Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty worked Sunday morning over the training track at Belmont Park--one of them in a bullet time.
Uncle Mo went five furlongs in :58.64 (1/33) under John Velazquez, and Stay Thirsty covered a half-mile in :48.62 (25/98).
It was the first work for both horses since Oct. 1, when Uncle Mo wired the field in the Grade II Kelso Handicap and Stay Thirsty was third in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational. Both of them are pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“Mo’s work was similar to his last work before the Kelso,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “It was a little quicker than we set out to do, but it’s just an indication of how well he’s doing right now.”
Sidelined for nearly four months while he recovered from the liver ailment which kept him out of the Triple Crown, Uncle Mo finished second in his comeback race, the Grade I, seven-furlong Foxwoods King’s Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 27. The race was his first start since a third-place finish in the Grade I Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial on April 9.
Owner Mike Repole said he was also pleased with Uncle Mo’s breeze.
“Todd gave great instructions,” said Repole. “He told Johnny to go between a minute and minute one. Mo misunderstood and decided to go 58 and three. There was a horse working in front of him, and Johnny was afraid that Mo decided to go get that horse. I asked Todd if he was a little upset, and he just said ‘The horse is doing really good right now. What are you going to do, put him in a choke hold?’ He did it so easy. This is the best he’s ever been. This is better than last year, this is better than before the Kelso. This horse could not be doing any better right now.”
While Stay Thirsty’s move under exercise rider Patti Krotenko was not as flashy as that of his stablemate, both owner and trainer said they were happy with the way the Grade I Travers winner looked. He went in company with sprinter Caixa Electronica.
“That was a good, maintenance breeze for him,” said Pletcher. “He was moving well and seemed happy.”
“Stay Thirsty - Steady Thirsty,” quipped Repole. “You tell Stay Thirsty to go 48 and three, he goes 48 and three, and then he comes back and he asks ‘Did I go 48 and three?’ And I say ‘Yes, you did.’ He does everything right. I spoke to Patty (Krotenko), and she said she had plenty, plenty of horse underneath her. Caixa Eletronica was on the inside, but at any time she could have just went by him. He’s Stay Thirsty. Mo decides what he wants to do. It’s the Mo show.”
Pletcher confirmed that both horses would work at Belmont next weekend before shipping to Churchill Downs, likely on Monday, October 24.
“We’ll probably do something a little further with Stay Thirsty, and I’m not sure what we’ll do with Mo next week,” said Pletcher. “We’re going into a 1 1/4-mile race off a seven-furlong and a mile race under our belt, so we want to make sure that we’re fit enough, and I think we made a big step in that direction today. Monday (Oct. 24) is the schedule at the moment, with one work at Churchill Downs.”
--Edited NYRA release