Mike Repole

Mike Repole

Anne M. Eberhardt

Repole Talks Disclosure, Says 'Mo is Sound

Uncle Mo's and Stay Thirsty's owner bluntly discusses several controversial topics.

Mike Repole, owner of Uncle Mo  and Stay Thirsty , came charging full speed ahead into Tuesday’s April 26 Triple Crown teleconference, as he dealt with the topic of full disclosure, the rumors, speculation, and observations regarding Uncle Mo’s physical well being, and the negativity of a small fraction of the media.


“I really wanted to be on the call, because it seems like the media knows more about Uncle Mo than both Todd (Pletcher) and I,” Repole said before a question was even asked. “The last couple of weeks I heard that he was retired and what stallion farm he was going to and what his stud fee would be. I’ve heard that in the Wood Memorial he came (in the paddock) with a wheel chair, crutches, and a cast. At the end of the day, he worked today and Todd called a great audible because the track was better at 5:45 than it was at 8:30. We couldn’t have been more pleased the work.


“It’s been a really tough 17 days after the Wood (Memorial) and I haven’t had much sleep in those 17 days. Mo has had the best vets and today was a really big step in him getting to the starting gate on the first Saturday in May.”


Repole seemingly made a startling comment when he said Uncle Mo was 50-50 to make the Derby, but added that he feels every horse pointing to the race is 50-50.


“This is a very very tough game and we all saw what happened to I Want Revenge and Eskendereya,” Repole said. “Racing is a great cure for overconfidence, but I feel much better today than I did a week ago and I definitely feel much better than I did two weeks ago. But until May 7th comes around and he’s in that starting gate there are no guarantees in this game. And that includes all the other 19 starters, not just Uncle Mo. Until that day comes, I’ll be lucky if I sleep two hours a night over the next 12 days.”


As for the observations that Uncle Mo had been pin-fired and other possible physical ailments, Repole said: “I own 82 racehorses and everybody has been talking about full disclosure. I don’t think this is something the industry really wants to get into or address. Eighty-five percent of racing is claiming races. How would you disclose what’s going on (with those horses)? These are professional athletes that run 45 miles an hour and in all honesty, if you went in anyone’s barn it’s very hard to figure out who is 100% sound. The bottom line is, when you send a horse out there you want to make sure he’s 100% safe, sound, and healthy.


“I’m very involved with St. Johns' basketball this year and was in the locker room after a game. One guy had an ice pack on his ankle, one guy had an ice pack on his knee, and others had them on their shoulder and elbow. When you talk about full disclosure, first off, we don’t have a governing body, which is embarrassing, and if we did, I don’t know if you really want full disclosure. If there ever is full disclosure I can tell you that Mike Repole will be the first one online and will give you every medical record from weanling to 3-year-old of Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo under one condition: all other 18 owners that are going to enter in the Kentucky Derby do the same thing. You start to get into territory I don’t think the sport really wants to get into.


“Every horse has some kind of minor issue, and the bottom line is you have to trust the owner, the vet, and the trainer to put a safe and healthy horse on the racetrack. That’s our responsibility, whether it’s a $5,000 claimer or Uncle Mo. God forbid the one horse out of a million that you disclose has a minor issue breaks down what happens to the sport then? Nobody is going to want to race a horse. Great athletes in all sports do get injured and these are great athletes.”


Repole says for that reason he never discloses those kinds of minor issues on any of his 82 horses. He said that Uncle Mo is completely sound, despite the rumors.


“I hope this doesn’t sound rude, but if Todd Pletcher or one of my vets talk about the physical issues of any of my horses they would probably leave the barn, whether it’s Todd Pletcher, Bruce Brown or Dominick Galluscio. To me there is a confidentiality between a vet, a trainer, and an owner, and I will promise you I will never put a horse out there that is not safe, sound, and healthy. As badly as I want to run in the Kentucky Derby and as badly as I want to win the Kentucky Derby, I will never sacrifice a horse’s health for my ego. That will never happen in a million years.”


Repole says he no longer thinks about the Wood Memorial defeat: “You can’t change the past. You can only worry about the present and the future. He lost the Wood and 20 years from now when we talk about Uncle Mo’s career, we’re always going to say he lost the Wood. To me, the Wood was a blessing. This horse is so good and fools you by training so well that if he had won the Wood by four lengths we may not have known that there was an issue with him.


“When he flew in a day late from Florida he was off his feed a little for two days, but Todd says most horses who fly to another track to run will get off their feed a little. He was a little bit better on Friday and the Wood was on Saturday. He loses by a length and a quarter and runs a 92 Beyer, which is better than a lot of the other preps. Dr. Steve Allday checked him out and said he was perfectly sound. Todd felt it had to be something internal, so we had him checked out by Dr. Doug Byars and a great team of vets and that’s when they found the GI inflammation. He’s been on medication and his appetite is up, his energy is up, and after today’s work his performance is up. Compared to where we were, Todd and I couldn’t be more happy with where we are right now. We just need 12 more of these kinds of days.”


As for some of the comments that have been written about Uncle Mo, Repole said he loves 99 percent of the media and enjoys being accommodating, but it’s the one percent that bothers him.


“That one percent is so negative to the sport and they ruin it for everybody else,” he said. “Those are the guys who announced his retirement and that he came in the paddock lame. They should be working for TMZ or the National Enquirer, and they should follow Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, and not Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty. It’s that one percent that bothers me a lot.


“I believe he’s going to redeem himself and I hope the media writes negative stories about him and raise his price as high as possible. The more they raise his price the more money I’ll bring with me.”