• A Derby Contender No Mo

    POSTED Apr 14, 2011
    All last year I gushed about Uncle Mo like a prepubescent girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I noted that his pace figures were the best I’d ever seen from a two-year-old and at night, under a blanket of stars (my wife insisted that I sleep outdoors until I quit gushing), I dreamed the impossible dream. With visions of Citation, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Secretariat prancing in my head, I imagined that Uncle Mo would win the Triple Crown.

    But that dream has soured.

    Quicker than one could say “unprepared” or “ridiculously light training schedule” or, simply, “Todd Pletcher,” Uncle Mo has fallen from my Derby radar faster than Joe Biden’s eyelids during a recent deficit reduction speech given by his boss, President Barack Obama. (And to think I was made to feel guilty when I nodded off at work once… it’s not like driving a school bus was my career, for heaven’s sake).

    As most racing fans know by now, Uncle Mo, last year’s juvenile champ and this year’s pre-Derby favorite, tasted defeat for the first time in Saturday’s Wood Memorial, when he was third behind Toby’s Corner and Arthur’s Tale as the prohibitive 1-9 favorite. Normally, one loss would not concern me — but it’s the way that “Mo” was defeated that has me crying uncle.

    Look, it’s no secret that I am not a big fan of Todd Pletcher’s training methods and I often lamented that his “kid gloves” approach could prove to be the undoing of Mike Repole’s budding stable star. However, I expected that implosion to occur in the Preakness Stakes, not the Wood.

    Can Uncle Mo bounce back and win the Run for the Roses? Sure, but spare me the comparisons to Secretariat. Yes, “Big Red” lost to a less-than-stellar opponent in Angle Light when he, like Mo, finished third in the 1973 edition of the Wood, but that was Secretariat’s third race as a three-year-old and 12th overall, not his second and fifth respectively. What’s more — and this is crucial — Secretariat rallied off of a slow pace the day he was defeated; Uncle Mo did just the opposite, fading after leading the field through moderate early splits (-4 ESR).

    The significance of this cannot be overstated. Although not as inevitable as death and taxes, leading at the first call of one’s final Derby prep — and not winning — is about as sure a way to get beat in Louisville as there is, short of misjudging the finish line… not like that could ever happen. Since 2000, 13 horses have tried to rebound in the Bluegrass State after setting the pace and losing their last race — only one (Lion Heart) has managed to hit the board. Worse yet, of the 13, three were trained by Todd Pletcher.

    Not exactly the stuff of dreams.

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    Decent Start to ‘Pro’ Career

    While I haven’t exactly been the handicapping version of Blake Griffin, so far, my initial foray into professional betting has gone well. After a relatively strong opening day on Saturday, I struggled a bit with my control on Monday, but regained my composure and have been very disciplined ever since.

    Below is a look at the numbers (remember the dollar totals will not be very impressive initially due to my small starting bankroll of $492.60):

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    Not surprisingly given the rash of low prices I’ve been experiencing lately, it is exotic wagering that has led to all my gains, as the following screenshots from my TwinSpires account amply demonstrate:

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    Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby Top Weekend Stakes

    The last two Grade I Kentucky Derby preps — the $1 million Arkansas Derby and the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes — are scheduled to be run on Saturday at Oaklawn Park and Keeneland, respectively. Below is a look at my Win Factor (computerized fair odds) line and Pace Profile Report summary for each race (remember, the fair odds are just a guideline):

    Arkansas Derby

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    Blue Grass Stakes

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    Anonymous said...

    Like the read. (School Bus! Ah...) Anyway I think I will take the 6 longest shots and box them. That's what Jim at Hawthorne's doing. Good Luck to All.. Merrily F

    Anonymous said...

    I think Joe Biden will win by 10.

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