Wood Memorial: Uncle Mo in soft spot
by Geir Stabell (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Globeform (http://www.globeform.com)
Last update: 2011-04-07 08:26:13 (First published: 2011-04-05 05:45:16 )
With other leading Kentucky Derby contenders avoiding a trip to the Big Apple and a clash with Uncle Mo, Todd Pletcher's star is unlikely to get much of a test in the Wood Memorial (G1).
WOOD MEMORIAL (G1)
Aqueduct 9 April 2011 – 1 1/8 miles dirt
Runners presented with best Globeform, sire, trainer, jockey.
Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.
One length equals 2lb over this distance
125p - UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie) T Pletcher / J Velazquez
104 - NORMAN ASBJORNSON (Real Quiet) C W Grove / J Pimentel
102 - TOBY'S CORNER (Bellamy Road) G Motion / E Castro
..96 - ISN'T HE PERFECT (Pleasantly Perfect) D Shivmangal / C Hill
..93p - FULL OF SCOUNDRELS (Great Notion) N Chatterpaul / C Lopez
..90 - ARTHUR'S TALE (Bernardini) T Albertrani / R Dominguez
..90 - PREACHINTOTHEDEVIL (Pulpit) G Contessa / J Alvarado
..89 - SON OF POSSE (Posse) R Vitiello / F Maysonett
..88p - STARSHIP CAESAR (Repent) B Parboo / C Velasquez
..?p - DUCA (Empire Maker) D Wayne Lukas / J Court
UNCLE MO is 21 pounds clear on Globeform ratings in this race, meaning that he has over ten lengths in hand on his nearest rivals on all known form. Not just that, Todd Pletcher's Derby favorite is likely to improve again. There will be no need to have him fully tuned up for this task, and the most likely scenario is that he will be cruising home on a tight rein.
How much will he get out of the Wood, his final prep before Churchill Downs four weeks down the road? Probably not all that much. Unless Velazquez decides to push him all out at the finish, Uncle Mo will enjoy an easy time at Aqueduct. Lacking the experience of having been in a fight can be a big disadvantage when one gets to the Kentucky Derby, and it would actually make some sense if Velazquez intentionally puts him in a bit of trouble on Saturday. On the other hand, enjoying another comfortable win will mean that Uncle Mo is a very fresh horse on May 7, and also one with plenty of energy to go through all three legs of the Triple Crown Series.
He was awesome both in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park (beat Mountain Town by 4 ¾ lengths) and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs (beat Boys at Tosconova by 4 ¼ lengths, with the third placed Rogue Romance another 6 blengths back). These performances made Uncle Mo the undisputed champion juvenile of 2010 and, in producing Globeform 125p, he was also right up with the best three-year-olds and older horses. This son of Indian Charlie does look like a freak, and will be very hard to beat this year. He strolled home in his debut race at Saratoga last August, and Aqueduct will be the fifth course Uncle Mo has raced over in his five starts. That gives him useful experience. He won for fun on his seasonal debut, beating Rattlesnake Bridge by 3 ¾ lengths in the one-mile Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March. The field he beat that day, by racing on the lead virtually throughout, may turn out to be a bit better than many observers assumed at the time. Rattlesnake Bridge is a nice sort, and was also under consideration for the Wood. But he's not here, and that for a very good reason. Uncle Mo is simply too good.
This is not much of a betting race, as none of the others are really up to Grade One standard, and how they are ridden will have a crucial bearing on the result. Will the connections of any of these nine rival seriously be thinking of plotting a plan that may beat Uncle Mo? It seems unlikely, and those that simply set out to ride for second will have the best chance of hitting the board. From a handicapper's standpoint, the trouble is; that might mean all nine. Such a scenario can so easily create a falsely run race. Still, if one must have a couple of exactas and trifectas, the race to look to for the right answers is probably the Gotham Stakes (G3). Uncle Mo's stable companion Stay Thirsty won that event quite easily, but did little to frank the form when finishing seventh of eight in the Florida Derby (G1) last weekend. That run looked too bad to be true and the two placed horses in the Gotham, Norman Asbjornson and Toby's Corner, still make most appeal for the exotics in the Wood.
NORMAN ASBJORNSON raced prominently from gate to wire in the 8.5-furlong Gotham, and he kept on well enough under pressure in the home straight. He was beaten over three lengths by Stay Thirsty, but held second by a length over TOBY'S CORNER, who had won the Whirlaway Stakes over a muddy track on his previous start. Toby's Corner was staying on from just off the pace in the Gotham (albeit looking one-paced) and he could be the one who benefits from this step up in distance. He never posed a serious threat to Norman Asbjornson though, and it is impossible to separate these two colts.
A: 5 UNCLE MO
C: 2 TOBY'S CORNER, 8 NORMAN ASBJORNSON
2010 WOOD MEMORIAL (G1)
Aqueduct 3 April 2010 – 1 1/8 miles dirt
1 – ESKENDEREYA (Giant’s Causeway) J Velazquez / GF 127p
2 – JACKSON BEND (Hear No Evil) C Borel / GF 105
3 – AWESOME ACT (Awesome Again) J Leparoux / GF 104p
4 – SCHOOLYARD DREAMS (Stephen Got Even) D Ryan / GF 102
5 – CARNIVORE (Giant’s Causeway) J Delozier / GF 99
Margins: 9 ¾ - hd – 1 ½ - 2 ½ Time: 1.49.97 (fast track)
Most Happy Fella
GLOBEFORM'S KENTUCKY DERBY DAY SPECIAL OPENS APRIL 26
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