Uncle Mo makes his long-awaited three-year-old debut in the ungraded $100,000 Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park. This is a newly created one mile race for three-year-olds said to have been made to entice Uncle Mo to stay close to home for his debut rather than traveling to Tampa for the Tampa Bay Derby. Gulfstream Park is about a 20 minute drive from Uncle Mo's home base at Palm Meadows while Tampa Bay Downs is about 4 hours away.
Uncle Mo is at the top of the graded earnings list with $1,260,000, so unlike most of the Derby contenders, his connections don't have to worry about having the stakes money to get into the Derby. However, Uncle Mo does need a race to prepare for his likely final Derby prep, the Grade 1 Wood Memorial scheduled for April 9th, and the Timely Writer has the distance and the surface trainer Todd Pletcher wanted for his colt's first race since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by 4 1/4 lengths.
Uncle Mo will face five competitors--Gallant Dreams, Madman Diaries, Rocking Out, Schoolyard Cat, and Rattlesnake Bridge. The obvious second choice behind Uncle Mo is the only stakes performer in the field, Madman Diaries who finished seventh as the betting public's second choice in the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes a few weeks ago. Since the Timely Writer Stakes is ungraded, this lot is likely not aiming for the Kentucky Derby.
The race Saturday should be more of a public work for Uncle Mo with a short field of much lesser quality horses. Still, we've seen some short-priced stars fizzle out already this year when they were supposed to be unbeatable. Dialed In was beaten last Sunday when entered into an allowance race for older, albeit less skilled, males, and early into the Derby prep season Comma To The Top, Tapizar, and To Honor And Serve failed to perform when heavy favorites.
The Timely Writer is the 8th race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday with a scheduled post time of 4:25 PM and can be seen on TVG and HRTV.
Photo: Courtesy Jessie Oswald