Gastrointestinal Tract Infection Will Decide Uncle Mo's Derby Fate

Owner Mike Repole said a decision on whether Uncle Mo, the current second favorite, will run in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands will be made late today May 5, or early tomorrow.

After the one-time Derby favorite exercised over the Churchill Downs track early May 5, Repole said it was obvious that the son of Indian Charlie looks good physically but is still bothered by internal problems that are being reviewed by a team of veterinarians.

"His energy is up, his appetite is up, and his attitude is up," Repole said. "You can see how he's doing physically. But when it's an internal problem...these horses can't talk."

Last year's 2-year-old champion male and winner of the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile has been treated for a gastrointestinal tract infection since sustaining his first career loss when third in the April 9 Resorts World New York Casino Wood Memorial Stakes.

Noting that the decision on whether Uncle Mo runs will be made by a "committee" consisting of three veterinarians and trainer Todd Pletcher, Repole said his "worst nightmare" is that those four come to a 2-2 tie on whether Uncle Mo runs. He then clarified that statement to say that the final decision would be up to Pletcher, even if the veterinarians agreed the colt was okay to run but Pletcher did not want to go.

Repole had earlier said a decision might not be made until Derby Day, but on May 5 said the connections had an obligation to race fans to let them know earlier: "If he is not 100% tomorrow (Friday), he will not be 100% Saturday."

According to Repole, the veterinarians, headed by Doug Byars, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, director of the medicine clinic at Hagyard-Davidson-McGee equine practice in Lexington, Ky., who has been treating Uncle Mo for the infection, will meet later May 5 to review tests they conducted earlier in the day, with a decision to follow.

"It may not be the decision I want (if he does not run) but that would be the decision," said Repole.

If Uncle Mo misses the Derby, he would not contest either of the other two Triple Crown races (the Preakness Stakes or the Belmont Stakes), Repole said.

Jockey John Velazquez, who was aboard Uncle Mo when he went to the track, said he is not part of the decision on whether the colt runs in the Derby.

"I know what you know," Velazquez repeated several times when asked about the nature of Uncle Mo's internal health. "He looks good to me ... but it's up to them."

About the Author

Ron Mitchell/The Horse

Ron Mitchell is Online Managing Editor for The Blood-Horse magazine. A Lexington native, Mitchell joined The Blood-Horse after serving in editorial capacities with The Thoroughbred Record and Thoroughbred Times, specializing in business and auction aspects of the industry, and was editor-in-chief of the award-winning Horsemen’s Journal. As online managing editor, Mitchell works closely with The Blood-Horse news editor and other departments to make sure the website content is the most thorough and accurate source for all Thoroughbred news, results, videos, and data.

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