Champion and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) star UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie) continued preparing for his expected sophomore bow in the March 12 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) with a half-mile move in :49 3/5 over Palm Meadows Training Center's fast dirt on Sunday. It was the second work for the Todd Pletcher pupil since his Breeders' Cup triumph at Churchill Downs in early November.
"I thought he worked excellent," Pletcher said. "Last week, he just had an easy three-eighths, and I was actually surprised how much he moved forward off of just that one easy work."
Uncle Mo has won his three lifetime races by a combined 23 1/4 lengths. The bay dominated his maiden debut by 14 1/4 lengths prior to romping by 4 3/4 lengths in his stakes bow, the October 9 Champagne S. (G1). The sophomore is widely considered the early favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1).
"His work this morning was pretty much a textbook half-mile," Pletcher said. "He went nice and easy and galloped out really strong. He came back not tired at all. He'll likely go another half-mile next week."
Pletcher also had another pair of well-regarded three-year-olds on the track Sunday morning.
Hopeful S. (G1) runner-up STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini), fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile to close out his juvenile campaign, breezed four furlongs in :49 3/5. The dark bay, who like Uncle Mo is owned by Repole Stable, has the March 5 Gotham S. (G3) penciled in for his 2010 debut.
Undefeated three-year-old BRETHREN (Distorted Humor) traveled five-eighths in 1:01 in advance of his stakes debut in Saturday's Sam F. Davis S. (G3). The WinStar Farm homebred is a half-brother to last year's Kentucky Derby star Super Saver, who gave Pletcher his first Derby winner.
On a sidenote, a possible up-and-coming stakes horse for WinStar and Pletcher came out of his debut on Saturday well. CAL NATION (Distorted Humor) captured his initial race by 7 3/4 lengths in the 8TH race at Gulfstream Park.
"Cal Nation came out of his race well," Pletcher said of the three-year-old colt. "It's a little late (for him to get onto the Kentucky Derby trail). We'd have to make up a lot of time. I think we'll just take the conservative route with him."