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Dec 17, 2010

Pletcher goes after second Kentucky Derby

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - This year's Kentucky Derby marked the first win of the historic race for champion trainer Todd Pletcher. Super Saver gave the four-time Eclipse Award winning conditioner his first victory in the Run for the Roses.

Now Pletcher has a chance to get his second straight win in the world's best known race. He trains presumptive Derby favorite Uncle Mo, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Uncle Mo will prepare for the Kentucky Derby in south Florida while being stabled at Palm Meadows Training Center. The colt arrived at Palm Meadows last week and gives Pletcher and owner Mike Repole much to be optimistic about.

"I don't think we've ever come down here with a horse with more promise than Uncle Mo," Pletcher noted.

Remember, Pletcher trained Eskendereya in 2010 to victories in the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial. The three-year-old may well have been the favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby had he not been injured and unable to race again.

In the $2 million Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November, Uncle Mo took the lead at the top of the stretch and went on to post a 4 1/4-length win over second-place finisher Boys At Tosconova. The colt was ridden by Eclipse Award winning jockey John Velazquez in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Uncle Mo is undefeated in three starts and has earnings of $1,296,000. Prior to the Breeders' Cup he won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.

"He exceeded even my expectations, which were pretty high," Pletcher said following Uncle Mo's Juvenile win. "Two-year-olds are the future and it's exciting to go to Florida for the winter with what you would certainly think is the champion two-year-old."

Repole and Pletcher plan to have Uncle Mo make only two starts leading to the Run for the Roses on May 7.

"I wouldn't rule out seven-furlongs," said Pletcher of the colt?s initial 2011 start. "The only thing I would rule out is we don't want to start him out at a mile-and-an-eighth. That sort of eliminates the Fountain of Youth, for example."

The Fountain of Youth will be February 26 with the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes on the same Gulfstream Park program. The 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby will be on April 3 with the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct the following Saturday.

Pletcher, who shipped Super Saver north for the Tampa Bay Derby, could do the same with Uncle Mo. The Tampa Bay Derby will be March 12.

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