Uncle Mo arrives at Churchill Downs on April 18, 2011.

Uncle Mo arrives at Churchill Downs on April 18, 2011.

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

Uncle Mo, Mucho Macho Man Arrive at Churchill

Oaks hopeful R Heat Lightning also in Kentucky; Silver Medallion, Astrology work.

Repole Stable’s Uncle Mo , the strong favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prior to his surprising loss in the Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial (gr. I), and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing Stable’s Mucho Macho Man , winner of the Risen Star (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, are settling in at Churchill Downs following separate arrivals on the grounds of the track the morning of April 18.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Uncle Mo was led off a van by assistant trainer Michael McCarthy shortly before noon as the son of Indian Charlie returned to the scene of his victory in the 2010 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) that capped an unbeaten season and sewed up Eclipse Award honors as champion 2-year-old. 

He was accompanied on the flight from New York by stablemate R Heat Lightning, the E. Paul Robsham Stable’s likely favorite in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) following emphatic victories in the Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II) and Davona Dale (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.

The plane carrying the Pletcher stars arrived some two hours behind schedule because the flight was diverted shortly after takeoff to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., due to concern over a warning light that flashed on shortly after the H.E. Sutton Forwarding Company plane became airborne.

“Representatives from Tex Sutton had called and said there was a slight hiccup--something mechanical or some sort of a warning light,” McCarthy told Churchill Downs officials. “The horses are here, everybody’s bedded down, and everybody’s fine. We’ll take it with a grain of salt.”

McCarthy said Uncle Mo would gallop over the Churchill Downs surface the morning of April 19 and two works are planned for the colt before Kentucky Derby 137. Pletcher is expected to be on hand at Churchill Downs April 19.

“The horse is in good order right now,” said McCarthy.  “We’ll go ahead and gallop tomorrow.  We’ve got two and a half weeks.”

Uncle Mo joins stablemate Stay Thirsty, Repole Stable’s winner of the Gotham, among five Kentucky Derby contenders now on the grounds and those horses will bid to give Pletcher his second consecutive victory in the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher picked up his first Derby victory last year with WinStar Farm’s Super Saver .

Mucho Macho Man arrived at Churchill Downs much earlier following a van ride from Florida’s Gulfstream Park. The van carrying the imposing bay son of Macho Uno entered the stable gate around 2:30 a.m.

Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Archarcharch is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs early the morning of April 19, according to trainer William “Jinks” Fires. The colt will travel overnight by van and Fires said he should arrive at Churchill Downs around 7 a.m. (EDT). 

A plane flight from Arkansas the morning of April 19 will bring Arkansas Derby runner-up Nehroand The Factor , the beaten favorite in that race, to Churchill Downs. Other Arkansas Derby runners expected on that flight are third-place finisher Dance City and Sway Away, who finished fourth.

In other news, Monday is always a busy work day in the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen and several of his major 3-year-olds were on the track for serious training moves.

Black Rob Stables and Michael Ryan’s Silver Medallion, winner of the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) and fourth as the favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), breezed four furlongs in :51 2/5.  The son of Badge of Silver is a possible starter for the April 23 Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) at Keeneland.

Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology , winner of the Iroquois (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, worked a half-mile in :50 2/5. While a Kentucky Derby bid remains possible for Astrology, who ranks 13th among Triple Crown nominees in graded stakes earnings with $281,893, a run by the son of A.P. Indy in either The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) on the April 30 “Opening Night” at Churchill Downs or the $150,000-added Jerome (gr. II) April 23 at Aqueduct appears more likely.