Mike Repole’s dynamic duo of Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty worked the morning of Oct. 16 over the training track at Belmont Park, with Uncle Mo covering five furlongs in a bullet :58.64—the fastest of 32 at the distance.
Stay Thirsty worked a half-mile in :48.62. It was the first work for both horses since Oct. 1, when Uncle Mo wired the field in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) and Stay Thirsty was third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I). The pair of sophomores is being pointed for the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
“Mo’s work was similar to his last work before the Kelso,” said trainer Todd Pletcher in a release. “It was a little quicker than we set out to do, but it’s just an indication of how well he’s doing right now.”
Sidelined for nearly four months while he recovered from a liver ailment that kept him out of the Triple Crown, Uncle Mo finished second in his comeback race, the Aug. 27 Foxwoods King’s Bishop (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course. The race was his first start since a third-place finish in the April 9 Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct.
Repole was also pleased with Uncle Mo’s breeze under jockey John Velazquez.
“Todd gave great instructions,” said Repole in a statement. “He told Johnny to go between a minute and minute one. Mo misunderstood and decided to go :58 and three. There was a horse working in front of him and Johnny was afraid Mo had decided to go get that horse.
“I asked Todd if he was a little upset and he just said, ‘The horse is doing really good right now. What are you going to do, put him in a choke hold?’ He did it so easy. This is the best he’s ever been. This is better than last year, this is better than before the Kelso. This horse could not be doing any better right now.”
While Stay Thirsty’s move under exercise rider Patti Krotenko was not as flashy as that of his stablemate, both owner and trainer said they were happy with the way the Travers (gr. I) winner looked.
“That was a good, maintenance breeze for him,” said Pletcher. “He was moving well and seemed happy.”
“Stay Thirsty--Steady Thirsty,” quipped Repole. “You tell Stay Thirsty to go :48 and three, he goes :48 and three, and then he comes back and he asks, ‘Did I go :48 and three?’ And I say ‘Yes, you did.’ He does everything right. I spoke to Patty and she said she had plenty of horse underneath her. Caixa Eletronica was on the inside, but at any time she could have just went by him. He’s Stay Thirsty. Mo decides what he wants to do. It’s the Mo show.”
Pletcher confirmed both horses would work at Belmont next weekend before shipping to Churchill Downs, likely on Monday, Oct. 24.
“We’ll probably do something a little further with Stay Thirsty, and I’m not sure what we’ll do with Mo next week,” said Pletcher. “We’re going into a 1 1/4-mile race off a seven-furlong and a mile race under our belt, so we want to make sure that we’re fit enough and I think we made a big step in that direction today.
Leaving Monday is the schedule at the moment, with one work at Churchill Downs.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news at Belmont Oct. 16, trainer Chad Brown’s three contenders tuned up for their future engagements by breezing on the turf.
Working in company with Desert Sage, Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) hopeful Stacelita breezed four furlongs in :48.55.
“She breezed a half-mile on the turf course, and she is doing very well,” said Brown, who trains the 5-year-old mare for Martin Schwartz.
“They breezed a little slow,” said Brown. “It was OK, though. I have plenty of time to do some more work with them. They just started off a little slow–a little bit of rider error, to be honest with you. I thought they finished up well and galloped out good.”
Dayatthespa, second in the Sept. 17 Natalma (Can-IIIT) for owners Steve Laymon, Bradley Thoroughbreds, Kris Kruid, and John Eaton, is definite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Brown said. Dell Ridge Farm’s Fantastic Song, third in Belmont’s Pilgrim (gr. IIIT), will run in the Juvenile Turf if he gets into the field, with Brown recognizing the colt could be excluded with insufficient points.
“Fantastic Song most likely will go. I would say he would be on the bubble to get into the race. I think he’ll get in with his third-place finish in the Pilgrim, but I’m not positive about it.”
Brown said Schwartz’s Zagora, who returned from her win in the Diana (gr. I) to finish seventh in the Canadian (Can-IIT), will be given a break and await a 2012 campaign.
“I want to shut her down and give her a little bit of a break,” said Brown. “She came out of the race in Canada sound, but her energy level is not where it was in the summer when she was in form. Her coat has changed a little bit. I think she is a little out of season right now. I’ll map out a campaign in the spring and get her to Florida early.”
Doodnauth Shivmangal, owner and trainer of Shkspeare Shaliyah, is attempting to raise money to supplement the colt to the Juvenile Turf.
After finishing third in his Aug. 27 debut at Saratoga, Shkspeare Shaliyah won two starts at Belmont Park, breaking his maiden Sept. 18 and giving his trainer his first graded stakes victory by taking the Pilgrim at Belmont Oct. 9.
“He came out of the (Pilgrim) perfect,” reported Shivmangal. “Nothing bothered him and he didn’t lose any weight. He’s been doing everything perfectly from the race until now.”
To run Shkspeare Shaliyah in the Juvenile Turf, Shivmangal would have to pay $100,000 to supplement the colt and $30,000 in pre-entry and entry fees.
“I’m not scared to take this horse to any kind of race,” said Shivmangal. “We knew at Saratoga he could run, and I’m not scared of the Breeders’ Cup. It’s hard for us to put up the money. There a lot of people who called to buy the horse, but (running the horse under) my silks means more than the money. Everything is going the way it’s supposed to be. It’s hard for us to supplement the horse for $100,000, but we have to get it done.”
Shkspeare Shaliyah has come from off the pace in his three starts, and Shivmangal believes his running style will be beneficial in the Breeders’ Cup.
“I know Shaliyah has the last kick,” said Shivmangal. “He has a special engine, this horse. If he can get a pace in front of him, he’ll run a better race.”
Shivmangal said Skspeare Shaliyah will have his first post-Pilgrim breeze this week, with the colt to either work Oct. 20 on turf or Oct. 22 on dirt.