Undefeated champion UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie) will make his highly anticipated three-year-old debut on Saturday against only five rivals in the $100,000 Timely Writer S., a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park. Originally scheduled to return in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), the colt's connections -- owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher -- changed course in February and began building up a Timely Writer bid instead.
"The Gulfstream Park surface is very similar to the surface that Mo's training on every day at Palm Meadows," Pletcher explained in late February. "There's also the advantage of a 20-minute van ride to Gulfstream as opposed to a four-hour ride to Tampa Bay."
Uncle Mo has been entered in both races on Saturday, but is almost assured to line up against the likes of Sapling S. (G3) winner MADMAN DIARIES (Bring the Heat) at Gulfstream.
The bay is the class of the field, breaking his maiden by 14 1/4 lengths, capturing the Champagne S. (G1) by 4 3/4 lengths and running away with the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) by 4 1/4 lengths in his three lifetime starts. He's earned nothing but triple-digit BRIS Speed and Late Pace ratings during that time, and should have an easy time in taking his seasonal bow from the rail post under John Velazquez. (Photo Courtesy of Breeders' Cup Ltd.)
Madman Diaries is the only other runner in the field with prior stakes experience. The Wesley Ward charge broke his maiden then triumphed in the Victoria S., both at Woodbine, by a combined 19 lengths last year. He followed that with a runner-up performance in the Colin S., but returned to the winner's circle when trying dirt for the first time in the Sapling at Monmouth Park.
Fourth when making his turf debut in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) in November, Madman Diaries had no run in the February 26 Hutcheson S. (G2) over the track to finish seventh, but could move forward in his second start following the layoff. Regular rider Jeffrey Sanchez has the call.
The rest of the Timely Writer field is made up of maiden and allowance winners. RATTLESNAKE BRIDGE (Tapit) turned heads with a nice maiden win at Gulfstream on February 12, while ROCKING OUT (Include) finished third in his first start of the year against allowance rivals one day later. GALLANT DREAMS (Bernardini) posted his first win when last seen going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park in October, and SCHOOLYARD CAT (Catienus) is returning here off a nine-day break after being well beaten in his past two on turf.