Uncle Mo, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, will spend a month on Jimmy Crupi's New Castle Farm in Ocala. Fla., before joining trainer Todd Pletcher's south Florida string at the Palm Meadows training center, his connections announced on Monday.
Pletcher said Monday that Uncle Mo was vanned from Churchill Downs to New Castle on Nov. 9, three days after he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by 4 1/4 lengths, capping a 3-for-3 season that will likely be rewarded with an Eclipse Award as North America's best 2-year-old. Uncle Mo also won the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont Park.
Pletcher said that while at New Castle Uncle Mo would simply be hand-walked plus get some turnout time in a paddock. Pletcher said that Uncle Mo would likely ship to Palm Meadows around Dec. 1.
Both Pletcher and owner Mike Repole felt that sending the horse to New Castle was a better alternative than shipping him back to New York -- where the weather can be unpredictable -- or to Palm Meadows before Pletcher gets there on a regular basis.
"Other than Todd, Crupi knows the horse better than anybody," said Repole, who noted that Juvenile fifth-place finisher Stay Thirsty was also sent to New Castle. "He picked him out and he had him for nine months before sending him to Todd."
Both Pletcher and Repole reiterated that Uncle Mo would most likely have two races before the May 7 Kentucky Derby, with the second of those races most likely being the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Though the Wood has not yet been officially scheduled, it is usually held four weeks before the Kentucky Derby, which means it would be run on April 9.
When and where Uncle Mo would start before then has yet to be determined. Pletcher did say that he would not start Uncle Mo back at 1 1/8 miles, which essentially eliminates the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 26 at Gulfstream Park from consideration. The Hutcheson, run the same day at seven furlongs, could be a possibility, Pletcher said.
"Mike seems to want to emphasize the Wood," said Pletcher, who won last year's Wood with Eskendereya. "If that works out that's what we would probably do, but it will be up to the horse's schedule."