By Jon Forbes | 08/28/2010 05:23 PM ET
Repole Stable maintained a 12-7 lead in the Saratoga owner standings going into the final eight days of racing, so it’s all too appropriate Uncle Mo is the name of the operation’s latest impressive 2-year-old winner.
Named after the shorthand term for “momentum,” the colt joins the New York Watch – which profiles up-and-comers that have recently cleared the maiden ranks at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga – following a double-digit debut triumph at Saratoga Race Course on Travers Day.
“I usually name horses after family members, so everybody thinks I have an Uncle Mo,” said the colt’s owner Michael Repole. “If you’re a real sports enthusiast, ‘Uncle Mo’ is when you’re starting to have momentum. You know, if you’re down by 21 points and then you cut the lead down to three, you have momentum.”
In the past week, Repole won the High Rock Springs with Never Right Joey and the Vic Ziegel Memorial with Driven by Success. In addition, Stopspendingmaria was second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville, Another Silver Oak was third in the Grade 2 Sanford, and another juvenile, Stay Thirsty, was a 5 ½-length maiden winner at the Spa on August 14.
“I finally think that Repole Stable, after six years, finally has some momentum,” said Repole, who made his foray into thoroughbred ownership in 2004 and led all owners on the NYRA circuit in 2009 with 51 wins. “I knew this was my best colt as a 2-year-old, at least I thought he was, so I said ‘Uncle Mo, and it’s all about sports momentum.’ I finally think – because I run my stable like a sports team – that right now with Stay Thirsty, Stopspendingmaria, Another Silver Oak, Driven By Success, Overcommunication, and Uncle Mo that we’ve finally got some good players on our team.”
And bettors were expecting that momentum to continue yesterday when they made Uncle Mo the odds-on favorite in his debut against nine opponents in Saratoga’s fifth race. After being hustled from the gate, the bay colt dueled through fractions of 22.20 and 45.67 and extended his advantage at every call, leading by six lengths with a furlong to go and hitting the wire 14 ¼ lengths ahead of Admiral Perry.
The final time of 1:09.21 for six furlongs was good for a preliminary Beyer Speed Figure of 102, currently tied with fellow New York Watch member Boys At Tosconova as the highest for a 2-year-old in North America so far in 2010.
“It was pretty exciting,” trainer Todd Pletcher of Uncle Mo’s performance. “He had trained really, really well all summer and we were encouraged by some of his workmates running well, and we expected him to run well, but that was even more than we anticipated or hoped for.”
The trainer added that Uncle Mo could make his next start in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park on October 9.
Uncle Mo, the third foal out of the stakes-placed mare Playa Maya, sold for $160,000 as a weanling before he was acquired by Repole for $220,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale. His sire, the 1998 Santa Anita Derby winner and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Indian Charlie, has been represented by champions Indian Blessing and Fleet Indian.