Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend Stars

We may not have been able to see whether Sidney's Candy was the real deal over turf or if he was "Bellamy Road" type of horse. However, what we were able to see this weekend were three displays. One that left us dazzled and wanting more, the other one won with such measured ease, and the last was of explosiveness and true grit.

Uncle Mo came in the Champagne after dazzling race-goers at Saratoga with a dominant 14.5 length romp. Over a surface that was deep and tiring, making other horses older and more mature, come to all but a halt in the stretch, Uncle Mo spurted home in a final furlong of 11.76. He was now out to prove that he was the real deal and in doing so he was being asked to go a quarter of a mile further while duplicating his Saratoga form.

Mo broke sharply and looked to be engaged in a heated speed duel that was sure to soften him up. The first quarter mile in went in a blistering 22.4 with a half in 45.92. By now Uncle Mo was still battling with I'm Steppin Up and Mountain Town was beginning to roll on the outside. Mo seemingly beaten down on the inside, as they neared the final turn, kicked into a whole new gear and dispensed of his two challenger easily. He crossed the wire 4.5 lengths the best in the second best time in Champagne history, 1.34.51. He stated with empathy that he is the real deal.

Proviso is now jockey Mike Smith's "Grass Zenyatta." There is no denying the European import is one of the best milers in the country despite the fact she loves to get to the wire in just the nick of time. Racing second last for the majority of the race through solid opening fractions of 23.92, 47.54, and 1.11.75 Mike Smith swung his mount to the outside to begin her rally. As the field turned for home she remained on her wrong lead, and while she was still coming up her explosive kick was nowhere near what it had been in her last three starts. Then midway down the stretch she switched onto her right lead and with late surge she sprinted home to nip C.S. Silk on the wire.

After so much excitement Keeneland fans were still ready for one more as the field for the Shadwell Mile assembled on the track. Gio Ponti, reigning Turf Champion led the group, but even with his champion status some wondered if he had lost a step since last year and if he could be vulnerable against the likes of Get Stormy, Enriched and Courageous Cat.

Like Proviso, Gio Ponti broke and settled second to last. He seemed to be traveling well as Acting Zippy felt the pressure of Enriched, Get Stormy, and Courageous Cat all breathing down his neck and ran opening splits of 24.22, 47.98, and 1.11.91. As the field turned for home Ramon Dominguez gave Gio Ponti his cue and the 5yr old began to commence his bid. With Society's Chairman keeping him in close quarters, Gio Ponti stormed passed Get Stormy and then pulled alongside of Courageous Cat. Gio Ponti surged between horses passing Courageous Cat and ridding himself of that pesky Society's Chairman to win by an easy and measured length.

With such sparking performances on display Uncle Mo has most likely established himself as the favorite for the Breeders Cup Juvenile, even over Rick Dutrow's talented Boys at Tuscanova, while Gio Ponti and Proviso cemented their status as worthy challengers to Goldikova who will try for an unprecedented three-peat in the Breeders Cup Mile.


  1. dani,mo remind me of curlin...................gio looked good,mile hight be his best distance also seems to me he runs better between horses too.......2010 make it happen!

  2. Anon, I'm gonna guess that your Keith, let me know if i'm wrong, lol.

    Curlin's maiden was unbeleivable. I think you could compare this last one to his Rebel Stakes. I can't wait for the Juvenile. We'll have Jaycito, who I like, vs JP's Gusto vs Boys vs Mo. That is a darn good line up of horses that could really do some damage on the TC trail next year. Mo is fast and I like that he relaxes on the lead. Such a cruising speed with the ability to relax makes me believe if somebody was crazy enought to throw in a rabbit he would rate off of them. That speed, relaxation and ending kick makes him very dangerous.

    Gio looked very good to me. He'll give a good account of himself in the Mile, and i really do believe that it's his best distance. I also believe the foundation he has gotten from going long this year has set him up beautifully for a Mile assult. He's a gritty horse that will fight, like Affirmed or Real Quiet. That is probably why it's easier to surprise him. I was impressed because that was a solid, solid field and Ramon didn't even uncock his whip.

  3. A few weeks ago I thought Goldikova was the best bet in the Breeders Cup, and I still think she has a great chance to win, but boy the Mile is looking pretty tough. If Gio Ponti runs like this in the Mile he will have a big shot to win. I saw Uncle Mo run in Saratoga and Jaycito at Hollywood Park. Uncle Mo looked very good but Jaycito has a chance. A lot of horses this year have really moved up going from synthetic to dirt.

  4. Mike,

    Goli and Gio will most certainly be an interesting match up.

    Jaycito is in my top three. Right now Mo, Jaycito, and Boys would be my top three. Mo is some kind of freak. My hope is that his ability to relax while on the lead under pressure will translate into him being able to relax just off the pace as a three year old. If that happens and he progresses from 2 to 3 we will be seeing one promising colt.