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Mo Trouble

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 4/18/2011 4:54:45 PM

Like Frank Sinatra used to croon, ‘riding high in April, shot down in May’, Uncle Mo’s stock came thundering to earth in a thud after he stopped badly in the Wood Memorial.

Even if he is able to get back on the Triple Crown Trail, he has problems because you can’t have anything go wrong on your way to Churchill that first Saturday.

You can’t miss any works, you can’t be off your feed, you can’t drill poorly and basically you can’t have a pimple or it will make you vulnerable.

Uncle Mo is being treated for a gastrointestinal infection but will ship to Churchill this week anyway.

This is his trainer’s take, Todd Pletcher: “If I do not feel that Uncle Mo is 100%, both Mike and I agree that he will not run. My main focus is to return Uncle Mo to optimum health in the next days and I am optimistic we can accomplish this goal.”

We’ll being optimistic is one thing, being realistic is another. What was looking like a mere formality for Mo, now the Derby is a flat-out scramble.

As far as the Arkansas Derby is concern, what a difference a day makes. On opening day last Friday, the track at Oaklawn was playing more like a highway that resembled route 95.

Speed was king and it you were not close up early; you pretty much could call it a day.

Just 24 hours later, the surface played very fair and that helped legitimize the outcome of the Derby.

Archarcharch came from tenth to reach the front inside the furlong grounds to hold on by a neck. The Factor stalked in third and had nothing left while Nehro proved he is the real deal when flying late to complete the exacta.

Elite Alex raced in traffic early and could not compete late.

Archarcharch, who recorded a 98 Beyer, only cost $60,000 but now has won over $800,000. His sire Arch won the 9-furlong Super Derby but his Grade 2 placed dam was sprint only.

His half brother Run Sully Run was successful routing on turf and the other half brother to win, Fever, cashed routing once, by a nose going a mile.

As for the Blue Grass, they were all together on the line and sometimes that’s a sign of just an ordinary race. The winner, Brilliant Speed, took awhile to figure it out, but he was beaten a nose in his first run vs. winners, then a neck last time out, and both were stakes.

Saturday, he had to wait for a photo, but he prevailed by the slimmest of margins to pay a whopping $40.20 under clever rider Joel Rosario.

He recorded an 89 Beyer.

His sire Dynaformer is known as a grass sire, but he routed with ease. His dam was unraced and his lone sibling to race only won once, a 6 and a half-furlong fray in Argentina.

The Blue Grass chalk Santiva never looked comfortable inside of horses and never got untracked.

Don’t be shocked if the Blue Grass ends up being a sub-par prep.



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