Kentucky Derby favourite Uncle Mo made an auspicious return to action in the LR Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.
Under regular rider John Velazquez, the Todd Pletcher colt easily secured the early lead, turned back the game challenge of Rattlesnake Bridge (Tapit) and then kicked away to a near four length victory.
Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) was making his first start since his conquest of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November.
“It’s the first time in four months that I’ve taken a deep breath,” said a relieved owner Mike Repole. “But when you have the best trainer in the world and he tells you how good this horse is, you’ve got to trust him.”
Pletcher was pleased with his star pupil. “It’s great to get over this hurdle. He was the Kentucky Derby favourite going in and he’s the Derby favourite coming out.”
Now a perfect four-for-four, Uncle Mo first drew attention when a 14 length winner on debut at Saratoga. He stepped straight into the G1 Champagne Stakes and romped in by four lengths before another four panel triumph in the Breeders’ Cup.
Bred in Kentucky, Uncle Mo was a $160,000 Keeneland November 2008 weanling and a $220,000 Keeneland September 2009 yearling. He is the third registered foal out of the multiple stakes-placed Playa Maya (Arch).
His sire Indian Charlie (In Excess) stands for a $70,000 fee at Airdrie Stud in Kentucky. He was a G1 winner of the 1998 Santa Anita Derby and was third home in that year’s Kentucky Derby behind Real Quiet and Victory Gallop.
Uncle Mo will continue his Run for the Roses in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9. Owner Mike Repole also races last start G3 Gotham Stakes winner Stay Thirsty (Bernardini) who is also targeting the Twin Spires on May 7.