Champion Uncle Mo , a leading candidate for the Foxwoods King’s Bishop (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 27, had his penultimate breeze for his return to the races, zipping five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.34 over Saratoga’s main track Sunday under jockey John Velazquez.
Entering the track shortly after 6 a.m., Uncle Mo was eager to break off once let go by the lead pony, joining Curlin Stakes winner and fellow 3-year-old Turbo Compressor on the outside and hitting the wire almost two lengths ahead of his workmate.
Uncle Mo’s move was the fastest of 37 at the distance, while Turbo Compressor checked in at 1:00.56, third-fastest of the morning.
“He’s back in race mode,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of Uncle Mo. “You can see a change in his disposition leading into these works the last couple of times. At the same time, he’s been settled. It was another bullet work, and he did it well within himself. He galloped out strongly and came back well. We’re excited about where he is at the moment.”
The seven-furlong Foxwoods King’s Bishop would be Uncle Mo’s first start since a third-place finish in the Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 9. Heading into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as the likely favorite, the Mike Repole color-bearer was scratched from the race with what was later diagnosed as a rare liver disorder, and he did not return to training until July.
Sunday’s work, moved up one day because of a rainy forecast, was his second straight bullet work and fifth overall at Saratoga and will be followed by one more breeze next Sunday, said Pletcher.
“When you are looking at a horse who has accomplished as much as he has, you’re not going to find an easy race to come back in,” said Pletcher of last year’s male juvenile champion. “The first start of his life he ran an enormous race here at Saratoga and we would expect him to run a big race first time back.
“Right now, he’s Uncle Mo and he’s perfectly healthy,” he added. “As long as that continues to be the case, then we’re confident he’ll go over and run his ‘A’ race.”
Uncle Mo is by Indian Charlie out of the Arch mare Playa Maya,