Uncle Mo , expected to depart WinStar Farm July 11 to join trainer Todd Pletcher’s string at Saratoga Race Course, could make his return to the races in the Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 27, Pletcher said on the morning of July 10.
“He’s been galloping (at WinStar) for a little while already,” said Pletcher. “We don’t need any hiccups along the way, but (the King’s Bishop) is doable if everything goes well. He left Churchill a very fit horse; he just wasn’t completely healthy. He got ready very quickly after he came back from the Breeders’ Cup and won the Timely Writer (in March) off six breezes. We’re in a position to get close to that, if we want to.”
Last year’s champion 2-year-old colt, Uncle Mo was scratched from the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as the 9-2 morning-line second choice. Mike Repole’s son of Indian Charlie was later found to have cholangiohepatitis, a severe inflammation of the bile passages and adjacent liver.
The seven-furlong Foxwoods King’s Bishop, part of the Travers Day program at Saratoga, would be Uncle Mo’s first start since his third-place finish as the odds-on favorite in the Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct in April. That is his only loss in a five-race career that included wins in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) last year.
Pletcher expressed satisfaction with the progress Uncle Mo made during his convalescence at WinStar.
“We’ve seen a steady stream of videos of him, so it’s not like we hadn’t known what he’s looking like or doing,” said Pletcher. “He has a bright, glossy coat, something we hadn’t been able to achieve before. He’s put on weight and his blood work is normal. Those were the things that were frustrating us this spring.”
With separate horses winning each leg of the Triple Crown, Pletcher believes the 3-year-old championship is still up for grabs.
“It’s a very wide-open division right now, so somebody can take charge of it and finish up the year strongly and make a strong case,” said Pletcher. “I’ve felt Uncle Mo is the best of his generation. Now we just have to come back and see if that’s true or not.”