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Mar 11, 2011

All you gotta know is Uncle Mo

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The long awaited return to racing for 2010 champion two-year-old Uncle Mo takes place Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream Park. The now three-year-old colt will begin his 2011 season in the $100,000 Timely Writer Stakes, an event specifically written for the horse.

Uncle Mo, trained by Todd Pletcher for Mike Repole, last raced in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs four months ago, a race he won convincingly by better than four-lengths.

Pletcher and Repole have decided to put their colt in the mile stakes as opposed to the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby the same day. The Timely Writer Stakes has drawn a field of six three-year-olds with Uncle Mo the only one considered a serious Kentucky Derby contender. .

"I've been dreaming about this moment for 30 years," Repole exclaimed, "and I've said this before. It's 10 times more exciting than I could have ever imagined and believe me, I imagined it to be real exciting. I just didn't know that it came with 20 times the anxiety to be honest with you. I am so fortunate and blessed.

"To own a horse like this is amazing. To own a horse like him and Stay Thirsty, these are both once in a lifetime horses. To have them the same year, I mean I can't explain it. It's unimaginable."

Uncle Mo has won all three starts, including the Champagne Stakes in his second start last October at Belmont Park. He has career earnings of nearly $1.3 million and is assured of a spot in the Run for the Roses based on his graded stakes earnings.

His connections have been looking at the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct as the colt's final prep before the Derby.

"This is the track where all - the dream started at this track." Repole said about Aqueduct. "I am not going to tell you it's the prettiest track in the world. That's for sure. But at the end of the day that's where the dream started.

"And I don't want to forget that, my roots. And I still consider myself from Queens. And, instead of being 13-years-old, I'm 42 and, I'm living a horse owner's dream right now."

The only other horse in the Timely Writer with stakes experience is Wesley Ward's Madman Diaries. Trained by Ward, the colt was a distant seventh in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream in his only start this year. He was sent off at 5-1 in that race, but offered nothing down the stretch.

Ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez, Madman Diaries showed ability as a two-year-old in 2010. The gelding won the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine and followed with a second in the Colin at the Toronto track. Those two races made him a finalist for Canada's Sovereign Award as champion two-year-old male.

Brought to Monmouth Park in September. Madman Diaries won the Sapling in his first start on natural dirt.

"I was pretty confident in him," said Ward after the Sapling, "and had me convinced he can run on dirt."

Ward entered him in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf where he was 10-1 in the 12 horse field. After leading most of the race, Madman Diaries faded late to finish fourth, only 2 1/2-lengths behind Pluck.

In seven starts the gelding has earned $307,822, but is not currently nominated to the Kentucky Derby.

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