Uncle Mo, winner of the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 9 at Belmont Park, is the 7-5 morning line favorite for the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. A field of 10 was drawn for the 1 1/16-mile event.
A son of Indian Charlie owned by Mike Repole, Uncle Mo has dazzled in both of his starts as a 2-year-old, breaking maiden by more than 14 lengths at Saratoga and going gate-to-wire to win the Champagne by 4 3/4 lengths in near stakes record time.
Todd Pletcher trains Uncle Mo, who drew post 7. Pletcher also trains Repole’s Stay Thirsty, who will break right next to his stablemate from post 6. Stay Thirsty, by Bernardini, was runner-up to Boys At Tosconova in the Sept. 6 Hopeful (gr. I), one race after scoring by 5 1/2 lengths in a maiden special weight contest.
Repole Stable's Uncle Mo will have John Velazquez aboard, while Stay Thirsty (8-1) will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
“(Uncle Mo) showed us early on this summer that he could be a special colt,” Pletcher said. “The first time we breezed him a half-mile he showed us something that we hoped it turns it looks like we have. You don’t anticipate a horse to break their maiden by 14 lengths at Saratoga.
“Then you’re concerned about a horse repeating a race like that and jumping up from a maiden to a grade I. To have him not only win the Champagne, but win in a very fast time and carry his speed for a mile and still gallop out well; we couldn’t ask any more from him. We’re looking forward to a big effort from him.”
Jay Em Ess Stable’s Boys At Tosconova figures to be main challenge for the Repole/Pletcher pair. After breaking his maiden by 12 lengths at second asking in July at Belmont, he easily put away Stay Thirsty in the Hopeful in his stakes debut. Trainer Rick Dutrow, who also conditioned Big Brown, has said that Boys of Tosconova is the most talented 2-year-old he has ever trained.
“He showed in the Hopeful he can sit behind horses and rate,” Dutrow said after the draw. “He’s done everything we’ve asked and he’s ready. I’ve absolutely loved this horse from the first time I laid eyes on him. If Uncle Mo shows up with his best game we are going to be in for one hell of a show.”
Ramon Dominguez will ride the son of Officer once again. Boys At Tosconova drew post 2 and was pegged as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.
Also at 8-1 on the morning line is Jaycito, one of three California-based horses shipping in for their first starts on dirt. Jaycito defeated J P's Gusto by one length in the Oct. 2 Norfolk (gr. I) at Hollywood Park one race after J P’s Gusto (10-1) turned back his rival in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I). Riveting Reason (30-1) was third in both of those races.
Jaycito is trained by Mike Mitchell, who has assigned Mike Smith to be in the irons, while J P’s Gusto will be ridden by Pat Valenzuela for David Hofmans.
Rounding out the field is Biondetti, undefeated in three starts in Europe for Godolphin, who won last year’s Juvenile with Vale of York; J. B.'s Thunder, a winner in both of his starts including the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland; Peruvian shipper Murjan; and Rogue Romance, who won the Bouron Stakes (gr. IIIT) on turf last out.