Comparatively Speaking - By Evan Hammonds

 

 (Originally published in the March 19, 2011 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions at the bottom of the column.

By Evan Hammonds  

By Evan Hammonds The legend grows for Mike Repole’s Uncle Mo. His 2-year-old campaign and decisive 3-year-old debut against a marginal field of sophomores March 12 in the newly created Timely Writer Stakes continues to draw comparisons to that of mighty Seattle Slew.

Both Seattle Slew and Uncle Mo ran through brief but brilliant 2-year-old campaigns, with each making three starts. In the pre-Breeders’ Cup era, Slew’s 9 3⁄4-length cakewalk in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) was more than enough for him to be named champion juvenile male of 1976. Uncle Mo’s three afternoon appearances in 2010 made it pretty clear he’s head and shoulders above the competition.

Seattle Slew made his first outing at 3 March 9, 1977, at Hialeah, getting seven furlongs in 1:20 3⁄5; Uncle Mo finished his one-turn mile win in 1:36.56 with a fantastic :22 4⁄5 final quarter. Slew went on to win the Flamingo Stakes (gr. I) and Wood Memorial (gr. I) before being sent off the 1-2 favorite in the Kentucky Derby.

Uncle Mo’s Timely Writer win brought to mind another champion’s Derby preparations from more than a quarter century ago: Chief’s Crown.

Carl Rosen’s homebred Chief’s Crown didn’t make his way through his 2-year-old season unbeaten but did win six of nine starts, and his victory in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) over Tank’s Prospect and Spend a Buck in November 1984 made him an easy choice for champion 2-year-old male.

A virus caused a minor setback in Chief Crown’s training in South Florida in early 1985 but the colt from Danzig’s first crop was tearing a hole in the South Florida wind in late February under jockey Don MacBeth, working six furlongs in 1:12, galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25. And as Todd Pletcher did earlier this season, trainer Roger Laurin found a brand new race in Gulfstream Park’s condition book—the Swale Stakes—and figured that was a good place to start.

While Gulfstream’s management created the $100,000 Timely Writer to fit Uncle Mo’s needs, in order to lure Chief’s Crown the pot for the Swale had to be sweetened from $30,000 to $50,000 for the March 2 race.

Chief’s Crown, like Uncle Mo, pulled away in the stretch for his 3-year-old debut against a “mediocre group.” That group, however, included eventual Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Creme Fraiche, whom Chief’s Crown beat by 31⁄4 lengths.

Elevated to first after finishing second to Proud Truth in the Flamingo Stakes (gr. I), Chief’s Crown got in his final prep for the trip to the Twin Spires with a 51⁄2-length romp as the 3-10 favorite in Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), at the time run nine days before the Derby.

Chief’s Crown finished third as the 6-5 favorite in the Derby and holds the distinction of being one of three horses to be the beaten favorite in all three races in the Triple Crown. Eight years earlier Seattle Slew had torn through the competition to be the first unbeaten winner of the Triple Crown.

Uncle Mo seems to have added more distance between him and the rest of the pack, based on the results of the other two preps over the weekend at Tampa Bay Downs and Santa Anita. We’re rooting for Uncle Mo to join Slew’s exclusive club. We’ve always been more partial to the ’70s than to the ’80s.


Masters of the Obvious

Regarding the four-month investigation into the Life At Ten debacle during last year’s Breeders’ Cup (see page 729), it appears obvious to us that some sanctions should be brought against both jockey John Velazquez and John Veitch, chief steward for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Despite the “chilling” implications predicted by Velazquez’ lawyer, Maggi Moss, it’s common sense for a jockey who comments on national television that his horse is not warming up correctly to mention that to the veterinarians on the racetrack.

In turn, following the exchange between Velazquez and ESPN analyst and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey and Life At Ten’s subseqent last-place finish while showing no interest in running in the Ladies’ Classic (gr. I), it’s common sense the mare should have been sent to the test barn. The fact she wasn’t is inexcusable.

We’ll await the report from the state’s hearing officer and be interested in what recommendations—if any—are handed down in the way of penalties. For the sake of public perception, let’s hope the results make common sense.

65 Comments

Leave a Comment:

needler in Virginia

A couple of questions, please. If the "sanctions" imposed on both  Velazquez and Veitch are appropriate, then WHERE in all this does the responsibility of the trainer disappear? Pletcher was seen, on national TV, discussing the mare with a reporter BEFORE the race, and he said he had thought her behavior in the saddling area very quiet, or unusually quiet, or words along those lines. He did admit she was behaving unusually, but thought nothing of it. Who are we kidding here? Pletcher wasn't sanctioned because he had just won the Eclipse Award. As far as I'm concerned trainers are where the buck stops. How many owners are thrilled to hear their jockey, without consulting the trainer or a vet,  has just gate-scratched their horse? While the jock is, indeed, the guy who probably knows the horse best, it's the trainer who should make those decisions. Clearly, Pletcher was remiss in the handling of Life at Ten and he should be held responsible for what could laughingly be called her "race". And, why on Earth didn't Pletcher DEMAND the mare be tested right then?

And, as an aside, what happened with Quality Road, another Pletcher trained horse? Was that the horse we've grown to know? Was that the performance we've come to expect from him?

No cheers for anyone today...........

15 Mar 2011 11:14 AM
LongStoryTB

Love your work!

In regards to Life at Ten, is the trainer not accountable as well? While I do understand Mr Velazquez must accept responsibility, I think the majority of blame rests on the trainers shoulders. Am I totally wrong?

15 Mar 2011 12:04 PM
Carlos in Cali

Comparatively speaking... there's a big difference.Both Seattle Slew and Chief's Crown had (3)preps before the Derby and (2)of them were @ 1 1/8.

UM will only have a paid gallop-out and (1) race @ 1 1/8 before the Derby,will that be enough conditioning? Not for my money.

15 Mar 2011 1:28 PM
Patrick

I think your memories of the 1985 Flamingo are a little fuzzy. Chief's Crown beat Proud Truth by a length, was disqualified by the stewards for alleged intereference, then was re-instated the winner after an appeal to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

15 Mar 2011 1:44 PM
Rachel

Seattle Slew is still the ONLY unbeaten winner of the Triple Crown...;-)

15 Mar 2011 2:51 PM
karen williams

I thing it is way too soon to compare Uncle MO to the great Seattle Slew....I watched his last race Sat and until he runs against top horses I will take a wait and see...

I really dont think he will get the distance in the Derby and we will see when he has to face really good horses like Premier Pegasus, Stay Thirsty and more....

15 Mar 2011 4:31 PM
TomF

I agree w/ Needler - why no questions about Quality Road? Yes, "that's horse racing", but it seems a bit odd.

15 Mar 2011 5:03 PM
lunar spook

may be a tad early for those type cofessions , lets wait till hes tested a little more

15 Mar 2011 5:12 PM
tony volu

what caused the horse to not run?give us the answer it wasnt the jock or the steward.dah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

15 Mar 2011 5:26 PM
Dutch

A more apt comparison to Uncle Mo might be Devil's Bag, who was also brilliant and undefeated as a juvenile. Devil's Bag was easily one of the best juveniles I've ever seen, so it was a shock when he finished up the track as a sophomore in the Flamingo Stakes. Even though he won his next two starts, he couldn't match the brilliance of his spectacular juvenile campaign.

We'll see what happens with Uncle Mo, but I'm skeptical that he can win the Derby with his light foundation. However, just as Swale ended up winning the Derby for Woody Stephens, maybe second-stringer Stay Thirsty can do the same for Todd Pletcher.

15 Mar 2011 6:02 PM
Junie Wise, Rocky Road Farm

I think that right after her race at The Breeders Cup "John-the Bald" should have DEMANDED some kind of Investigation!!!!..

The Betting Public Deserves better,plus we should not have to wait till Churchill Downs Spring Meet opens for a answer!!!!!

15 Mar 2011 7:01 PM
Spa Flat Rat

The Chief rebounded with an awesome effort in The Travers that year.

15 Mar 2011 7:24 PM
Z Fan

Thank you Needler for bringing up Quality Road's performance in the Classic.  Makes one wonder about the water at the Fletcher barn that day.  

I agree with all your points, the bottom line is the trainer is in charge at the end of the day.

15 Mar 2011 7:31 PM
EUGENE LEVEY

You comparing MO to Seattle Slew at this rime???  Thats a joke..

RE: LIFE AT  TEN

   Its The JOCKS responsibility to take the horse to the gate where the VET is  & thats the end of  the story..

15 Mar 2011 8:18 PM
Evs

So are we just giving the triple crown to Unlce Mo??? Seems every article i read is leaning that way...

15 Mar 2011 8:26 PM
Max

It is  much too early to compare Uncle Mo to Seattle Slew.The colts in the Timely Writer  were little more than

allowance class.I have doubts at this stage that he will be effective at 11/4 in May.Re Life at Ten; even if the jockey or trainer did not report a problem the stewards should have had the horse tested. This was a highly fancied mare running a very bad race. I have come to the conclusion that CDI cuts corners to save money.I was at the breeders cup when Fleet Indian broke down and the excuse was that they did not have a second ambulance.

15 Mar 2011 9:12 PM
edhswift

Please. look at the breeding. Indian Charlie's progeny have an average winning distance of 6.6 furlongs.

Does anyone really think he can win at the Derby Distance. I say NO!

He's a very bad bet .

15 Mar 2011 9:13 PM
Looseonthelead

Have any of you clowns bothered to notice the efficiency or length of stride this horse has?!?  Its as if he spends more time in the air than on the ground!  I have no doubt he can run any distance he'll ever be asked.  I'd be more concerned about him staying sound.  Otherwise we're looking at the most serious TC threat since possibly Spectacular Bid!

15 Mar 2011 9:59 PM
John A

Seattle Slew was a brilliant horse

Mo in no way those he come even close

but time will tell us what kind of horse Mo really is.

15 Mar 2011 10:16 PM
Jodie

Uncle Mo has not won one single Triple Crown race yet.  So how can you compare him to the great Seattle Slew.  Frankly am wondering if Mo will be able to win the Derby the way Pletcher is prepping him.

15 Mar 2011 10:27 PM
Paula Higgins

I like Todd Pletcher. But frankly I have to agree with those that say the trainer is also responsible and he did sense something wasn't quite right. I also understand the pressure to run them. I just don't think Velazquez and Veitch are solely responsible. There is enough blame to go around. I don't think anyone should be sanctioned. Instead, send a letter to all involved and state that the bottom line is the safety and health of the horse and they failed in their responsibility. Believe me, they won't do it again. No one wants to receive a letter like that. Ultimately, no harm occured to the horse.

As for Uncle Mo, I am a major fan but wel will know more after the Wood. I am hoping he likes the distance.

15 Mar 2011 10:31 PM
John

Evan,

At the beginning of the year the original comparisons were between Uncle Mo and another brilliant horse that used Florida races as a springboard to greatness.

That all went out the window when Uncle Mo's connections decided to run him in a subpar, ungraded stakes race against $600 entered maiden winners going a mile with less than two months to the Derby, or in others words, a paid workout.

Now try to compare that with Spectacular Bid, whom in 1979, raced and won the Hutcheson, Fountain Of Youth, Flamingo, Florida Derby and then the Blue Grass all before the Derby.

15 Mar 2011 11:01 PM
Jeremy

Hard for me to get on the Uncle Mo bandwagon. I like him but I am not sure he will be conditioned enough. Everyone doubts Indian Charlie but everyone seems to forget that Indian Charlie was sired by In Excess who ran 1:58 4/5 at the derby distance. In Excess was a good horse who was able to sprint (He also won the Met Mile that year defeating Champion Sprinter HouseBuster) so I wouldnt say its a complete longshot if Uncle Mo manages to win, we'll see what happens.

16 Mar 2011 12:06 AM
Nightwatch

Evan Hammond, I do believe 'tis a little early to compare "Uncle Mo" to "Seattle Slew".  It's a long, long way from here to there.

16 Mar 2011 12:17 AM
Draynay

22 4/5 is very impressive but everyone needs to remember he did it easy in a hand ride.  The horse is in tune with the rider there is no wasted movement.  What's old is new again.  This horse is a dominant one much like the famous ones from the 1970's.  Mo is your 2011 Derby winner.

16 Mar 2011 1:07 AM
Dawn in MN

What is your opinion on Uncle Mo's lead changes?  It looked as if he was changing leads willy nilly.  Does it matter?

About Life at Ten...first, I was horrified that they would even put her in the gate.  

Second, tony volu brings up a good point...nobody ever answered the question, what was wrong with her?  That is the real question.  The trainer's weak excuse was not the opinion of a veterinarian.  What did her vet say?

Third, That incident is not served by penalizing the jockey.  His only fault was commenting to the reporter that she seemed off.  If he got off the horse at that point what kind of trouble would he have been in with the owner/trainer team?  It seems to me that he was under considerable pressure to keep moving forward to the gate.

16 Mar 2011 5:52 AM
Rachel

Tony Volu has the best post I've seen...

16 Mar 2011 6:15 AM
Luiz

Ths jockey should have reported to the stewards or to the trainer.

What about all bets placed on the mare.

The bettors certainly did not get a good run for their money.

16 Mar 2011 7:04 AM
JerseyBoy

Evan:

You wrote:

"it appears obvious to us that some sanctions should be brought against both jockey John Velazquez.."

I suggest you heed the lawyer's comments. If Velazquez is penalized you leave the jockeys with this option. Before the start of every  race tell the vets "I am  not too happy with the way my horse is warming up but I will ride him anyway". This will transfer the burden to the vets. It is a purely defensive measure. But if you think it is far-fetched, look up Defensive Medicine in Wikipedia.

Now suppose the jockeys begin this practice in the month of May at Churchill Downs. Have you considered  what could occur?

16 Mar 2011 7:48 AM
JON

The comparisons of Uncle MO to Seattle Slew are fair. The Timely Eriter was a paid workout, but the fractions he set were faster each quarter, especially the final quarter which went in 22.87, so he only has to go 1/8 of a mile more to win the Derby. Comparisons to Premier Pegasus are silly, since the final quarter in the San Felipe was 31 and change. That meant that the early fractions taxed Premier Pegasus, who staggered home ahead of the collapsing pace. Had that been Mo, the result would have been Mo and everyone else.

Since Mo runs each quarter faster, then let's compare him to another horse, Secretariat, who ran 4th in his first start to Herbull (remember him?). Secretariat won his Belmont with each successive quarter faster than the preceding one.

By the way, this panic people have over the need for a slew (pun intended) of races prior to a top race is misplaced. Man O' War ran his FIRST start in 1920 in The Preakness. That was an amazing feat, considering the tracks of those days.

Someone commented in an earlier post that Mo hasn't grown over the winter. He has. He's more controlled, has the same tactical speed he showed last year, and versatility needed to win on or off the pace. He also knows what he needs to do, and does it.

The Beyer for The Timely Writer was 89, pedestrian for Uncle Mo, but then, much of that was due to the slow pace in a glorified workout. I would be curious to see what the Beyer was for the gallop out. The difference between the San Felipe and The Timely Writer was that while Mo had faster quarters and controlled the pace, Premier Pegasus lacked that control, regardless of what the result looked like. Premier Pegasus looked brilliant, but the time shows otherwise. Take a look at Donnaguska's maiden race to see a similar turn of foot. But, like the San Felipe, the pace collapsed.

What now? Uncle Mo is the real deal, and those who take him on will join the list of colts who tried, but failed to beat him. The penalty for trying, is that the colts face injury trying to keep up. I believe that Mo will sweep the Triple Crown, that he is a once in a lifetime colt, and those who deride his abilities can watch the Wood Memorial as he is tested and prevails enroute to The Derby.

16 Mar 2011 8:55 AM
Jon

I agree that a more apt comparison of Mo is with Devil's Bag.  Let's put Stay Thirsty in the role of Swale.  Mo's first three races do seem comparable to Slew's first three.  Their fourth race is not.  Slew set a track record and went head to head with a speedball in very fast fractions before putting him away easily.  Mo had a paid workout.  He may be good, but we also may never know.  His handlers seem all for making his path to the Derby as easy as possible...to keep him fresh, no doubt.  They'll probably put him in whichever race comes up the easiet...the Wood or the Florida Derby.  And they'll put Stay Thirsty in the other.  Let's ease up on the Slew comparisons.  

16 Mar 2011 9:43 AM
The Fish

I wouldn't compare Mo to Secretariat because he doesn't always run his races like that where he builds faster each quarter.  But he does have a great ability to dole out his blazing speed whenever its needed.  He can run an opening half mile in 45 and change and still come home in 24 and change.  But he showed a new dimension in the Writer, being able to relax and come flying home.  He has speed and can use it whenever Johnny asks for it.

Also, I don't think distance is a problem.  He looks like he can carry that speed, he has such an efficient stride.  Kind of reminds me of Cigar, in that he has a great stride and tactical speed to use when needed. I think as long as MO breaks well in the derby and stays healthy he will win the derby.  If he wins the derby, I think he will win the triple crown.  

16 Mar 2011 10:29 AM
Bocephus

I (like most racing historians) DESPISE all of this premature comparisions to racing immortals like Secretariat, Seattle Slew, etc.  Uncle Mo has won 4 races and never even run beyond 8 1/2 furlongs yet.  Lets wait until the Triple Crown and beyond before labeling him "great" or comparing to horses that deserve adjectives like that...

16 Mar 2011 10:55 AM
Sue M.

Never been a fan of Pletcher. I used to like Quality Road but under Pletcher QR suffered a streaky, strange career, with on-and-off issues. Then the Life at Ten debacle.... There's enough smoke for me to think there's fire somewhere. It's the trainer's responsibility (in my mind), but everyone around the mare dropped the ball. I like Uncle Mo, but his trainer is...Pletcher. Mo seems to do everything easily, but I'll save the comparisons to Slew until after Mo's next prep. Everyone is questioning his ability to get the Derby distance, but even if he does, what about the Belmont? Without having Beyers handy to compare, he could be another Smarty Jones type. (Although his Beyers thus far, for all I know, might be well above SJ's at that age. Haven't done a comparison.)

16 Mar 2011 11:17 AM
Max

It is strange that some people are already conceding the triple crown to MO before he even gets to the Derby.You have to win the derby before you have a chance at the triple crown.

16 Mar 2011 11:23 AM
Sue M.

To further clarify.... I was not making an EXACT comparison of Uncle Mo to SJ, just saying he could be a very talented colt, but unable to go the distance (of 1 1/2 miles).

16 Mar 2011 11:37 AM
EQUINE PAPARAZZI

This horse will be tough up to the first Saturday in May.

But, ain't no son of Indian Charlie going to win the Derby.

And as i understand this Triple Crown thing, you really need that Derby first.

16 Mar 2011 12:02 PM
Pegasus Fan

As far as what I have seen and heard about this Uncle Mo...he seems like a very nice horse with a lot of talent, but with a trainer like Pletcher making bad decisions, its worth questioning if UM will even be sound enough to run the Derby. Personally, I have my bets on Premier Pegasus or Sway Away. I also really like Elite Alex.

16 Mar 2011 2:02 PM
Pedigree Ann

Quality Road had not had a race since the first weekend in September, 8 weeks out from the BC. First strike against him. He had not raced at 10f since the JC Gold Cup of 2009. Strike two. There were other quality front-end runners in the race. Strike three and he's out. Quality Road was a) unfit to go 10f in the BC Classic and b) going to have pace pressure; anybody who could read the PPs should have seen it. No need for an investigation, unless you are an owner who wants to know why Pletcher ran him without a proper prep.

16 Mar 2011 2:42 PM
Lady Valtaya

I think Uncle Mo is adorable!! But I do think it is too early in his career to compare him to Slew.

I'm not sure a son of Indian Charlie can take the Derby, but if one does I think Mo is the one who will do it. ^_^

16 Mar 2011 3:03 PM
Mary

It was the Derby in which Secretariat ran each quarter faster than the one before, not the Belmont, right?

16 Mar 2011 3:13 PM
Zenyatta John

Please -

There no way on Gods green Earth to compare Seattle Slew and Uncle Mo. Let's let Mo get 10 furlongs, come back in two weeks and get 1 3/16, then see where on the track at Belmont he is when the 12 furlongs hits him square in the head.

Johnny V should be arrested for "Altering the outcome of a sporting event." He cost innocent people millions of dollars. His lawyer Maggie Moss called him a scapegoat. I call him guilty of activity that could be convinced as criminal.  

16 Mar 2011 3:58 PM
Robin from Maryland

If the horse didn't feel right to JV, than it was his responsibility to report that to the stewards and vet.  Thank God she didn't breakdown and/or fall during the race.  JV could have potentially put alot of lives in jeopardy.  Again, thankfully nothing happened.  I like Uncle Mo - but the first saturday in May is a long way away.  Too bad TP is the trainer.  

16 Mar 2011 4:08 PM
The Fish

A son of Indian Charlie absolutely could get the Derby.  They used to think the same about Elusive Quality, Distorted Humor,  etc.  

Smarty Jones could get the Belmont distance as well it's ridiculous to say he couldn't.  Think, if Birdstone did not enter that race SJ would have won by 8 lengths. Any horse can get the distance if you go slow enough, cough, Drosselmeyer, cough.  A true Belmont Horse is one like Point Given, or Afleet Alex, or of course, the immortal Secretariat.  

Pletcher is a great trainer who sometimes overestimates his horses abilities ala Quality Road, who the Classic distance was too far for him. He made a mistake with Life at Ten but he's always before erred on the side of caution with his horses in the past.

16 Mar 2011 4:10 PM
Zenyatta fan

If I had a lot of money right now to race horses at the top level, Pletcher is the last trainer I would send my horses to.  Don't crown Uncle Mo yet.  Not enough bottom to win any of the TC races and not going to get it either with walk overs like the Timely Writer.  What a joke for a top contender.

16 Mar 2011 4:19 PM
the_wiz

Comparisons to Premier Pegasus are silly, since the final quarter in the San Felipe was 31 and change.

JON 16 Mar 2011 8:55 AM

JON did you go to the draynay school of math? Where in the world did you come up with a final 1/4 in 31 and change for PP in the San Felipe? PP ran his 6f in 1:09 and change and finished his 1 1/16 in 1:41.2. That's finishing his last 1/4 in around 24.8 which is a very nice finish after blazing

fractions. Uncle Mo needs to pick it up to reach that level as his best 1 1/16 is 7 lengths behind that time. Perhaps you thought the race was only a mile?  

16 Mar 2011 4:38 PM
no mo mo

I compare Uncle Moe to Favorite Trick and Arazi. A speedy 2 yr old with questionable distance limitations.

16 Mar 2011 4:39 PM
joe c.

I was a huge fan of Slew's from his Champagne on.  I recall the unfair knocks against him by Arcaro (after Slew's dynamite 3-year old debut and impressive Flamingo), faint praise by Cosell after the Derby (he missed that bad start from the gate), and Pete Axthelms post Preakness mea culpa "Nothing Left To Knock."  I recall trainer Billy Turner in Slew's ESPN bio saying he backed off training for the Wood- thought if he's going to be beaten it will be in the Wood.  I only know how very much I enjoyed that ride with Slew in '77, and two starts now before the Derby isn't nearly as much fun for a fan to follow!

16 Mar 2011 4:56 PM
Early Speed

Uncle Mo still has something to prove to me before I can consider him to be a serious Derby contender...he needs a two turn race, and a race longer than a mile and a sixteenth before I will be convinced he can go the distance.

16 Mar 2011 10:55 PM
Matthew W

Medium sized, runs head low, has major speed but can rate...super impressive if not suspect at 1 1/4---reminds me of Snow Chief, who did win at 1 1/4 in the Jersey Derby--just not in the Kentucky Derby--methinks they would rather The Factor not make it into the gate--they don't want to stalk a fast pace, as Snow Chief did....

16 Mar 2011 11:30 PM
cat thief

bellamy road, eskendereya or war emblem, smarty jones, only a few weeks and we'll know which.

16 Mar 2011 11:48 PM
mike s

joe c., right on, i also remember arcaro saying slew was washed out going into gate at derby and didn't have a chance. sorry eddie, slew was one of all time greats and look what he's done for breeding. please save any comparisions to slew for 30 years from now.

17 Mar 2011 6:08 AM
Sue M.

Regardless of bloodlines or even how a horse is trained, the horse that wins the Triple Crown has to be great, and great on those 3 days. To me, that's an intangible that can't be predicted. You can see horses that (at this stage) may show glimpses of it, but it's all guesswork at this point. You could say about the TC winners, they were all "one of a kind" horses, so to speak. And their legends grew as the series went on. They have to be extremely versatile and also have some luck along the way, too (no injuries, or even minor health issues, etc.)

17 Mar 2011 9:36 AM
Malcolm

Let's not forget Smarty Jones's trainer needed a "rest" after the Preakness and instead of going right to Belmont, he sent him back to Philadelphia as he "rested" for a few days and did not bring him to New York until 2 days before. Also the jock, who did not ride at Belmont, had no idea when to move and pulled the trigger way to early.

Trainers do make the most difference.Todd Pletcher always believes fresh is better than fit. That attitude usually will fail him.

17 Mar 2011 9:54 AM
The Fish

If you think Premier Pegasus' San Felipe is 7 lengths faster than Uncle Mo than I think you are missing a very basic understanding between track variants on Santa Anita and Churchill Downs on Breeders cup day. Santa Anita is souped up to produce unreal fast time.  

Churchill Downs plays a little bit more evenly except for Derby day in 2001 and 2005.  

If you are into Beyers, or Ragozin, or Thorographs, Uncle Mo is much above Premier Pegasus and on Breeders Cup day actually had one of the best performances minus Goldikova. His sheet numbers were even superior to Blame and Zenyatta.  

17 Mar 2011 10:09 AM
Eric rickard

Uncle Moe could be special. Let us wait and see.

I despise this two race before trend. They might peak for the Derby; but not the T. C.  As for P. Peg, looksold school.

7 f, than 1/1/16, than 1 1/8. Than the derby. Let's hope so.

As for Life at Ten, jokes all around. I agree with others about Pletcher.

As for Indian Charlie , he ran a credible 3 rd in the Derby. He also won the Santa Anita Derby. Only time will tell.

As for Quality Road. He should have run better; at least until the mile and an 1/8.

17 Mar 2011 10:13 AM
Anna

Fun column! I do think we can compare Mo to the greats...not saying we rank him there yet. But weren't his recent fractions faster and faster as the race went on like Secretariat's Derby? Still he galloped out in 1:49...so he'd have to do an 11 or better the last eighth at Churchill to break the 2:00 mark ...but we can root for him! Go Mo! ...hey "No Mo" - Arazi had a bone chip removed before the Derby if I remember correctly so he was medically tampered with. I don't think that's a good comparison at all.

17 Mar 2011 12:42 PM
Luis Lezama

Uncle Mo parece tener una combinación de velocidad (Indian Charlie) y resistencia (Arch). Es un gran caballo. Las 4 carreras suman 27 cuerpos de ventaja sobre sus rivales. Los trabajos en Florida han sido todos muy buenos.

Seguró ganará el Wood, KD and Preakness, pero los 2.400 m del Belmont se harán realidad si Affirmed lo permite.-

17 Mar 2011 10:22 PM
Luis Lezama

Uncle Mo tiene una combinación de velocidad (Indian Charlie) y resistencia (Arch). Seguro ganará el Wood, KD, Prreakness pero el Belmont lo logrará si Affirmed lo permite.-

17 Mar 2011 10:25 PM
anita

there have been too many times in the past where a trainer/jockey felt horse wasn't right and the stewarts refused to scratch said horse. sothe stewarts are too blame--why not scratch-especially in a race like the breeder's cup. but the stewarts won't. thank heaven that life at ten didn't get hurt.

18 Mar 2011 2:56 PM
eightbelles5308

ok first off in my own opinion comparing any horse to a horse of another era year or decade is a no no making comparisons about their campaigns is not a mortal sin please no one will ever be the next seattle slew or secreatariat or ruffian or rachel or zenyatta but i think mr hammonds is just noting similarities (sorry if my spelling is off) i love Uncle Mo i think he is a really nice horse do i think he can win the triple crown sure i do i also thought war emblem could and smarty and real quiet but they didn't. i think mr repole is good for this sport as is the mosses he thinks about the fans he is exciting and so is MO we are in dire need to end this triple crown drought and i hope Mo can do this as for getting the distance no one thought big brown could do it because his sire was a sprinter but he did. so we wont know until the race is run and over. I will keep hoping this is the year and if it isn't well there is always next year. The life at ten situation is a total disaster i think the jockey trainer and track vet should all be held accountable for the mare's horrible race i am just glad that nothing worse came out of it and she is still alive. Here is to hoping for another great year of racing we need a new cover girl/boy for racing maybe we will get both who knows

18 Mar 2011 4:43 PM
Zenyatta John

Hey Trebloc -

Wheres Cal Nation now!  HA! Beaten at 1/5. Hope you were all in!

19 Mar 2011 1:59 PM
Phil

Just watch Slew's Jockey Club Gold Cup against Affirmed- That would have been the end of Uncle MO

21 Mar 2011 12:57 PM
south carolina

lets not give the Derby away yet,theres alot of good horses out there.Great admirer of slew and big red and dont forget Native Dancer,he barely missed. so lets give um achance to prove himself worthy to compared to these horses

21 Mar 2011 4:32 PM
Tina

Hi Evan, great research!  Also my favorite photo of Slew.  What do you think about Premier Pegasus?  Tina

22 Mar 2011 3:36 AM

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