler

Stevebiscuit: Unlike you, I had the tri in the Wood. I posted it for you to use, but instead you waited for the race to be over so you could take pleasure in Mo's loss and tell everyone how overrated he is. You sound like a great handicapper. Step up and make a pick once a while and you might get some credibility.

11 Apr 2011 7:04 PM
Old Timer

Jason, nice summary and I am not going to diss Mr. Pletcher. For one thing he is indeed one of the best ever and certainly one of the most successful trainers of the decade. However one has to question the wisdom of this training up to races and not giving these young horses a solid foundation.

My thought on Uncle Mo is if he won the Wood, he would be 8 to 5 at CD. Now, with a 20 horse field, he may be 6 or even 8-1.

Your thoughts?

11 Apr 2011 7:05 PM
Jason Shandler

Matthew W: You are a good handicapper and a lot more knowledgeable than many on here. You are better than that. You know a horse that breaks his maiden on March 20 wont win the Derby. C'mon pal. I know its Baffert. He is the best, but even he cant get this horse to win the Derby.

11 Apr 2011 7:07 PM
Jason Shandler

Jayjay: What does win % have to do with the number of horses a trainer has? Math wasnt your strong suit Im guessing.

For the 1,000,000,000th time, I do not make final selections until entries are drawn--in any race. Getting through yet?

Yes, he is still the best 3YO. Yes, if he is healthy and training well at CD he will PROBABLY be my choice. No, I am not willing to make any wagers yet. Geez.

11 Apr 2011 7:10 PM

Jason : So which is it, on one post you say UM is the best 3 yr old and if the derby were to run today, you'd bet on him, that he's by far way ahead of the this year's crop.  On the other hand you're telling us you played him on a trifecta and put him on the 3rd spot in a race that was meant to be a cakewalk, where he was suppose to win by at least 10 lengths.  How was your handicapping angle in the Wood, the easiest of the prep races this year be the one where you put Mo to finish 3rd ?

I can understand you doing that in the Derby, but not in the Wood.  Something doesn't make sense with you when it comes to UM lol.

11 Apr 2011 7:11 PM

My top pick for the SA Derby was Mr. Commons yours (on THS, before the scratches) was Anthony's Cross. I guess we both liked the losers of an allowance race. :)

On the subject of Todd Pletcher, not everyone shares your opinion of him. Failing to appreciate the enormous talent of TP doesn't make one "jealous", "foolish" or "ridiculous".

11 Apr 2011 7:16 PM
Jason Shandler

Old Timer: If he is healthy and training well, I would say Mo would be third choice on the ML, assuming The Factor wins the AD. 6-1 sounds about right in that scenario.

Zookeeper: If you dont like a guy that is one thing. I can understand some people not liking Todd. Im fine with that. But to keep saying he is not a good trainer, he doesnt know how to prepare horses, he only wins because of the numbers of horses in his barn, and all the other nonsense does make you sound foolish. The numbers speak for themsleves.

Jayjay: It's callled boxing. You might want to tune in to the beginners webcast we are holding later this month. Might be helpful.

11 Apr 2011 7:22 PM

As much as I want to like Midnight Interlude, he has alot of upside and DID just win a million dollar race.... I agree with Jason.  No horse who just broke his maiden a start ago is going to win the Derby.

That said, I think you could throw darts at a board and come up with this years Derby winner in a field that is pure parity top to bottom.

And I don't remember who I saw on here that said Pletcher isn't winning the big ones but I almost fell off my chair because the guy has won pretty much everything under the sun (at least on this continent)the past 2-3 years. He has the number of horses he has because he's a great trainer, not the other way around.  

11 Apr 2011 7:30 PM
Jason Shandler

BTW, this is an excerpt from my "Three Sleepers to Watch" blog back in February. Scary foreshadowing...

When asked about the prospects of possibly facing Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial, assuming Toby's Corner runs well in the Gotham, Motion was refreshingly honest.

"Yes, it's crossed my mind," he said. "But if Uncle Mo (comes to the Wood), would that bother me? No. We've taken a bit of a conservative route with him so far, but we're not looking to duck anyone. At some point he is going to have to face some good horses to see if we belong."

11 Apr 2011 7:53 PM

Most "under the radar" horses at the moment:


2)Master of Hounds


4)Stay Thirsty (if he draws in)

All these horses have excellent bloodlines,can carry 126 lbs. and can run 1 1/4 miles!!!!!!!

11 Apr 2011 8:00 PM
Junie Wise, Rocky Road Farm,Rineyville,Ky

Now I know why Stay Thirsty is already at Churchill Downs.

He wants to keep all options open

It does make sense.I had a "Hunch" he might get beat,but all I did was watch the Race!!!!

We should know alot more after The factor runs Saturday.

I stll have a "Funny" Feeling about this Derby....I expect a very "BIG" Price this year.


Luck is when Preparation Meets Opportunity!!!!

11 Apr 2011 8:03 PM
Dave R.

Prime example of horses being under trained and coddled not performing up to their potential.

Good exampleis Shackelford who came back after a short period to almost win the FLA Derby at 70-1.

Trainers need to run their horses more against competive fields.  A race gives more condiutioning than a workout.  This is why all these unknown horses are winning the big races.  They have run and are in better shape to compete.  Derby earnings should be based more on 3yr old graded earnings which would force trainers/owners to run their best 2yr olds in the key preps rather than in "Timely Writer" type races.

11 Apr 2011 8:13 PM

It's not only the numbers... it's the great quantity of HIGH QUALITY horses he has in his barn that makes his percentages so impressive. To get to this point, he had to do something very right to begin with, I grant you that. Whether he's still doing it is a matter of opinion. Some people think that his reputation and his great percentages, plus the yearly earnings are simply contributing to the snowball effect.(The more good horses he has, the more he wins; the more he wins, the more good horses he gets.)

Anyway, it's OK for you to think otherwise, it doesn't make you a bad person... just a cranky one sometimes. :)  

11 Apr 2011 8:20 PM

Now I understand why I get good odds on so many horses every Saturday.  Most of you have no idea how to handicap a race.

Draynay 11 Apr 2011 2:37 PM

Now I'm really laughing because ALL OF YOUR DON'T KNOW HOW TO HANDICAP A RACE.

11 Apr 2011 8:25 PM

Todd Pletcher in a nutshell:

He wins lots of Grade I's, but he has a problem winning "the biggest" grade I's.

He has entered so many horses in the Breeders Cup and the Triple crown races and his winning percentage in these races is miserable.

He'll burn your money up if you bet him in the biggest North American Grade I events - a.k.a Breeders Cup and Triple Crown

11 Apr 2011 8:30 PM

Pletcher would of had a hard time winning last year's Derby, if Lookin at Lucky would of had any luck.

Looking at Lucky showed up at the Derby and a hockey game broke out.

Checked into the boards.

11 Apr 2011 8:39 PM
Jason Shandler

Great analysis T. Clancy. You should write a book.

11 Apr 2011 8:45 PM
Paula Higgins

I am with Jason, there may well be a reason Uncle Mo didn't do as well as expected. I am not ready to give up on him. I am just wondering if Pletcher can get him ready in time now. It's awful close.

11 Apr 2011 8:56 PM

I don't really care who the better trainer is/was, we were talking about Uncle Mo, then bashing two trainers, then Jason takes pot shots at West Coast horses again and Draynay dribbles more nonsense out of teh side of his mouth.  Mr Pletcher said he does not believe that Uncle Mo was short for the Wood.  That is troubling because even a race close to one of last years should have won this easily.  He has not even come close to his two year old top yet this year, let alone any of his two year old figures.  I will wait though for the results of the blood test and go from there.

11 Apr 2011 8:57 PM
Mike Relva

As JASON is aware of I've stated MO DESERVES A PASS! Don't have a problem of saying he's capable of running better. He wasn't himself.

11 Apr 2011 9:24 PM

Mike Relva,

The facts are that I, as a horseman, regret donating to a certain rescue.  Those are the facts.  There is nothing to talk about.  This is a Derby blog.  Get over yourself.

11 Apr 2011 9:33 PM

" For the 1,000,000,000th time, I do not make final selections until entries are drawn--in any race. Getting through yet? "

My bad, I thought you already predicted Misremembered as the 2011 BC Classic winner, confidently even.  I searched hard but couldn't find any entries yet for the 2011 BC Classic.  Here's the proof :

" $300 to win Carlos. After cashing that and collecting all the money from people on this blog, it was a beautiful Christmas for my family. I tried to tell you that you had the wrong side, but you didnt listen. Better luck next in 2011. I will give you the winner now: Misremembered. You're welcome.

jshandler 25 Mar 2011 2:39 PM "

11 Apr 2011 9:48 PM
Jason Shandler

True. Misremembered is still the best older horse in the country, by a lot.

While youre at it, see if you can find the blog comment where I picked Blame to win the BC Classic back in May, 2010. Pretty good huh?Had you listened to me you would have saved yourself $100. Then again, Jaxson wouldnt have those sweet Jordans!

Speaking of which, It Aint Easy: I got your check today. Thanks for your donation to the Jaxson Scholarship Fund. In fact, thanks to many of you bloggers, Jax is looking at a full ride to Harvard in 2026!

11 Apr 2011 9:57 PM

Just a quick fact for those of you (including Jason)saying Midnight Interlude CAN'T win the Derby because he just recently broke his maiden.  A certain Triple Crown winner BROKE his maiden IN the Derby! He is not my pick but it absolutely could happen! The blanket "factual" statements on here are getting ridiculous!

11 Apr 2011 10:03 PM

You missed the point again...geez.   My point is that you keep saying you don't make your picks until entries are drawn.  Can you please post the link where the entries for the 2011 Classic is listed.

With regards to Blame, no I don't believe such posts exists.  If I remember correctly, you were still on QR back in May, in fact, that was around the time I was posting how QR was a miler and you got bent out of shape.  If you can find that post though, I'm willing to say I was wrong but I don't remember you saying Blame was the Classic winner.  You were calling QR the "beast of the east" around that time.  You didn't jump to Blame's wagon for the Classic until late fall when you blogged about worrying that QR may not get the 10F and that he didn't have the foundation.  I distinctly remember that.

11 Apr 2011 10:04 PM
Jason Shandler

Racing Fan: Nothing like going back 90 years to prove your point. Well done.

Jayjay: Dont care what you believe. Thanks for the $, once again.

11 Apr 2011 10:07 PM

The winner of the Santa Anita is a total TOSS.  Has been for 20 years and nothing has changed.  No chance to win no chance at all.  If you are looking for a California horse to win the Derby you would have better luck hitting the Lotto.

11 Apr 2011 10:12 PM

Jason it is no secret you love the east coast horses when are you going to give some luv to the west coast horses.

It aint easy being good 11 Apr 2011 5:51 PM

If you would check your facts, Jason's Kentucky Derby pick for last year was Lookin At Lucky from Bob Baffert's barn. Doesn't he train horses from the West Coast??  

11 Apr 2011 10:19 PM

Jason : Of course, you refuse to address my point LOL.

Yeah, that's news to me.  The feeling is very much mutual.  Never did actually.  Anyway, on to Arkansas and Bluegrass...

Read that article in The Downey about Elite Alex working with blinkers on and added some speed.  I've jumped off the Elite Alex wagon after the last race but I might just hop back on depending on how he looks on AD day.

11 Apr 2011 10:28 PM

Misremembered did run a great race at Oaklawn.  He lost but took the worst of the race and was still there at the finish.  

11 Apr 2011 10:28 PM
El Kabong

Dave R,

You are on the right trail. All of the KDerby Trail would be better served if the $$$ scale was bagged, rocked, and thrown in a river. A new scale of entry desperately needs to be created to save this event and force everyone to simply play the game and race. A point system based on a sliding scale, giving more points to a grade one win, etc,  and giving more points to 3 year old graded races than 2 year old graded races. This would solve so many problems and get us the best field for the derby. IT IS LONG OVERDUE and time for The Thoroughbred Industry to see that it is in their best interest from a breeding standpoint and a racing standpoint to adjust this ridiculous situation that is encouraging poor conditioning. One big $$ win(BCJC) and you're in! That is Crap! Make them work for it.  

11 Apr 2011 10:38 PM

When uncle mo looks the factor in the eye and many others trying for the lead he will be looking for some where to pull over when they hit the stretch. After those two soften each other up that's when dialed in will be rolling by everyone late and being geared down at the wire.....PACE MAKES THE RACE don't ever forget that when handicapping.....mo is a great horse but he cannot get the distance...his sire was geared down in the santa anita derby and he couldny do it either.....

11 Apr 2011 10:38 PM

There's a reason why Pletcher's only Derby winner turned out to be as big of a fluke as Mine That Bird.

stevebiscuit 11 Apr 2011 5:43 PM

Finding these type of horses is the challenge of the Derby, they might not be who you have as the best horse, but they may be the best that day, just have to find who out they happen to be.

11 Apr 2011 10:38 PM

I love reading this blog and getting everyone's opinion. (Thought I'd throw that out there.) Uncle Mo has not been my favorite to win the Derby for many reasons and I agree with many that have said he came up short for the Wood, just isn't suited for the longer distances, or there is something more going on. Yes, he's an excellent racehorse but his excellence has been overhyped to the point that there are those out there who were ready to crown him King of Racing before he ever set foot on the track for a race this year. Do not blame the horse for coming up short..blame his preparation.  Crowns are not handed out in the racing papers/blogs-- the horses have to prove themselves on the track. Many favorites have fallen off everyones lists due to one bad race, which unless you are Zenyatta happens to all good racehorses (even her). The Wood proved that Mo isn't invincible and clearly needed to build on his 2yr old season by being challenged and trained more agressively rather than resting on what he did last year thinking nobody else would catch up.

On a side note..about the blood testing. Not to bring up the whole Life at Ten fiasco, but was post-race blood testing a practice the Pletcher barn started doing after her BC race or has it been done all along? Just curious.  

11 Apr 2011 10:39 PM

After watching, and studying, it looks like it's anyone's race. So I will bet on my heartfelt favorite. Mucho Macho Man just worked faster than The Factor. Wish Calvin could ride him, lol.

11 Apr 2011 10:41 PM

It's May 7th,the race has just started....The Factor has reached the 1/2 in :47 1/5.....he's in front by almost 3 lengths.......in the second tier we have Uncle Mo, Astrology and Soldat. OK everybody.......what happens next?

11 Apr 2011 10:43 PM


Are you referring to Triple Crown winner Sir Barton who made six starts as a 2YR, winning none? Who made his seasonal debut as a maiden in the Kentucky Derby and was supposed to be the rabbit for his highly regarded stalemate Billy Kelly; who led the field of 12 horses from start to finish winning by five lengths; who four days later went to Baltimore and won the Preakness Stakes?

Midnight Interlude’s task is far less challenging. At least he has two victories going into the derby and he will not be making his seasonal debut in the great race.

11 Apr 2011 10:49 PM
Mike Relva


Harvard is overrated. lol

11 Apr 2011 10:54 PM
I Have My Contacts

My "Peeps" tell me King Congie will be awfully tough this weekend.

11 Apr 2011 10:56 PM
Mike Relva


You were the one wrong about Hearts. Why don't you get on a plane like I did and fly there and take a tour instead of making absurd remarks about something you had zero knowledge about? As for "getting over myself",YOU FIRST!

11 Apr 2011 10:57 PM


"Yes, it's crossed my mind," he said. "But if Uncle Mo (comes to the Wood), would that bother me? No. We've taken a bit of a conservative route with him so far, but we're not looking to duck anyone. At some point he is going to have to face some good horses to see if we belong."

Mr. Motion’s statement above was followed by the one below:

“Realistically, I’d like to run him in the Illinois Derby because I think that’s a race he can win. And I have no desire to run against Uncle Mo”

Below are some comments I submitted regarding his lack of desire to run against Uncle Mo:

I was enjoying the story about Graham Motion until I got the part where he said “And I have no desire to run against Uncle Mo”  Why must trainer make those type of comments that make them sound silly? He is deliberating options to secure graded earning to run in the derby where Uncle Mo will start as the favorite. By extension he should have no desire to run against Uncle Mo in the derby as well. Does he expect a different Uncle Mo on the 1st Saturday in May? If I were an owner thinking of using the services of Mr. Motion, his aforementioned illogical statement would disqualify him. Trainers are required to prepare their charges to the best of their abilities and sent them to do battle. His statement suggest he has conceded victory Uncle Mo and consequently accepted defeat before the race is even run. True professional do not take adopt those attitudes and approaches. How many horses that Uuncle Mo has defeated have dropped dead? Horse are not afraid of horse and anything can happen in a race. The 60-1 Shackleford almost won the FL Derby. Monarchos made what still remains one of the most devastating moves in the FL Derby and passed his opponents like they were glued to the ground. He went to the Wood and got beat. Secretariat lost his effort in the wood. Mr. Motion and all other like minded trainer should not start their charges in the derby if they are afraid of a particular of horse. There is no place for fear in thoroughbred racing and trainer must aspire to do what is perceived to be impossible. This is what distinguishes the greats from the average. Mr. Motion has not distinguished himself with his utterly illogical statement.

11 Apr 2011 11:08 PM

LM- Mr Pletcher said it is standard practice in his barn to do blood work when a horse runs an unexpected disappointing race.

11 Apr 2011 11:17 PM
The Handicapper

I find it ironic that everyone is looking at Uncle Mo and not Johnny V's poor ride. The jockey needed to open up and create distance with the rest of the field which is poor judgment on his part. This race reminds me of another race last year when JV was on Quality Road, had easy fractions like Uncle Mo, but instead of opening up on the field, JV kept looking back at his opposition and Blame nailed QR at the wire. Hence, if Pletcher and Repole want to win the Kentucky Derby, pull Johnny V off the horse and replace him with a jockey who is hungry to enter the big league of horse racing and I guarantee you Uncle Mo will win the derby. Case in point, look what happened when Baffert replaced Gomez with Garcia on his champion three year old last year.

11 Apr 2011 11:22 PM
So Cal Racer

Uncle Mo on the KY Derby maybe but just because Pletcher won last time with Super Saver DOES NOT mean he'll win again.. ya maybe but remember this "he won the Derby last time is just aided by the weather and speed bias". try for a hat trick? yah right look, for a value.. win will cross the line question is minie mini moe?

11 Apr 2011 11:31 PM


"You know a horse that breaks his maiden on March 20 won’t win the Derby. C'mon pal. I know its Baffert. He is the best, but even he can’t get this horse to win the Derby”

The derby is not a race that should be spoken about in absolutes. When Mine That Bird was on his way to victory Tom Dirkins was at a loss for words when he eventually found one it was “Impossible” The history of the race should be respected. Sir Barton and Regret made their seasonal debuts in the Derby and won. Sir Barton entered as a maiden. Giacomo entered the derby with only a maiden victory to his credit and won. The great Lammtara won the Epsom Derby in his first start in 302 days. He also entered with only a maiden victory to his credit. The date associated with the breaking of the maiden is irrelevant. The focus should be on whether the colt is considered to be exceptional and therefore has the ability to achieve something extraordinary. This colt ran more that 9F in the SA Derby based on the fact he was wide on both turns and was hindered in the stretch. Only the very good ones win after experiencing such adversities.

I know you knock me for mentioning pedigree but it should not be ignored that his sire is a son of Danzig. Why is this significant? Two of Danzig sons have sired derby winners i.e., Boundary and Polish Navy. War Chant is probably more accomplished than both as he was a Breeder Cup winner. This colt has the built of a derby winner with a lot of power behind and the neck of a swan. Even more important he displayed a to of heart and heart. When Uncle Mo was required to display heart he came up short.

His task may appear to be overwhelming but it is pale in comparison to what some derby winner faced before the big race. I am sure you know the story of Canonero II

11 Apr 2011 11:40 PM


11 Apr 2011 11:47 PM

Footlick, yes.. I understand that is what TP said is standard practice after a horse runs an unexpected poor race. My question was if this is a long standing practice that he's ALWAYS done or something he began doing AFTER the whole Life at Ten incident? If he started doing it after then that makes sense to me, but if it's always been done then what were the results of THAT test?

12 Apr 2011 12:03 AM

Mike Relva,

I regret making a donation to a particular rescue.  Why are YOU bringing this up repeatedly on a Derby blog?  What is your problem?

12 Apr 2011 12:06 AM

LM--it is standard protocol by all trainers to pull blood after a dull race.  They are looking for signs of illness.

12 Apr 2011 12:13 AM

If there is a triple crown winner this year, who is it?

Master of Hounds?


The Factor?


12 Apr 2011 12:32 AM
Mike from Michigan

Hey Jason, many times you have provided me valuable insight into thoroughbred racing and I certainly respect your opinion, however, I do disagree with you about Midnight Interlude.  In fact, I propose a friendly challenge to you.  You pick any horse you want for the Derby and I bet you Midnight Interlude finishes ahead of him May 7th.  

12 Apr 2011 3:22 AM
Mike from Michigan

Jason, is it possible and is it safe for a horse to run in the Derby Trial and come back a week later and run in the KD? Thanks.

12 Apr 2011 4:55 AM
Mike from Michigan

Jason, I know that J J's Lucky Train is nominated for the Triple Crown, however, I can't find him on the Graded Earnings List. What's up with that? Thanks.

12 Apr 2011 5:15 AM


The Factor will be up front with Schackelford and Comma 2 the top..

I do not see him getting the lead all alone.

I seen Schackelford up close he is a big boy..

12 Apr 2011 6:58 AM
Fran Loszynski

Soldier Course:  Last year's Derby was boring!!!! Oh my gosh, I'm going to repeat this over and over again till Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex are in the Hall of Fame.

Two great racehorses from the same area Philly with heartwarming stories retire and their sons walk side by side in adjoining post positions Dublin and Backtalk in the Kentucky rain just like their fathers once walked in the Kentucky Derby. If you thought that was boring to see- then you should see the box of Kleenex I used that day! That was an awesome day for the fans of Philly racing, not to mention the rest of us fans of Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex. And I'm sure it touched the hearts of all the general public. SMARTY JONES AND AFLEET ALEX FOR THE HALL OF FAME.

12 Apr 2011 8:03 AM

Yes Coldfacts and Jason, Sir Barton.  The point was anything can happen and since I'm quite sure none of us have a crystal ball, we can't know.  But some on here tell us not only who CAN'T win but who WILL. I wonder why we can't just present our thoughts and opinions without acting like we know it all and that those with differing opinions no nothing....?

12 Apr 2011 8:37 AM


I agree with you that Mo had a good excuse in the Wood. People cried for him to get a challenge because of the soft campaign, they when he does they drop him. He was short, very short, and was running over a much more tiring track than Gulfstream. People who knew that he needed a stiff race would also know there would be the possiblity that he would lose because he was so underconditioned.

Was there a graded stakes winner there, no. However, Toby is now considered by many a threat in this now wide open Derby. I wonder how he can be such a weak horse and still be a threat. He is a seriously underrated horse. His final eighth was 11.8 people, that is by any means, for any horse fast. Now could he be just an AQ horse, yes, but right now we don't know. All we know is that he stepped up big time and showed us that he is not weak at all.

12 Apr 2011 8:40 AM
Jayjay's Wrong Again

lol Caros on the Greg thing...but your statement about Blame ducking Zenyatta? Please. Blame has no reason to duck her. He is better. And Al Stall is as stand-up as they come. Unlike Shirreffs, he outlined Blame's campaign in January: Schaeffer, Foster, Whitney, Woodward, JCGC, BC Classic. That is a real campaign. That is a championship campaign. Go Blame!!

jshandler 10 Jun 2010 1:59 PM

12 Apr 2011 9:42 AM

The Handicapper- if he knew the outcome of both races, Johnny V would have ridden differently.  Both times I'm sure he felt he had the horse under him and was just as surprised as anybody when he asked them to fire and they spurted.  You can't do anything if the horse isn't there to respond for you.  Blaming the jock in this case is not the right thing, imo.

12 Apr 2011 9:58 AM
Will W

Let Uncle Mo - and The Factor as well - have their shot at Triple Crown fame in the first two legs though their ancestry indicates Sprinter/Miler as their MO. They've both earned a shot. Then, if their bloodlines catch up with them, Pletcher and Baffert will direct them to where they perform best and maybe the two will be at each other's throat in the BC Mile. Beyond that, would love to see The Factor contest at 6 and 7 furlongs with a rejuvenated Fabulous Strike if his return to racing proves a success. As for the Derby, one things sadly certain in the wake of Uncle Mo's defeat: the Run for the Roses will be another 20 horse cavalry charge, bumper pool event with horses steadied, blocked, forced to check, pinched back, squeezed, cut off, floated/forced wide, clipping heels, bumped hard, turned sideways, trapped on the rail and/or knocked into the rail, etc., and on and on ad nauseum. To restore the Kentucky Derby to the quality of horse race it was throughout the earlier age of television - from the 1950s thru the 1990s - all other considerations should be put aside and the field limited to 14 horses to reclaim the integrity of the race in determining the best 3 year old in the world - not which 3 year old got lucky and came up with the winning lottery ticket on that first Saturday in May. As A Louisville native whose father ran horses at Churchill, I've long been concerned about the deterioration/disintegration of  the Derby as a legitimate test of three year old greatness. I realize I'm just swimming upstream against the direction the race has been heading as a 20 horse free-for-all, but I'm still wishing aloud it was no more than the 14 horse event I witnessed from the Twin Spires box seats in 1967 when Proud Clarion bested the future great handicapper, Damascus, in what was considered then an unusually large 14 horse field - so much so that the long shots like Proud Clarion were combined in a field horse bet that still went off at 30-1.

12 Apr 2011 10:06 AM

Impressed by Midnight Interlude's win.  Colt clearly got the worst of it throughout the race and still dug in.  Have a hard time thinking he is going to win the Derby with so little experience though.  Nothing would shock me with Baffert though as I believe he is the best in the business and all of the old Derby rules are going to fall with this new, seldom raced, fragile breed.

Still have a hard time thinking that the Derby winner doesn't come from the trio of Mo, Dialed In or The Factor.  Would love to see one of the Alex's or Alternation win or place in the Arkansas Derby and become a factor.

Dray, you are in Box 55 when you are in Tampa?  When I go, if I don't sit at the bar in the clubhouse, I am in Box 54.  Small world.

12 Apr 2011 10:13 AM
Point Given

Midnight Interlude won the SA Derby with the G1,G2 & G3 winners in it("WINNING").I actually picked MI to win the SA Derby and probably the only one on your previous blog had it right(Jayjay noticed it).BTW that "CLAIMING RACE"(THE WOODS)was a very good one,particularly the top 2 finishers and another good thing about it that UM was not claimed.

12 Apr 2011 11:13 AM
Billy's Empire

Mike from Michigan: Dontgetmad I think ran in the Derby Trial a few years ago then turned around and finished 4th in the derby a week later. Horses can do it, but many trainers these days opt not too b/c of the strain it puts on a young horse.

12 Apr 2011 11:26 AM


I say that Uncle Mo goes up and confronts The Factor as the field sweeps toward the far turn. With The Factor on the inside and Uncle Mo on the outside, the pair duel through three-quarters of a mile in 1:11 flat. But Mucho Macho Man is right behind them, eyeing the speed duel; hoping that they both fold. And suddenly, on the far outside, Dialed In sweeps into contention.

Turning for home, Uncle Mo sticks his head in front of The Factor's, but he in turn is about to be passed by Mucho Macho Man. Dialed In is closing relentlessly in the eight path, but he's running out of ground. Then, suddenly, along the rail, the gold-and-red silks of Elite Alex shoot through an impossibly small opening! Calvin Borel has guided Elite Alex in and out of traffic to win the 2011 Kentucky Derby by a half-length over Dialed In! The replays show that Borel managed to keep Elite Alex on the rail for the majority of the race, moving to the outside only once in order to pass Soldat.

I love trying to imagine what might happen in the Derby. What do you think will happen?


12 Apr 2011 11:41 AM
Jason Shandler

Mike from Michigan: J J's Lucky Train has $120k of earnings but they arent pointing for the Derby. That's why he isnt listed.

As far as your offer: Yes, I will bet you. Please email me the day before the Derby and we can finalzie it.

12 Apr 2011 11:41 AM


Wasn't there a horse racing movie out not all that long ago called Dreamer?

12 Apr 2011 11:57 AM

I wouldn’t necessarily count Jaycito out because he is racing in the Lexington.  Not that long ago the Lexington was a worthwhile prep, in fact, Charismatic ran in it and then won the Derby two weeks later.  If the surface was still dirt I think we would see a lot more horses use it as a final prep.  My concern with Jaycito is his lack of racing and I think that if it is too soon for his best in the Derby, we’ll see his best before the TC races are over.

12 Apr 2011 12:04 PM


When you're sitting in box 54 did you ever look across into box 55 and say to yourself....Who is that guy sitting over there, there one who's eating all those shrimp cocktails and cashing handsful of tickets?

12 Apr 2011 12:16 PM
Mike Relva


Obviously you are one of many that has the illusion your never in error. Well,you were w/ all the neg. garbage you threw at them. That's why I'm pointing out how absurd you looked regarding your many rants(even Greg called you out). Bottom line was....you were wrong! I viewed the place for myself,so that makes me more knowledgeable on the subject. Question? Did you ever go there? Right.

12 Apr 2011 12:39 PM
Old Timer

Mike, yes horses have run in the Derby Trial (which used to be run on the Monday before) and then run in the Derby 5 days later. Hence the name Derby Trial. I believe that Citation actually ran in about 6 races between the first of April and the Belmont Stakes in June, and won the Triple Crown along the way. Times have changed.

12 Apr 2011 12:40 PM

Title of Blog is

"A Derby Turned Upside Down"

It only turned if you were on the Mo Bandwagon, if not it was always upside down..

I just got a gut feeling this years winner will be 20-1 or longer.

12 Apr 2011 12:58 PM
Fran Loszynski


And that's exactly how it is going to happen for Elite Alex. How did you know? Thank God for Dreamers That's how a famous horse uh, think his name was "Seabiscuit" got to be known as a racehorse that could win if people believed and dreamed big. Thank you -Keelerman for that wonderful scenario of a race. Felt like I was there. Hope you write the movie.  

12 Apr 2011 1:07 PM
The Rock


Your thoughts on the Bluegrass? Any horses you see as probables that may have a realistic shot come Derby day should they come away with a victory saturday?

12 Apr 2011 1:08 PM
Jason Shandler

Rock: I guess if Santiva wins impressively you would have to say he has a decent chance. I have a feeling he wont win however. It's a good betting race either way. I do like a couple horses in here to bet, but I will wait until tomorrow's draw to analyze. In short, I'm not expecting a major factor to come out of this race. Are you?

12 Apr 2011 1:22 PM

any body think saratoga red is going to slingshot lukas back into the derby picture?

12 Apr 2011 1:30 PM


Where did I hear that someone thought one of the fillies were as like Eight Belles?  Joyful Victory?

Too bad about that history.  would have been nice to have seen ANY FILLY in the Derby this year.

(Preakness, if not the Derby?)

(Still waiting for Master of Hounds to be declared)

12 Apr 2011 1:32 PM
The Rock

Jason: It is a good betting race. I would agree with you about Santiva. Only because he's the only one in the field with any dirt form. I'm not expecting a major factor out of this as well. Im interested to see how the pace sets up. I see a lot of late run turf closers on the probables. I'm envisioning EXHI in the Lexington last year with Sensational Slam in the Blue Grass Saturday.  But I'll wait for the pp's. Smiling Tiger should be tough in the Count Fleet. Could be a cold exacta with Riley Tucker underneath. Don't like the latter's draw though (1).

12 Apr 2011 1:34 PM

Old Timer

Times really have changed:

Citation ran in the Derby Trial and the Derby 4 days later.  But that’s only part of the story.  This was his schedule from early April to the Belmont Stakes:

• April 12 – 6F – Chesapeake Trial

• April 17 – 8.5F – Chesapeake Stakes

• April 27 – 8F – Derby Trial

• May 1 – 10F – Kentucky Derby

• May 15 – 9.5F – The Preakness

• May 29 – 10F – Jersey Stakes

• June 12 – 12F – The Belmont

I would venture to say that if there had been a three week layoff between the Preakness and the Belmont that Citation might have skipped the Jersey stakes.  But there was a four week layoff and wanting to keep him racing every two weeks that is probably why he went in the Jersey, though it was not uncommon for horses to fit a race in between the Preakness and the Belmont right up until the late sixties.  In addition to his tough campaign TC campaign it is also worthy to note that he had a tough workout regimen.  From April 16 to the Belmont on June 12 he had the following 10 workouts:  1 - 3F; 4 – 4F; 1 – 5F; 3 – 6F; and 1 at a mile.

12 Apr 2011 1:35 PM
The Rock

Actually, I take that back on Sensational Slam. I've never liked horses stretching out from 6f to 9f's in any situation unless they've had previous route experience.

12 Apr 2011 1:36 PM

Mr Pletcher emphatically stated Uncle mo was not a short horse.  And since he is the trainer, I am assuming he would know.  Again, I will wait for the blood test results and then see how he is training.

12 Apr 2011 2:00 PM

Mo Smo everyone was on the wagon now they trying to jump off.  Listen you can't push this 1 1/4 as for numerous others as well.  Dialed In will make mockery of this Derby.  He will run past these bums like they standing still.  Wide open?  Give me break!

12 Apr 2011 2:05 PM

Jayjay's Wrong Again (coattail) : How does your post prove I'm wrong ??  Do you even know what the argument was?  Jason said that in May of last year, he posted something about Blame winning the Classic.  Where is that in your copy and pasted post ??  So much for kissing .... you know what LOL

Jason : Careful what you post about Santiva, Draynay will label you a rookie if you say anything bad about his pick in the Bluegrass LOL.  How dare you say Santiva will not win...Draynay will be all over you now...just you wait.

12 Apr 2011 2:06 PM
Criminal Type

I bet that "allowance horse I am backing" finishes in front of both afleet alex's. Although I will admit, I still have Sway Away on my list. IF he doesnt do well in Arkansaw then he too is off. A smart horse(and a smart jockey)only runs as fast as he has to to win. Last time I checked horses cant tell time. Don't know if Dialed In will finish in front of The Factor though. If that horse can get a mile and a quarter, most of the rest can stay home.

12 Apr 2011 2:08 PM

Laz : I'm actually more worried about his earnings as I posted in the other blog.  He's 17th and 2 G1 races coming up this weekend.  If JP's Gusto and the The Factor runs 1-2 in the AD, then Jaycito can use the Lexington as a tightener 2 wks before the Derby.  If neither wins and there's a chance Jaycito might get bumped off the earnings list unless other horses gets scared of UM and doesn't run...somehow, I'm finding it hard to believe that UM actually scares anyone anymore except Draynay and his $10,000 KDFW bet on UM lol.

12 Apr 2011 2:21 PM

Just read this report:

I am pleased to report that Soldat is doing well at Palm Meadows Training Center. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin monitored him carefully following the Florida Derby (G1) and, by all accounts, he is both happy and healthy. As such, the plan is to enter him in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on May 7. Keeping his usual routine between races, Soldat will work three times and then ship to Churchill Downs.

12 Apr 2011 3:14 PM
Matthew W

After breaking his maiden Mar 20...then working in 1:10 3/5...Midnight Interlude went wide both turns...endured two steadies in deep stretch...changed course and won the S A Derby---because he could!

12 Apr 2011 4:00 PM
Matthew W

tj conway--on a fast surface--no way will twenty horses get you a :47 1/5 half--rarely will that happen--

12 Apr 2011 4:03 PM


Draynay doesn't need Uncle Mo to make his millions betting......does he?  Just his imagination and a very tall pile of Bull XXXX in the backyard.

There's something about Jaycito that mystifies me.  Maybe it's because we've only seen him once this year and it was a good effort, and several prominent contenders have stumbled, and right when everyone thought that they were primed for a big effort.  I still like the way he gathered himself and ran well the second half of the BC Juvenile.  He might not have won that day without his antics, but I don’t think that there would have been anyway he would miss the board.  I’m not concerned about The Factor.  If he does run well at Oaklawn he’ll probably go in the Derby, but now I don’t think any of the others are going to be waiting for him to stop and he should be challenged a lot earlier.  If he should run a clunker, I could see Baffert pulling him if it would mean the Jaycityo could go (21st in earnings).

12 Apr 2011 4:08 PM

Saw a comment saying TP winning the Derby was like Miner's Bird--hardly- and Miner's Bird wasn't a fluke except on form at Derby time, and he was a champion in Canada the year before- He might have won the Preakness with a better trip and the Belmont with a better timed ride--He is a perfect example of a horse being super right--- for a time.  Of course I could be wrong but I don't think so—

Not on TP’s training talents--- Great trainer with many good assts. many that are top trainers in their own right if on their own.

Never forget it is a business. Guy like TP basically has a vet on call and the best people money can buy working for them-why does an asst trainer stay? Steady paycheck trainers are not the best paid out there except a very few, it’s like owning a restaurant, some make millions most go broke—Not only are some trainers talented but they have other edges—working horses with those similar of abilities is a big edge, not to mention working in company so you can put one in the middle one day, outside or inside the next. Ever wonder why certain trainer’s 2 yr. olds do better? They know their talent level and run straight. What does have to do with the Derby? Why do you think some have horses that are contenders every year almost? It’s not JUST THE MONEY—but it helps.

One other note---Want Baffert,TP, or the like? $100 plus a day—add vet-shipping-%’s-stakes for help-entry/stakes fees if a nice horse---you better have $50K kicking around for a year’s training.

HOW MANY trainers had big money behind them and were not successful in the Derby? Shug who no one knocks (AND SHOULDN’T- he belongs in the HOF) hasn't won the Derby with the best bred horses in creation. I have only one problem with sometime great trainers (and owners) why? Beat a great horse down by either running in the Derby before they are ready or when they would be a good second tier stakes horse? VA Derby, Penn Derby, Super Derby, and if NY,LA, FL or even Canadian Bred races if they are foaled there--  some great pots out there for a good GR3 horse. Isn’t Z Humor a millionaire?

Finally-Beware the SA Derby winner--his race wasn't a fluke--but winning a Derby is a different story--but to disregard is silly. The best handicap horse now Misremembered supposedly, was beaten by a nobody a few years ago called Win Willy who was a “fluke” so they said a few years ago when he beat one early Derby favorite- a horse for course---Horses sometimes have reason why they win or lose---legitimately. Oaklawn, Churchill, maybe just the inner track at AQU sometimes a horse likes and is better on a simple thing like a certain track.

I don't hate MO and if he wins the Derby I won't cash but will not be surprised either. I bet L A Lucky last year thinking he was the best horse and still think I was right but sometimes a trip or a horse like Super Saver will run the race of their lifes and my tickets end up on the ground.

12 Apr 2011 4:17 PM

Mike Relva,

Why are you pursuing this?  There is nothing "wrong" about regretting donating to a rescue.  My OPINION backed by years and years of owning a lot of racehorses is that is is WASTEFUL of donated money to try to salvage a horse who has chronic laminitis, rotating coffin bones and bone infections in the coffin bones.  That isn't even addressing what is wrong in the back end.  The HUMANE thing to do is euthanize.

I REGRET donating to an organization that will spend thousands just on the meds to deal with the ulcers caused by the pain meds for a horse with a really, really poor prognosis for living in anything but constant pain and suffering and needing extensive and expensive veterinary and farrier care.  Personally, I would have liked to call the animal welfare authorities to investigate them on cruelty charges.  It is CRUEL to subject that horse to what they have.

Get over it.  This is a Derby blog.  Leave your PETA mentality back on that other blog.

12 Apr 2011 4:27 PM
Mike Relva


You show zero class. You didn't pay attention to the fact DK is much better and moving well. Your agenda from jump street was proving them wrong. You didn't! How do you know how he's doing today? You have no facts backing you up regarding this. I was there,that means I've got an insight on what the situation is. You are alot of talk with no substance behind you! Anyone that would give something and then complain about it is a big zero in my book! As for your stupid threat regarding animal welefare.... GO FOR IT!

12 Apr 2011 5:04 PM

2:24, I will be in booth 55 for the Derby !!!  

12 Apr 2011 5:25 PM

Baffert does not always start with the best horses.  Silver Charm cost $85,000, picked up 2/3rds of the Triple Crown and went on to earn close to 7 million dollars.  Real Quiet was even cheaper at a mere $17,000.  An ill timed ride in the Belmont cost him the Triple Crown and he went on to earn over 3 million dollars.  

12 Apr 2011 5:52 PM

History has taught us to throw the Santa Anita Derby winner and Wood winner out.  If you were lucky you cashed in on the Wood winner taking the Derby 1 time in 30 years (and this was a west coast horse who had won the San Felipe) and the last time the Santa Anita Derby winner won the Kentucky Derby was 22 years ago.  Combined that's 2 winners in 52 years.  But as we know, you can't toss the entire race.  That will be a costly mistake.  

12 Apr 2011 5:59 PM
Mike Relva


So are you taking your jet to the Derby?

12 Apr 2011 7:19 PM

Best thing to do for this Derby is throw out every horse from California.  There is simply no talent coming out of CA.

12 Apr 2011 7:20 PM

Mike Relva,

Chronic laminitis, rotated coffin bones, and chronic infections in the bones of the foot means long-term pain and suffering with no chance of recovery.  That says nothing about the very high cost to try to keep the animal somewhat comfortable.  You are free to call me whatever name you want for thinking that maybe it is in the best interests of the horse to end his suffering sooner rather than later.

What is your problem that you just can't leave it alone?  I'm entitled to my opinion, which is based on a fair amount of knowledge.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that this particular horse is doomed to chronic pain and he will not be cured.

Why would you drag something from another blog onto a Derby blog?  I mean, I haven't even been involved in any discussion of this for, what, months?  I bet 99% of all equine vets would share my opinion.  You really need to get a grip.

12 Apr 2011 7:48 PM

There seems to be even less talent running in the east.  Perhaps one of those Canadian colts like Elite Alex or Queensplatekitten will step up.  I wonder if Uncle Mo’s corner is looking to buy a Draynay voodoo doll so they can stick a safety pin through its lips.

12 Apr 2011 8:23 PM
Mike Relva


Don't have a problem making an excuse for Mo last weekend,cause something wasn't right with him. But,if he's healthy and goes into the gate next month and doesn't win,be prepared to be reminded how in Jan. you already touted him winning the Triple Crown and you won't be able no matter what you say to get around it!

12 Apr 2011 8:55 PM
Matthew W

Baffert/Espinoza, with a late developing contender...hmmmmm.....yes, Jason, I am a seasoned handicapper--I know horses who don't start at two don't win the Derby....I also think, besides Uncle Mo, Midnight Interlude just ran, in his first start v winners, better than any of the others could run.....so I'm left with two: one who broke his maiden Mar 20...the other who looked like the Snow Chief comparisons were a bit premature--Snow Chief got 1 1/8!.....my picks are because: no horse ran better than Uncle Mo last year....no horse ran better than Midnight Interlude this year.....I'm 52, have played many Derbys--I am way ahead on the race, have Jaycito in the futures/will also be playing Midnight/MoMo heavy--they are the cream of this (weak!) crop.....

12 Apr 2011 10:17 PM



He'll be taking his self propelled hot air ballon.

12 Apr 2011 10:17 PM
Matthew W

Draynay I wish I were there with ya! (on Derby Day!) I'd shake that big mitt of yours, then proceed to give ya a few horses--I plan to be loaded for bear that weekend! Mostly my horses are quarter horses that race at Los Alamitos, but I could/would turn you on to some live ones--Gulfstream is tough for me...Tampa Bay the same...Los Al is my equine atm machine! Also can tell you about the Santa Anita horses--you are right about their weak three year olds--sans Baffert, who has the strong hand this year--if his S A Derby winner continues to train well, use him, Dray--I want ya to look like a winner as they cross the finish line--watch them closely, someone/ones are morphing before our eyes--one of them is The Kentucky Derby Winner!!

12 Apr 2011 10:25 PM
Forbidden Apple


The best handicapping move is to toss Uncle Mo pronto. The spin control from all Uncle Mo fans is extremely weak. Uncle Mo did not like the Big A, what a joke. Uncle Mo does not like to run hard at 1 1/8 and is an above average horse. Keep on clinging to his incredible wins over Mountain Town and Boys@Tosconova. Even with the sad loss of Premier Pegasus, there are plenty of colts who are far better than Mo.

12 Apr 2011 10:27 PM

I've been following Horse Players' Night School sponsored by DRF.  Two of the horsemen on last Monday's show commented that Uncle Mo had grown noticeably taller.

That would explain the light racing and training schedule--you just can't train a horse hard who is in the middle of a growth spurt.

If he has been backed off of because of growing issues, I don't believe he can possibly be ready for the Derby, but could make the later races.  Nothing about him indicates he wants any part of a mile and a quarter, but he could get it with really aggressive training--things like mile breezes and lots of 2-mile open gallops.  However, you can't train a horse like that who is having growing issues.

13 Apr 2011 6:20 AM

Here's the best and sure win bet : Toss out any horse Draynay picks.  The guy has not picked a winner except for the 7 furlong Flashpoint race.  I kept telling this clown to switch and concentrate on QH, at least he'd look like a winner.  

To be honest, nothing wrong with QH, i make money off of their P4s and .50 cent supers.  Draynay on the other hand, bets the farm on 1-5s and still can't cash.  Seems to me (and only if it's true), the last time he cashed a lot of tickets was when he was supposedly with Jason.

Jason  :  When did you and Draynay hung out?

Laz : I know what you mean.  The first time I saw Jaycito run was when he won the Norfolk and that's when Dr. Drunkimbum posted about him.  I've since followed him but for some weird reason, things have not worked out well for him.  His run in the San Felipe was exactly what I was expecting being his first race back.  He needs another tightener and I'm hoping that will be the Lexington, that would mean he will start in the Derby 3rd start back.  Lots of good things about this horse.  We'll have to wait and see if he makes it in.

Imagine if Elite Alex hits the board or even wins the Arkansas Derby, Draynay will be forced to play this horse, the same one he berates everytime someone mentions his name.  He'll have to spend a lot of money on the same horse because borel will be on him LOL.  We all know who he'll be putting his $2 on, Brethren.  So much for that horse' chances in the AD.  He'll probably finish up the track chasing TF.

I posted before, I think TF will fold in the AD.  I'm high on Nehro for this race, as well as Archx3.  I also will be playing Elite Alex now that they'll put blinkers on him.  He worked :58 with blinkers on so he should be much much closer to the pace.

Looking forward to Soldat's workouts to see how he's doing.  He's still a legitimate contender specially if it's sloppy.

13 Apr 2011 6:56 AM
Meydan Rocks!

From Bob Baffert to those leaping of the Uncle Mo bandwagon in droves...

But Bob Baffert, who has three legitimate Derby contenders in surprise Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude, The Factor and Jaycito, cautions those who are ready to jump off the Uncle Mo bandwagon.

"Secretariat lost before the Kentucky Derby," Baffert said Saturday after his Midnight Interlude rallied in the stretch to post a 13-1 upset in the 74th running of the Santa Anita Derby. "I still think (Uncle Mo's) a very good horse and he'll bounce back."

(insidesocal dot com)

From Baffert yet again...

But Uncle Mo’s poorperformance was a confounding development in the buildup to a Kentucky Derby.

“It was a puzzler,” Baffert said via e-mail. “He didn’t put up much of a fight, so maybe he was short. Probably move way up if he was. Todd is a great trainer. He will figure him out.”

(NYTimes by Joe Drape)

And then sobering words from Mike Watchmaker (DRF blog)...

"One thing that does bother me a little is how some folks have drawn an analogy between Uncle Mo losing in the Wood at 1-10, and Secretariat losing in the Wood at 1-5 in 1973. While Uncle Mo was the divisional champion at 2, Secretariat was not only divisional champion at 2, he was the first ever to be Horse of the Year at 2. Before he lost the Wood, Secretariat turned in scintillating victories in the Bay Shore and Gotham, running a mile in the latter in 1:33 2/5. And really, the only way Uncle Mo’s loss in the Wood could ever be analogous to Secretariat’s is if Uncle Mo goes on to sweep the Triple Crown, beats a superstar field of older horses in an invitational race in the fall, and then closes his campaign with two awesome romps in major turf stakes going 12 and 13 furlongs. Otherwise, it’s fantasy."

13 Apr 2011 8:21 AM
Billy's Empire

The Derby can not get here fast enough. We have Thunder this weekend,

13 Apr 2011 9:18 AM

As far as Secretariats 3yo season,back then there were a lot less foals,and a lot less horses on the derby trail.Secretariat was definitely one of the greatest of all time.The competition nowadays is a lot tougher for any race,even a mile an an eighth allowance 1x at Gulfstream.To even make it to the derby to face 19 opponents is an accomplishment.Every year there are throwouts, horses that have the earnings but dont belong.There is also a lot more races and chances to make the top twenty earnings list for the derby.Evolution exists in every sport not just horseracing.

13 Apr 2011 12:06 PM
Mike Relva


You are "in love with your own voice". Your life isn't affected in any form by this horse having the help he deserves. Deal with it!

13 Apr 2011 12:48 PM

One thing that bothers me is people that bring up the past who weren't even there and try to tell me how great Secretariat was.  Secretariat at 2 was not as good or fast as Uncle Mo at 2.  Secretariat lost at 2 while Uncle Mo was perfect.  Both heavy favorites heading into the Wood came in third. You can compare the two at this point.  We all know what Secretariat did in his next 4 races let's give Uncle Mo a chance to run his next 4 races and then compare.

13 Apr 2011 2:15 PM



Arkansas Derby

Purse: $1 million; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 1

1. Nehro, Corey Nakatani, 5-1

2. Elite Alex, Calvin Borel, 8-1

3. The Factor, Martin Garcia, 7-5

4. Brethren, Ramon Dominguez, 10-1

5. Sway Away, Patrick Valenzuela, 6-1

6. Caleb’s Posse, Eddie Razo, 10-1

7. Truman’s Commander, Israel Ocampo, 30-1

8. Alternation, Luis Quinonez, 10-1

9. Dance City, Javier Castellano, 15-1

10. Archarcharch, Jon Court, 12-1

11. J P’s Gusto, Cliff Berry, 15-1

12. J W Blue, Joe Rocco Jr., 30-1

13. Saratoga Red, Terry Thompson, 30-1

13 Apr 2011 2:20 PM

I am picking Elite Alex to win the Arkansas.  With blinkers I think he is a different horse.  With all the speed in the race I see The Factor falling back after getting run into the ground by Dance City and Brethren.

Elite Alex and Brethren exacta box.

13 Apr 2011 2:22 PM

Lazmannick, thanks for posting the schedule for the greatest horse ever ..... Citation   compare what he did to ANY HORSE and they lose.

13 Apr 2011 2:25 PM

jayjay, unlike you I POSTED some my winning tickets from Saturday on my facebook page.

And to all you Joyful fans wake up.  If you think that horse can beat R Heat Lightning you are crazy.

13 Apr 2011 2:31 PM

Mike, I will not be flying the plane into Kentucky this year I will be taking friends in the limo to Tampa Bay Downs for the Derby and then back to the mansion for a after Derby party by the pool.  I will post pictures on my facebook page.

13 Apr 2011 2:44 PM
Mike Relva


Your one to talk about "giving chances" If it were me,would be keeping my fingers crossed that MO performs to the AMAZING LEVEL you've boasted of for the past four months. Sometimes things come back to bite you. As for Secretariat,I would want to keep him out of the discussion for now. lol

13 Apr 2011 2:59 PM



Race #9

Toyota Blue Grass S.  

1 1/8 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds |  G1  STAKES |  Purse: $750,000  

Daily Double / Exacta / Trifecta / Superfecta  


1  Newsdad  J. Castanon

123 Lbs  W. Mott     -  LA  

2  King Congie  R. Maragh

123 Lbs  T. Albertrani     -  LA  

3  Santiva  J. Leparoux

123 Lbs  E. Kenneally     -  LA  

4  Joes Blazing Aaron  G. Gomez

123 Lbs  M. Maker     -  LA  

5  Brilliant Speed  J. Rosario

123 Lbs  T. Albertrani     -  LA  

6  Sensational Slam  J. Lezcano

123 Lbs  T. Pletcher     -  LA  

7  Twinspired  R. Albarado

123 Lbs  M. Maker     -  LA  

8  Willcox Inn  R. Napravnik

123 Lbs  M. Stidham     -  LA  

9  Wilkinson  J. Theriot

123 Lbs  N. Howard     -  L  

10  Praetereo  E. Prado

123 Lbs  T. Pletcher     -  LA  

11  Crimson China  A. Garcia

123 Lbs  H. Motion     -  LA  

12  Queen'splatekitten  J. Velazquez

123 Lbs  T. Pletcher     -  LA  

13 Apr 2011 3:17 PM


Secretariat won more stakes at 2 than Uncle Mo has started in races in his whole life.

Secretariat won five stakes at two, six if you include the Champagne he was DQ'd to second in for interfering.

There is no comparison at this point.

13 Apr 2011 4:30 PM

Having been to the Derby--wish you all a great time but as a gambler---never again--can't see races can get a bet in--of course I didn't have a box--and left the grandstand for the backstretch early because I didn't like the party animals who never had been to a racetrack before--don't get me wrong it an event that every racehorse fan should go to once.

In a way it's like New Year's Eve--amateur night--those who never hit bars, or party come out---and drink far too much than they should. Again one man's opinion.

The Preakness with it's new promotion of endless beer/bottomless cup--whatever--I never drink when betting real money. I don't think they are inviting me with that promotion--again I like to gamble not empty my kidneys in a Johnny on the Spot.

Dray-- R Heat Lightening--Hmmmm hoping to get 4-5 monster payout? Doubt your of loving chalk dust--although you must eat it very often by your blogs. Quality Road was great in FL as well.

Again wouldn't be surprised if she won-very impressive (of course the Jones filly was too)-but those are the kind of pick's I sort of let people figure for themselves---I only suggest horses that they might profit by when the bridge jumpers are wrong. I never tout any under 2-1 I give people on blogs like this credit that they know a little and can read the form. She, RHL has been known to be a puller at times-very nice filly though.

13 Apr 2011 4:48 PM

OK, now I'm salivating about the Blue Grass.  Crimson China AND Queensplatekitten! Fun!  (Too bad they're both on the outside but let's see how they do)

13 Apr 2011 5:24 PM

Sniper I am the ONLY ONE on this blog to post some of his winners from Saturday.  You are welcome to post your winners from this coming Saturday on Monday.  If you don't we know you are like many here and just full of it.  

JAJ, the facts are the facts.  Secretariat was trying to win his Maiden races 2nd time out and Uncle Mo was winning a G1.  The facts are the facts.  Uncle Mo was a better 2 year old.  In his 3rd race Secretariat won a allowance race.  Uncle Mo won the Breeders Cup in a run away.  Stick with facts.

13 Apr 2011 5:35 PM

Credit where credit due --Dray

You didn't pick chalk so I wish you well--humble opinion you have a shot with that exactor because I am not sold on The Factor but these are but I "chalk-up" this race to a no bet. Elite Alex tough excuse trips but really hasn't proved he is any star.  Brethren bad start no excuse run last time although I think he might be the one in here. Sway Away I hated last time and thought he only was a closing sprinter--easy field again but still don't like again for improvement.

This field, (Other than a few--The Factor could be any kind--but) is the allowance/claiming field--not the SA Derby although it was somewhat weak. Forgoing "The Factor" Maybe 4 horses in the FL Derby would have been favorite here.

13 Apr 2011 5:47 PM


I hear you lous and clear!  Dance City and JP's Gusto are going to go right at THE FACTOR!  THE FACTOR will come put of this race win or lose "punch drunk".  I will play Brethren to across the board, in the hope of getting in the Derby.  

The road trip starts tomorrow and the Treblocs are looking forward to meeting fellow blogger Criminal Type at Pimlico!

13 Apr 2011 8:16 PM
Mike Relva


13 Apr 2011 9:02 PM

All of the great horses were great in their time.We are in 2011 and as a comparison how many home runs would Babe Ruth hit today with the pitching that exists.If he had the nutrition and training etc,and he lost the gut, he would be an allstar.But he would probably not be as much as a standout in these times as he was in his own time.In a match race as a two year old I think Barbaro could run with anyone on any surface at any distance.He was undeafeated when he was injured in the Preakness.

13 Apr 2011 9:06 PM

Draynay : Easy to say you posted something when you don't provide the link.

Why did you have to pick Elite Alex ??  It's his last shot to get in the Derby and you go on and pick him for the AD.  Hopefully the blinkers really help and nullifies your curse...

And please STOP with your nonsense comparison of Secretariat, it really shows how ignorant you are about horse racing.

13 Apr 2011 10:28 PM

Here are my winners for the weekend

AAA for the AD  Haven't seen his morning line but will be decent.

Crimson China for the Bluegrass.  Best bet of the weekend. Won't get no where the 10-1 morning line though,  Hope for 6 to 1 and I will be all over it.

13 Apr 2011 10:30 PM


Are you handicapping both preps on THS, this week? Can't wait to see what you come up with.

13 Apr 2011 10:30 PM

You know I love The Factor.

I also love Switch to win the Apple Blossom.

13 Apr 2011 10:38 PM
Mike Relva

Too bad about Ricky D. Couldn't happen to a more deserving individual. lol

13 Apr 2011 11:35 PM
Criminal Type

The Factor and Sway Away...Santiva and Mucho Macho Man will be around too.

14 Apr 2011 6:30 AM
Mike from Michigan

I've been following horse racing since i've been a kid, but this year will be my very first trip to the KDerby, so if anybody can offer any tips or advice on attending the Derby I would be grateful. Can I get close to the paddock, can i get close to the finish line, is there seating for general admission, how much is a mint julip, a beer, can i get autographs from jocks, trainers, can you take cameras in?  Thanking you in advance-Mike.

14 Apr 2011 7:12 AM
no mo mo

I'll say it again because some of you must be hard of hearing. unca schmoe will not win the Ky Derby!! I was right when I said he'd get beat soon and I'm right when I say he won't win on May 7. A win bet on mo is wasting your money.

14 Apr 2011 9:01 AM

Having never been on the Mo bandwagon, I still respected his ability and admired his looks.  I'd give him a pass on the Wood.  Every horse has an off day now and again.  Uncle Mo is still a top 10 horse to me.  I never saw him as a TC winner...the races are grueling for a horse with so little hard-knocking training...though he may still step up in Ky for at least one dance.  Mike Repole deserves credit for keeping in touch with the fans.  I'd thank Mike, and hope for the best for Uncle Mo...but he now has a lot of top-notch competition who can get 12f.

14 Apr 2011 9:04 AM


You are saying Uncle Mo was a better 2 year old than Secretariat????  Secretariat won Horse of the Year as a two year old!  You are so biased against Secretariat that it confounds me but you compared Mo to him when Mo lost the Wood, like Secretariat did.  Uncle Mo is a nice horse but he's no where in the same league as Secretariat.

14 Apr 2011 11:03 AM
Billy's Empire

Mike from Michigan.

Here is the rundown.

General Admission is 40.00 to the infield. You can access the paddock with GA tix. You can get close to the paddock if you are willing to fight through the crowd. You can bring a camera.

The grandstand is the 2nd choice. Call CD and see if you can get a ticket. Just got our tix yesterday for Oaks and Derby, and they are about 275 each for Derby in the 314 section, and 105 for Oaks in the 116 section on the finish line.

First race is 10:30 am, I suggest you get to the track by 9 if you general admission or you seat will not be good or near the fence.

Beers are 8 bucks, Mint Juleps and other cocktails are 9, at least they were last year.

You will not be able to get close to the finish line unless you have tickets in 116-117 or 316-317 or turf club, jockey suites, millionaires row etc...

Bring tons of cash. You will most likely spend more on drinks than anything else.

14 Apr 2011 12:08 PM

MonicaV, what race was Secretariat better than UM ?  His first race ?  Secretariat lost his first race and wasn't close to winning.  UM won his first race by 14 lengths. Secretariat had to run a 2nd race to break his maiden while Uncle Mo was winning a G1.  Secretariat's 3rd race was a allowance race and UM's was the Breeders Cup Championship that he was winning by a mile in the most impressive performance of the day. So, at what point did Secretariat perform better or faster than Uncle Mo? He didn't.  Did UM need to run 4 or 5 more 6 furlong sprints to equal Secretariat ?  Uncle Mo needed to pad his resume with you by running sprints ?  The facts are not on your side MonicaV.  Uncle Mo won 2 G1 races by his 3rd race while going undefeated and Secretariat had lost 1 and won a Maiden and a Allowance.

14 Apr 2011 12:10 PM

Called out by Dray--OK

Since I rarely bet Synthetic I won't.

I commented the AR Derby was a no bet--so to pick it work be hypocritical--never tout something I wouldn't put (Real)money on myself.

I really like a claiming race on Friday but that would be obscure

Society's Chairman on top

Maker's Mark


Do I love it---no--- but

I think Working for Hops may run well making for bigger Ex and Tri--picking the 8yr old on top who will be well bet but not as short as he should be. The bottom horse- F.L. ran well in his Gulfstream race might prove me wrong but I believe he will be overbet and is worth taking a shot against.

An off topic reply to a dare.

Unlike you I am not as confident of my pic, nor knocking those who might disagree (and may be right) as the claimer selection but I will have "real money invested" -probably 1/10 of the $$$$ of other bet.

I loved Liberian Freighter last week and if the same challenge was made????-- but-- to be honest in the past tense I screwed up missing the exactor and Tri and only had a token win bet which barely showed a profit since I bet big exactors--and tri's made worse by the fact I thought Caracortado @ 3-5 was a joke.

14 Apr 2011 12:13 PM
Ted from LA

Mike from Michigan,

I recommend getting there early, go to the parking lot near Churchill and buy a 3rd floor clubhouse walk-around ticket.  Owners and horsemen tend to park in those attached lots and have extra tickets.  $200 face value, but you'll have a great time.  And it is worth the extra money.  Paddock is crowded, but you can get there easily.  If you score 3rd floor clubhouse there is a great balcony overlooking the paddock you'll be able to use.  Beers are $7 or 8 for 16 ounce.  Mint Juleps just as bad, but you get to keep the .25 cent glass with the names of all the Derby winners on it, which you will eventually break before getting it home. Bring your cash and be willing to spend it.  You'll get it all back at the window.

14 Apr 2011 12:18 PM

Draynay's anti-Secretariat propaganda is just to get a rise out of everyone.  He doesn't believe it.

The GI Infection in the bloodwork is enough for me.  Clear some space for me back on the Uncle Mo bandwagon.  Go Mo.

14 Apr 2011 12:34 PM

Maybe now Mo will be able to be his true self.  I don't know exactly what this infection means, but it was obviously debilitating in some way, perhaps at least to account for his lack of fight from the 8th pole home.  I thought that if they found something it might have been some kind of a blood count imbalance.  I’m not totally 100% in Moe’s corner.  I haven’t been, as there are other horses I like, but I sure hope that if it’s meant to be that Mo goes out and trounces the field and goes on to account for himself in the remaining TC races.  I still like Sway Away, Soldat and Brethren.  Just hope they are all safe and make it to the starting gate.

14 Apr 2011 12:55 PM
The Rock


Like 3 plays tomorrow 4/15 at 2 different tracks.

Oaklawn Race 9: This minor sprint stake has some speed contenders signed on. I think Borel on Philippe (7). Dance City, Saracen, & Elusive Deputy look to contest the pace & Calvin should be sitting 4th or 5th and pouncing late. 7/2 ML.

Race 10: Apple Blossom: Going to be really tough to beat Havre De Grace here. Race should set up for her as Switch and Belle Waiting should be making early moves on Absinthe Minded. See her looping the field and win going away. As much as I like Switch, her two turn races are not quite as impressive as her 1 turn races. Which is why I think the rail horse Absinthe Minded will be able to hold off those early moves but give way late to the fave with that 112lb impost. 11lb swing from the fave from last time and 7lbs less than Switch. 3-1 exacta

Keeneland: Race 1: Daily Double play. 7's wild. 7/7. More Discreet, son of Discreet Cat has some monster works and the outside post. Figure whomever Wesley Ward leaves in will be taking tons of play and hope to get a decent 3/1 on my horse. Temptation Bound in race 2 ran a good race 1st time out after being outrun early. She made an eye catching move around the turn and flattened out late but I love the switch to synthetic and should be ready to go 2nd time out. I'm good friends with the Asst Trainer who handled her at SA and she loves this horse. Hopefully the M/L price doesn't drop.

Time to cap for Saturday.

Jason, your thoughts on the Apple Blossom?

14 Apr 2011 1:21 PM
Mike Relva


You're nuts,as usual you put a horse down,to raise another. Nice work! Remember if Mo doesn't win and I've always stated he won't,you will have to live with all the "I told you so".

14 Apr 2011 1:24 PM
Criminal Type

LOL....Thank you DrayNeigh for that laugh, comparing Uncle Mo to Secretariat....Good one.

Secretariat raced 6 times as a 2 yr old and won 6 times, however he was disqualified from the win in the Champaign for interference with Stop The Music. He then raced 12 times as a 3 year old, winning 9 times while setting stakes, track and world records in the case of his Marlboro cup. Uncle Mo raced 3 times as a juvenile and has had, in my opinion, two weak performances as a 3 year old. Is the GI infection a good enough escuse for him lose a race?  It's as good a one as an abcess in the mouth. On that score at least Uncle Mo and Secretariat are even.

Uncle Mo has a LONG, LONG way to go to be compared to Secretariat.

On another note Dutrow, just got his court injunction to run Amen Halleluah(sic)and Court Vision.

14 Apr 2011 1:29 PM
Criminal Type

OOps Sorry, Dray, your right about the not so auspicious beginning to Secretariats career. Still, Mo aint no Big Red...yet. I think the point is You can't compare them, Uncle Mo is past the point where he can accomplish the things Secretariat did because he's no longer two. And, unless he can come close to accomplishing what Secretariat did as a three year old....well, good luck.

14 Apr 2011 1:41 PM

jayjay I am the ONLY one on this blog who is showing you some of his winners from Saturday.  I even posted my 400 dollar win ticket on my sure thing of the day.  Do me a favor and post some of your winning tickets from this Saturday like I did.  I'll wait.

Sniper, you couldn't handicap your way out of a wet paper bag.

14 Apr 2011 1:50 PM
Criminal Type

I am going to Pimlico tomorrow to watch Hard Spun's first runner..Her name is Filare L'oro and she's in the first race a 4.5 furlong MSW for 2 yr old fillies. Bring on those first crop babies...Hard Spun, Invasor, Street Sense, English Channel. This should be a very good crop.

14 Apr 2011 1:51 PM

Wow, you people can't focus at all.  I said UM was a better 2 year old than Secretariat.  The facts are on my side.  They even ran on the exact same track at the exact same distance and Mo was much much much faster.  Secretariat LOST TWICE as a 2 year old and UM was perfect including the 2 year old Championship.  But I guess UM should have ran 3 or 4 more sprints for you to believe he was better.  Give me a break.

14 Apr 2011 2:03 PM

Criminal Type---obviously you didn't check facts (I actually saw him run)--although it is on the web. Don't make him look smart. Big Red hardly won his first race or was 6 for 6. Matching the 2 are silly--being wrong on your post doesn't help your credibility.

14 Apr 2011 2:07 PM
Zen's Auntie

Joes Blazing Aaron in the Blue Grass.  This is a real racehorse - he will be DOMINANT on turf later but I suspect he will like the poly at K.  

The Factor might be Ground down by A3x but I still love to watch that easy efficient stride.

Oh and my FAVORITE older male Tackleberry will run in the 1M Charlestown he hates to lose and finds a way to win so often, I LOVE his gri.

Good luck to all God Bless and be safe!!

14 Apr 2011 2:09 PM
Matthew W

Smiling Tiger should win today at Oaklawn/am putting tigether a pick four there..as for Santa Anita, my friend turned me on to the place pick all bet--I played  Sat/Sun at Los Al--was 8 for 10 on a $16 ticket Sat (and gotpaid! $359) and was 7 for 9 on Sun on a $16 ticket but didn't get paid (8 for 9 paid $625)...over here I'm singling two longshots on the grass: Race 4 #4 Yes Its a Cat (6-1).....and race 6 #3 Highly Composed (12-1)....am playing a $48 place pick all ticket cuz I got the bug! Better at Los Al, where the pools are lower--when pools are lower they tend to pay more cuz there are less winning tickets....also easier to pick a place horse--you handicap things way different when you handicap to place--also love the 50 cent pick fours, love to bet a little/win a lot! I, too, like Elite Alex in Ark Derby--also think Archarcharch has a shot--will try to beat The Factor, but it's starting to look like he's a freak--highly unlikely he'll do it in Louisville, though--if he does, that would be a great accomplishment, for horse, jock, and trainer!

14 Apr 2011 2:13 PM

At least we now have a reason for him being dull.  I hope that they don't rush him to make the Derby but in their press release they  sounded like they will not run him if they think he is not 100%

14 Apr 2011 2:16 PM
Zen's Auntie

I see the Factor pulled the 3 hole ... Nice.

14 Apr 2011 2:49 PM

So now Uncle Mo has an infection and might be out????

I wanna know: how much do I have to have in earnings to make it into the starting gate on May 7th?

14 Apr 2011 3:08 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Mike from Michigan-  The Derby-It costs over $200 for one person just for beers alone. Then add another 50-100 bucks for shots. Then add another ten to twenty bucks for food just because you should eat something. Then you might have to buy a Mint Julep for your friend. It's not cheap but you can make up for it by hitting the 500k superfecta, or the 3,000,000 buck pick six. Even the Tri will usually pay for the drinks even with the fav in there. People like Ted From LA have spoiled the heck out of the valets so don't get upset when they still have their hand extended after you tip them 20 bucks. Save where you can. Shine your own shoes ahead of time, get a designated driver instead of taking a cab, skip the $1,000 mint juleps. Just bring a pack of Certs and drop one in a shot of whiskey is just as good.

14 Apr 2011 3:33 PM


Your arguments have not convinced anyone that Mo was a better 2 year old than Secretariat.  Mo hasn't raced as many times as Secretariat did nor did he win HOY for his 2 year old season.  He is a really nice horse but has much to prove.

Do you think he will break Secretariat's record in the Derby and the Belmont?  Think again.

14 Apr 2011 3:44 PM
Criminal Type

Well Sniper, I am so very glad you are Perfect in every way. Obviously you didn't see where I corrected myself before you posted your comment.

I actually did see Secretariat run in the Preakness. I was 12, my grandfather took me. I also saw Kelso run when I was 5 and met Native Dancer when I was 6.  

What Dray is not saying is how two of those "sprints" Secretariat won were grade I (laurel futurity grade I at that time and the Hopeful) races. The Champaign was the grade I race he finished second in.  How can you justify that Mo was a better two yr old then Secretariat when he ran one third as many races and won half as many ?  Oh, yea...Secretariat never had to run in an ungraded race at 3, he was better then that.

14 Apr 2011 5:03 PM

Please stop encouraging him.  

14 Apr 2011 5:45 PM
Paula Higgins

Uncle Mo is not Secretariat but he is a very good horse. Hopefully, the G.I. issue explains his finish in the Wood. He is still my Derby pcik unless The Factor sets the world on fire.

14 Apr 2011 5:51 PM

MonicaV, I was just comparing Uncle Mo to Secretariat at age 2.  At age 3 there are only two horses that were better than Secretariat at 3 and that was Citation and Rachel Alexandra.

14 Apr 2011 5:55 PM

Draynay, stop please.  The only thing you can possibly argue is that Mo's first three starts were better than Secretariat's first three starts.  That's it.  Their three year old campaigns are incomparable.  Secretariat's campaign and accomplishments at 2 are far more than Mo's.

I am one of the few on the blog who have great respect for you as a handicapper.  As a historian of race history, you leave alot to be desired.  It's a shame because I know you have great knowledge but something in you short circuits when discussing same.  Of course, you are entitled to your opinion on this issue but you are wrong.

14 Apr 2011 6:03 PM
Karen in Texas

Okay, to me Secretariat and Uncle Mo are not particularly similar in any way except that they were both champion 2 year olds. I'm sure there are any number of references both on the web and in paper form, but according to the BH's "Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century" publication, Secretariat started 9 times as a 2 year old; with 6 of those being stakes races. He recorded 7 wins and 1 place. The place was due to a disqualification from first in the Champagne. He lost his first race after being bumped at the start. He won the Futurity, Hopeful, Garden State Stakes, Sanford, and the Laurel Futurity as well as the Champagne, where the DQ subsequently occurred. I like Uncle Mo and appreciate Mike Repole as an owner and it would be great if Team Mo won the Derby. However, Mo at this point in time as a 3 year old, has not started nearly as many times as Secretariat did at the age of 2. Mo may prove himself to be as special as Secretariat, but until he has a Triple Crown and/or makes that infamous 2:24 fall, the two horses are simply not comparable.

14 Apr 2011 6:05 PM

RE:Secretariat In my own memory his race to win the triple crown in the Belmont is THE BEST race by a 3yo in the TC series ever.It was in 73 I think, I didnt follow horseracing then in my early teenage years,but I was already a sports fan.I remember he made the cover of SI.IMO the object of this sport is to win, and being undefeated is more important than a horses time in ONE race,eventhough in this case Secretariat was undefeated(at least in the TC)and put up a remarkable time and what I look at more than time of the race is,How many lengths did he win by,31 in the Belmont.A horse that wins by more than 3 lengths,in my book is a race in which a horse dominated,his competition.A lot goes into a fast time of a race mostly the pace of the frontrunners,spacing of the followers etc.Everyone should remember there is also a run-up distance before the timer is tripped,and one thing I would like to ad is this:In human track and field races all the middle distance races around at least one turn are started with a staggered start,so that each competitor will run the same distance.In horse racing how can You have an accurate race time when you dont know how far each horse has actually run,not to mention the bumping and cutting off.

14 Apr 2011 6:27 PM
Ted from LA

Dr. D,

All valid points... as usual.

14 Apr 2011 7:12 PM

Is there anybody on this board who thinks Uncle Mo can run a 2:26 in the Belmont? Is there anybody on this board who thinks Uncle Mo can run a 2:25 in the Belmont? Is there anybody who thinks Uncle Mo can duplicate a 2:24 in the Belmont........... No!

14 Apr 2011 7:29 PM

Run Astrology Run!!!!!!!!!!!

14 Apr 2011 7:32 PM
Jean in Chicago


Don't get your blood pressure up responding to Draynay.  He's the little kid who likes poking a stick into an anthill and laughing when they all come boiling out of the ground.  In other words, he may or may not actually believe what he says, but he loves to have everybody get upset and argue with him.  For his own good, don't feed his addiction.

14 Apr 2011 8:13 PM
Jean in Chicago

Mike Relva & JAJ:

 Please stop bickering and agree that Old Friends is worthy of everybody's support (see article in News).  Especially since the bank admits its their fault and Michael and the horses will be the ones suffering the consequences.

14 Apr 2011 8:22 PM
14 Apr 2011 8:33 PM

Draynay : Posting here and saying you won is not "showing" me...that's just like Billy saying he owns an empire.

Footlick : Being 100% depends on ones definition of it, that's the only thing I'm worried about with UM's situation.  My "100%" is most likely different than Todds and his is probably different from MikeR.  

Also, the 2 workouts prior to the Derby concerns me too.  Todd and MikeR's confidence on this horse is starting to get to me, they really believe he is a superhorse. Their confidence in him might just be enough to make me bet him in the Derby....nah, I'll let UM beat me :)

14 Apr 2011 10:16 PM

Why do you all still bother to read Draynay's posts?  For over a year now I have been checking  the posters name before reading the comment so I can ignore his stuff.  LOL

14 Apr 2011 10:18 PM
Paula Higgins

Everyone, Old Friends needs our help. They are in financial trouble due to a banking error made by the bank. See the article on the Bloodhorse home page on the right. If you all sent something, if your financial situation allows, we could make a difference. It'd for the horses.

14 Apr 2011 11:14 PM

Yesterday UM was 100% sound, today its a GI infection, tomorrow?

14 Apr 2011 11:36 PM


I'm not going to defend the SA Derby, it was what it was.

But the track last Saturday, and really for the last 10 days or so, was much slower.  I would say the track last Sat was 3-4 lengths slower than it had played for alot of the meet, and this is reflected in the fact the SA Derby received a 95 Beyer, when the Bob Lewis, with the same time, got a 90 or 91.  The SA Derby Beyer was also higher than the Beyer for the Wood, Florida Derby, Illinois Derby, and Louisiana Derby. Although they were all pretty bad, historically speaking.

And to think, it only took the track crew at Santa Anita 4/5ths of the meet to get a surface that didn't produce a track record every week or produce only wire to wire winners.

I feel sorry for the horses, trainers, and jockeys that had to go from Pro-Ride to a Turf Paradisesque dirt surface.

15 Apr 2011 12:52 AM
Matthew W

My $48 place pick all only garnered me 4 for 8--tough day---not as tough as the guy at Gulfstream--only one live ticket to 1.3 million pick six--and it's 12-1...leading by ten at head of stretch--still up by eight at the 1/8 pole--loses by one inch (if that much...)...that's a tough day---thought Smiling Tiger looked like something special today--think Switch will have her hooves full of Harve De Grace--also love the 'Margarita winner, Miss Match, who was at a disadvantage when she beat Switch that day--like harve/Miss Match for exacta/will also put a little bit of win $$ on Miss Match....ya think the racing world is hoping for The Factor to win big Sat? YA THINK?! After all of the upsets of late, and the injuries, think maybe The Factor will be tough to catch again--who's gonna go out  with him? Nobody, that's who!...And in the Derby--Baffert won't care, he's got two other colts who'll love him to set fast fractions...at any rate, I'll play a few thoroughbred races this weekend--but I'll stay close to Los Al, and my quarter horses, they're starting to race the two year olds, time for me to kick butt out there! haha, thanks to the quarter horses, where my system's working/and I'm not! haha, my favorite Bukowski quote!

15 Apr 2011 2:57 AM
Matthew W

Uncle Mo on BCup day ran well enough to finish third in the Classic--he towers above this crop--still, the Secretrariat inferrence--while Uncle Mo was exceptional in the Breeders Cup, Secretariat probably could've WON the Classic as a TWO year old--for real--that is what was thought of him, I was there (out here/Los Al) but everybody talked about Secretariat--nothing like Uncle Mo, who had/HAS huge distance questions--good? sure he is--very good--a ten furlong animal? We shall see--I will include him cuz he is the best animal--it's not close--but there are questions, and others are inticing me.....Secretariat's Wood was a tougher field--thus, far less shocking than was Uncle Mo's loss--that was a race vs virtually nothing--and he was beaten by two--no way do I believe that--it's a toss--I tossed Secretariat's losses for the same reasons--he was simply best--Uncle Mo was simply best--the loss is a toss....he's on my small list, along with Jaycito/Midnight Interlude--think this is a very weak batch--one of the weakest I can remember--the best race this weekend is the Charles Town Classic--very tough race! I have landed on three: Tackleberry (4-1)...Acclamation (10-1)....Inherit The Gold (8-1)...Tackleberry is 2 for 2 at the 1 1/8 distance, and 1 1/8 is a "specialty distance)---also he is red-hot, and has been working like a champ--inside post helps....Acclamation, a Cal bred, ran huge in his comeback, at 39-1, Gr I, was there right up to the last few jumps---has worked five times/total of thirty furlongs, or 6 fur avg...is dead-fit, comeback answered the question, if he still retains that GrI class--he does, draws inside, too--he's in, at a huge price, also Unusual Heat deserves to be on the world stage, as one of the premier sires on the planet--for moving up his mares like he does--for siring good horses--Acclamation is a contender to get all of the $$ Sat....Inherit The Gold, N Y bred, has passed the class test, now gets a distance he loves--should be right there/think he's the horse to beat.....all in all a really tough race/really nice race....

15 Apr 2011 3:58 AM
Matthew W

Joes Blazing Aaron is one nice colt--I, too, think he'll love Keeneland--I, too, think this will be Gomez's Derby horse....love a horse that will move into the pace early--then have tons left for the closers--he should like Keeneland better than grass, since it's easier to win that way on anything but turf--what I'm trying to say is: a horse that can run like that on grass--should, if he takes to it, run even better on synthetics.....

15 Apr 2011 4:12 AM
Matthew W

Gonna be a high Beyer # for Smiling Tiger--at any rate, it LOOKED special--race had the look of a great horse, speed it up and you'll really see that  move...it's true, speed the replays up to really see a horse's move--Smiling Tiger packs a wallop, to say the least--if they go for the Met Mile--lookout, they just may get the distance, the way Rosario has changed his style to a one run type, maybe he is a miler.....

15 Apr 2011 5:21 AM

Uncle Mo's intestinal infection is more proof why nobody should pay any attention to anything draynay ever says. There is absolutely no such thing as a "lock" to win any race. For the record Ruffian was a better 2 yr old than Mo and would have blown his socks off.

15 Apr 2011 8:49 AM

The Factor is another MO SMO clone!  You could not push either a 1 1/4 with Ford F150.  How dare Mike Battaglia make him premliminary favorite over Dialed In for the Derby.  There is only one horse that fits this years Derby and that is Dialed In.  He has the trainer, the breeding, the style and he is proven.  These othe bums won't know what hit em when he swoops by.  The only unknown is the possible sloppy track like previous years but I don't think that will matter either.

15 Apr 2011 10:35 AM
Billy's Empire

Jayjay, my handle is in reference to one of my favorite horse's, Empire Maker. But thanks for thinking about me. I can tell you care...

So, I wonder what effect the GI Infection had on Mo? Was he dehydrated b/c he had the runs. Was he clogged up like he ate too much cheese? I wonder if it was an upper of lower GI tract infection. Maybe he just had heart burn from reading all of this negative garbage on his blogs?

15 Apr 2011 10:42 AM


Thanks for the Article on Old Friends, I did my part hope more follow.  If everyone loves horses  it is an easy donation. We need to worry about what happens after racing.  I have read a lot from some people with big hearts on here and many blogs. Horse Racing fans are much more than just gamblers. I honestly believe that. The bank should eat that mistake.

15 Apr 2011 10:59 AM
Mike Relva


Question? Have you visited Lanes End yet?

15 Apr 2011 11:07 AM
Mike Relva


I agree regarding Old Friends,I've donated  there.

15 Apr 2011 11:14 AM
Billy's Empire

Mike, not yet bud. Soon though. There is a lot going on right now with the Spring Sales at Keeneland, Keeneland's meet etc. I will make sure I take pictures...

15 Apr 2011 11:33 AM
Mike Relva



15 Apr 2011 12:27 PM
40 year santa anita guy


15 Apr 2011 1:05 PM

Matthew W.  Looks like No Cal based Jeff Bonde has a nice one.  Smiling Tiger...could be the next Lost in the Fog.

15 Apr 2011 1:16 PM

Hmmmmm about posting tickets

I cash mine in so I don't have them to post.

(Only one who truly knows how I do on a "year" --not one bet--is my bank acct--the people near me and friends couldn't tell if I have $1000 bet or a $0.10 quick pick super---only thing I might mutter watching a race is whispering under my breathe for jock to go outside not for the hole or reverse et. Never thought screaming or boasting necessary--doesn't help a horse run or put money in your pocket)

Derby is fun but upping your wager for on one particular race because it is famous--that's not a way to gamble-- not if you are serious in my mind--again I can be wrong because I am not perfect. I think I have forgotten more than the pompous one has ever learned ---but--8-5 on Big Brown is a few years ago and his still rests his hat there---The only bets I ever really talk about is my $2000 win bet on a $31 horse and $5000 (my biggest bet ever) on on of my own horses that lost-ran second---This story--mainly because of the humor--- Some guy was yelling how the jockey stiffed him next to me when I watched the race (I had $400 bet for the jock)--True story--I showed him my name and that it was my horse and he was an all out go--- and that he just got beat because he was second best --told him I/jock certainly was trying to win--but he like someone else-he knew better- and said the jock pulled him. I shared with 2 others a pick six for $70K (split 3 ways) but consider that sort of a fluke bet although I insisted on including a $22 winner on the ticket.

Uncle Mo is just the latest version of Quality Rd someone said was the Horse of the Century--Wonder who?

Let him (Mo) win and never lose again--we need a superstar-good for racing. Not EGOS.

15 Apr 2011 1:24 PM
Mike Relva

I give MO an excuse for last race,but he's up against it for the Derby.

15 Apr 2011 4:16 PM

"At age 3 there are only two horses that were better than Secretariat at 3 and that was Citation and Rachel Alexandra."

Draynay, I will not insult your limited intelligence by pretending that you believe what you just said.

15 Apr 2011 6:36 PM

Criminal Type:  you actually got to MEET Native Dancer!?! How lucky you are!!!!!

15 Apr 2011 9:38 PM

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