The connections of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Uncle Mo announced Feb. 22 his debut will be the $100,000 Timely Writer Stakes March 12 at Gulfstream Park.
Following a strong five-furlong breeze on Feb. 20 at Palm Meadows, trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole said Uncle Mo would point toward the one-mile Timely Writer, an overnight stakes that was originally written for March 11. They said the second option for Uncle Mo is the March 12 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) if the Timely Writer fails to fill.
“The Gulfstream Park surface is very similar to the surface that Mo’s training on every day at Palm Meadows,” Pletcher said. “There’s also the advantage of a twenty-minute van ride to Gulfstream as opposed to a four-hour ride to Tampa Bay. Mo’s been training exceptionally well since his return and I am very confident and comfortable with either the Timely Writer or the Tampa Bay Derby.”
The connections have said all along that the Wood Memorial (gr. I) will be Uncle Mo’s final prep before the Derby.
“Our number one goal and focus is to do what's best for Uncle Mo to have a very healthy and successful 3-year-old campaign,” Repole said. “Mo has more than enough graded earnings to qualify for the Derby and we both feel that the Timely Writer will set him up perfectly for the April 9 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct en route to a start in the Kentucky Derby on May 7.
“In racing, there’s no one’s opinion I trust more than Todd Pletcher’s, and just knowing how excited he is about the way Mo’s training is very encouraging. With the race more than two and half weeks away, hopefully this will give Mo’s fans ample time to make arrangements to watch his 3-year-old debut.”
Uncle Mo, by Indian Charlie, was named champion 2-year-old male after winning the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs, completing a perfect 3-for-3 season.