Uncle Mo is going to be an overwhelming favorite no matter who he faces in the $100,000 Timely Writer Stakes tomorrow at Gulfstream Park. However, the ways things are looking now, the undefeated champion may have to face even less than originally expected.
Wesley Ward, trainer and co-owner of Sapling (gr. III) winner Madman Diaries, said March 11 that he is “leaning toward not running” the son of Bring the Heat in the one-mile Timely Writer. Madman Diaries, a winner of three of seven starts including a pair of stakes, is considered the biggest threat for 3-5 favorite Uncle Mo, not only because of his class but because he is probably the only entrant that can run up front with him.
Madman Diaries would be wheeling back off of two weeks rest if he goes in the Timely Writer. He finished a disappointing seventh in the Feb. 26 Hutcheson (gr. II).
“We tried him with blinkers off in that race because we wanted to see how he would settle and stretch out,” Ward said. “He had worked well without them in the mornings. But he got pinned on the rail and between horses, and didn’t want any part of it. If we put him in this particular race we’d probably put blinkers back on, send him to the front, and just take our chances.”
Asked why he wouldn’t want to run Madman Diaries back in the Timely Writer, Ward said: “Because I don’t really want to run him if he can’t win.”
But then, why did he enter him?
“Well, if Uncle Mo gets sick or something and doesn’t go we’ll be 1-9, not him,” Ward said.
“I usually don’t like to scratch out of races, but I would make an exception against an undefeated Breeders’ Cup winner. But we’ll see. I’ll make a decision tomorrow morning. If the race is scratched down to only a few horses maybe we’ll take our chances and see what happens.”
The Timely Writer drew a field of six. On Friday, Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed that he will run the 5-1 morning-line second choice, Rattlesnake Bridge. A debut maiden winner Feb. 12 at Gulfstream, the son of Tapit will take his chances from off the pace.
“He is going to run,” McLaughlin said. “We need a race and the experience. Uncle Mo is very talented but we don’t need to win. We tried to get him in an allowance race but it didn’t fill."