Uncle Mo was “perfect,” according to trainer Todd Pletcher, in his three-furlong breeze Friday morning at Saratoga Race Course.
The champion 2-year-old finished the distance in 38.40 and galloped out a half-mile in 51.62 in the early morning session, his first workout since scratching from the Kentucky Derby field in May and missing a Triple Crown run with a liver disorder.
“It was perfect,” Pletcher told the New York Racing Association. “I told [excercise rider Patti Krotenko] to go between 37 and 39, and he went in :382⁄5 and galloped out in 51, so it was exactly what we were hoping for today.”
If everything progresses perfectly, Uncle Mo will run in the Grade I King’s Bishop on Travers Day, Aug. 27, 41⁄2 months after his last start, a third in the Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
Since returning to training at the beginning of the month, Uncle Mo has regained some of the weight he lost to his illness. He was carrying another 100 pounds when he shipped to Saratoga July 11, and has galloped each day since.
“He’s a different horse. He’s the horse he was when he was a 2-year-old. He’s been here for over a week now and gained five more pounds with heavy training,” owner Mike Repole told NYRA. “His bloodwork keeps improving every single day, which is great. It’s nice to see him out there.
“It’s kind of deja vu. Last time I saw him running down the stretch at Saratoga, he was winning by 141⁄2 lengths in his maiden, and today it looked like there was a horse 15 lengths behind him. It’s a good day. It feels like I Won a big race today, and it was only a three-furlong work.”
Stephen’s Revenge was served, though not cold, with a win in the second race for Sackatoga Stable.
“He ran twice at Belmont, was second twice on the turf,” Sackatoga Stable’s managing partner Jack Knowlton said. “[He’s] a turfmeister, [so] you’ve got to go on the turf. You go on the turf, two seconds and a win at Saratoga. How can you beat that?”
The stable had a promising entry last year on opening day, but Seattle Mission was the beaten favorite in an allowance. Later in the meet, he was second in the New York Stallion Series Cab Calloway. The ownership group left Saratoga without a win last year, but is one-for-one this meet with four horses in the barns.
AROUND THE TRACK
Flying Zee Stable’s Pure Gossip won the seventh race at 37-1. Flying Zee’s managing partner Carl Lizza died at home in his sleep July 8.
The race was named The Gabrielle Giffords, and the Arizona representative was represented by her husband and NASA astronaut captain Mark Kelly. …
More Than Real, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, and runner-up Winter Memories are expected to run in Wednesday’s Grade II $150,000 Lake George, a 11⁄16-mile race on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. Winter Memories bounced back from that loss to win the Grade III Appalachian at Keeneland and the Grade II Sands Point at Belmont this year. …
The Grade I $500,000 Diana next Saturday, a 11⁄8-mile run on turf for older fillies and mares, is expected to bring in graded stakes winners Aruna, Aviate, Giants Play and Justaroundmidnight. Also a possibility is Zagora, a Group 3 winner in France. Dyna Waltz and Unbridled Humor also may make the field. …
The Travers prep race, the Grade II $500,000 Jim Dandy at 11⁄8 miles for 3-year-olds, may attract Grade II Peter Pan winner Alternation, Grade II Dwyer winner Dominus and Stay Thirsty, who won the Grade II Dwyer and Grade I Belmont.
Brilliant Speed, who won the Grade I Blue Grass, and Scotus, winner of the Grade III Matt Winn, also are expected, as are Bonaroo, Moonshine Mullin and Tech Fall.