Heavily favored Uncle Mo took over at the top of the lane and cruised to an astonishingly easy 4 1/4-length victory in the $1,818,000 Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) (VIDEO) at Churchill Downs Nov. 6.
Repole Stable's winning Indian Charlie colt, now unbeaten in three races, gave trainer Todd Pletcher his third win in the two-day Breeders' Cup festival, all with 2-year-olds.
“That was as impressive as they get. It was an unbelievable performance; crazy fast like he’s been doing all along," Pletcher said. "He runs really fast for a long time. He was right there and they were going quick all the way. Johnny (Velazquez) pushed the button on the turn and he had another gear. When Johnny turned for home, I felt like we were in good shape. I don’t get goosebumps very often but that performance gave me chills."
Uncle Mo, winner of the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) in his previous start, was ridden to victory by John Velazquez.
The final time was a swift 1:42.60 for the 1 1/16-mile distance on a fast track.
The biggest concern with Uncle Mo coming into the race was whether he would rate. But the sleek bay showed plenty of patience as he rated in second a couple of lengths behind the early pacesetter, 57-1 shot Riveting Reason, who cut solid fractions of :23.57, :47.27, and 1:11.92. The California outsider still held the advantage leaving the far turn, but he was weakening, and Uncle Mo inherited the lead without being asked. Uncle Mo quickly repulsed a bid from Boys At Tosconova as he straightened for the homestretch.
In an impressive display through the lane, the 7-5 favorite steadily drew away from the rest of the field and his anticipated showdown with Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Boys at Tosconova never materialized. The latter was a clear runner-up by six lengths over Rogue Romance, who came on late for third.
After such a spectacular win, Uncle Mo becomes the early favorite for next year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
“That was definitely special," Velazquez said. "We had so much hope for this horse, and for him to come here and do it the way he did it today, that was special. He galloped out very good. This is a special horse. We have to take it step-by-step. The Derby is too far away to even think about it. Let's see if we get there."
Jaycito, the third choice in the field, trailed the field early, ran up on heels on the clubhouse turn and proved difficult to handle for jockey Mike Smith as he veered toward the outer rail. It appeared that Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) winner Jaycito, who had raced entirely on synthetic tracks in Southern California, may not have enjoyed the dirt kick-back. Though he picked up the running after spotting the field about a half-furlong, he finished seventh.
“He just bolted," Smith said. "He left the gate with getting away from everybody on his mind. From the word go he did that. I literally went to the outside fence.”
Uncle Mo has won his three races to date by a combined 23 1/4 lengths. A $220,000 Keeneland yearling purchase in September 2009, Uncle Mo began his career with a 14 1/4-length maiden victory over six furlongs at Saratoga Aug. 28. In his next start, the Oct.9 Champagne at Belmont Park, Uncle Mo was sent off as the 1-5 choice. He dueled in hand for six furlongs of the one-turn mile event and drew off approaching mid-stretch for a 4 3/4-length verdict.
The winner's share of $1,080 pushed Uncle Mo's career earnings to $1,296,000.
Dr. D. Michael Cavey bred Uncle Mo, who is out of the Arch mare Playa Maya, in Kentucky.
He paid $4.80, $3.40 and $2.60, and topped a $17,80 exacta. The stalking Boys At Tosconova, who suffered his second loss in four starts for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., returned $4.20 and $3.40. Rogue Romance, making his first start on dirt, was $4.20 to show.