When it comes to the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown as a whole, people are sticklers for tradition and history. You will see many fans base their picks on what "history has to say." Many people threw out Big Brown based on the fact that he was breaking from the 20 hole, and only one other horse had ever won from that post. People made Curlin the Kentucky Derby favorite over Juvenile champion, Street Sense, in 2007, all because he had only run in two preps and no other Breeders Cup Juvenile winner had been victorious in the Run for the Roses. This year will likely be more of the same, with fans making pre-judgments base on historical trends. In that case, why not start with the early Kentucky Derby favorite and what history has in store for him?
Uncle Mo, has been brilliant thus far in his career. In only three starts he has managed to enchant many fans. His brilliance and dominance evoked memories of past greats who managed to completely crush their competition. However history has shown us, that not all precocious juveniles return to their world beating form at three. Uncle Mo's most prestigious victories have come in the Champagne and Breeders Cup Juvenile. In the history of the Champagne, nine winners have come back to have Triple Crown success, horses like Alydar and Forty Niner came very close to adding their names to that list as well. The history between the Juvenile and Derby is far less encouraging. Only two winners of the race came back to have success in the Kentucky Derby.
Since his rise to the head of the division, it has been said by Todd Pletcher that the talented colt will only have two starts before the Kentucky Derby. Some of you history fanatics may use this is as a reason to toss the soon to be Champion 2yr Old, a word of caution though, the last four Derby only had two preps to their credit. Interestingly enough three of those four made at least one start in Florida, and two made that start in the Tampa Bay Derby, the exact race that is highest on the list of probables for Uncle Mo's first start. Uncle Mo's final prep will be in the Wood Memorial.
The Wood has had it's fair share of success, serving as a valid stepping stone to Triple Crown, however it last saw success in 2003 when Empire Maker won the Belmont. However, the last two winners of the race never got a chance to strut their stuff, even both Eskendereya and I Want Revenge were vaulted to early Derby favoritism after the Wood victories. Other than that the Wood was won by horses who either found callings at shorter distances or on other surfaces. This will be the third consecutive year the Wood Memorial will have one of the top contender in it's field. Maybe third time will be the charm that brings the race back to it's glory days in the Triple Crown.
Other tid bits that historically back Uncle Mo up are that two of the last four Derby winners had a dominating performance over Churchill Downs, as juveniles. One of those performances was by Street Sense, the only Breeders Cup Juvenile hero to take the Kentucky Derby. That day he stormed up the rail, crossing the line 1o lengths the best.
If one is a stout historian, who believes in the ways of old, then no, Uncle Mo has a lot to overcome in order to pass the first test of the Triple Crown trial. However, recent history suggests that the talented son of Indian Charlie will have little to worry about.