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Uncle Sigh among Wood Memorial probables
Trainer Gary Contessa seemed pleased with what he saw physically and mentally on Friday morning after $1 million Wood Memorial hopeful Uncle Sigh had an easy gallop around Belmont Park's training track, his second day back after a six-furlong work in 1:15 on Tuesday.
"He's handled everything really well; he could care less," said Contessa of the bay son of Indian Charlie. "He's cool, calm and collected. He's got the right mental frame for all of this. Whether we make it or not to the show, if he does, mentally, he is on par. He'll look at 150,000 people and say, 'Eh, whatever.' That's such a huge asset."
Contessa said he would like to get one more breeze into Uncle Sigh prior to the Wood, either on Monday or Tuesday.
"Last week I wanted to work him Saturday, and it didn't work out," he said. "It looks like it'll be OK to work him Monday or Tuesday. That would be the game plan. He had a sensational work the other day. Galloped out a mile in 1:43; he could probably run off that. I don't feel like I'm under any pressure to say 'Oh, he absolutely has to work Monday.' If he doesn't work Monday, he'll work Tuesday, maybe an easy half-mile or something."
Uncle Sigh will enter next Saturday's 1 1/8-mile Wood Memoiral off a pair of narrow losses to undefeated Samraat in the Withers and the Gotham, races Contessa likened to Rocky and Rocky II.
"Maybe this will be Rocky III," Contessa said.
In addition to the rematch between Samraat and Uncle Sigh, the Wood Memorial is also likely to feature Social Inclusion, sensational winner of an allowance race in his last start at Gulfstream Park; Tonalist, a promising colt for Christophe Clement; Kristo, third in the San Felipe last out; Wicked Strong, fourth in an allowance when last on the track; Kid Cruz, winner of the Private Terms at Laurel in his most recent outing; Los Barrachos, who broke his maiden on March 8 at the Big A; and Effinex, 6 1/4-length winner of a New York-bred allowance on March 23.
Harpoon and Noble Moon are possible for the race.