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Mike Repole and Uncle Mo
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No Crying Uncle for Repole

Uncle Mo's owner is amazed by his colt's comeback from a serious illness

Whatever happens in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), Mike Repole, owner of Uncle Mo , is well aware of the extraordinary circumstances that have enabled his 2-year-old champion to even make the race, and he is grateful to be in this position. One can easily substitute “extraordinary circumstances” for the word ‘miracle” if one wishes.

Repole counts his blessings, not only for Uncle Mo’s amazing comeback from a life-threatening liver disease this year, but also having another top-class horse in the Classic field -- Travers (gr. I) and Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Stay Thirsty , who has lived in his stablemate’s shadow the past two years.

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It might seem an audacious move sending Uncle Mo into the 1 1/4-mile Classic off only seven-furlong and one-mile races, but Repole and Todd Pletcher both believe the son of Indian Charlie is capable of things other horses are not.


“Any horse who loses 200 pounds in May and June and regains it and runs the race he did in the King’s Bishop (gr. I) in August and then runs a 118 Beyer and ‘zero’ Ragozin figure in the Kelso (gr. II) is no ordinary horse,” Repole said. “This is not only a special horse, but one of the greatest horses of all time to do what he did. If he wins the Classic he should be ESPN’s Comeback Player of the Year and Sports Illustrated’s Athlete of the Year.”


As for deciding to run in the Classic instead of the Dirt Mile (gr. I), Repole said, “If any horse can accomplish coming back in five weeks and winning the Classic it’s him. I think the fans want it; I think ESPN wants it.


“I’m real confident. Uncle Mo has never looked better, and Stay Thirsty is doing good, so Todd and I are in a fortunate position. This is the Uncle Mo we thought we’d see all year. It’s been an amazing comeback and it’s great to see him with such a following and so many fans.”


Repole said the decision whether to race Uncle Mo next year is solely his, even though the colt’s breeding rights have been sold to Ashford Stud, where he will stand after his retirement.


“There’s definitely a chance he’ll be back next year whether he wins or loses the Classic,” Repole said. “When I negotiated the deal in August I didn’t know if he’d get back to the track. I still own a significant share in him. If he does come back next year it’s because Todd and I think it’s the best thing for him. It won’t be a Coolmore/Ashford decision.”


Uncle Mo stole the spotlight from the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) and the other grade I stakes on the Belmont card when he defeated older horses, including grade I winners Jackson Bend and Jersey Town , in the Kelso, blazing the mile in 1:33 4/5 over a muddy track that had produced mainly slow times all day, while drawing off to a three-length victory.


In other Classic news, owner Rick Porter said there is still a remote possibility Havre de Grace could run in Ladies Classic (gr. I).


"The only reason we wouldn't run in the Classic is if she drew the one-hole or we saw a complete difference in the weather between Friday and Saturday," Porter said. "We pre-entered in the Ladies Classic strictly as an insurance policy in case something went wrong."