The most anticipated debut of the young racing season takes place Saturday.
Undefeated champion Uncle Mo, last seen demolishing nine rivals in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Nov. 6, will make his first start of 2011 against five others in the $100,000, 1-mile Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Uncle Mo was cross-entered in Saturday's Grade II Tampa Bay Derby as a backup in case the Timely Writer did not fill. However, Gulfstream Park's racing office found a handful of brave souls willing to have their charges face the son of Indian Charlie.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Mike Repole, Uncle Mo will break from post-position No. 1 in the Timely Writer where he is expected to go off at odds of 1-5 or less against his apparently overmatched rivals.
"You know, he's training so well (at Palm Meadows Training Center) and the surface there is very similar to the surface at Gulfstream," Repole said of the decision to have Uncle Mo go in the Timely Writer rather than the 11⁄16-mile Tampa Bay Derby. "The surface at Tampa is way different. We know he can get two turns. He proved that already in the Breeders' Cup ... and I just thought it was just the right move for the horse."
Uncle Mo does not figure to get the stiffest of tests in the Timely Writer. Madman Diaries is the only other stakes winner in the field, having captured the Grade III Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park last September.
Uncle Mo has won his first three career starts by a combined 231/4 lengths.
First mares in foal to Blame
Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame had his first two mares confirmed in foal last week after beginning his initial season at stud at Claiborne Farm.
Promptly, an Irish-bred stakes winner and graded stakes producer, was the first mare to be confirmed in foal. Boarded at Three Chimneys Farm, the mare is owned by London Thoroughbred Services and George Strawbridge.
In addition, Silk Briefcase was confirmed in foal. Silk Briefcase is owned by Nancy C. Shuford and is boarded at Elm Tree Farm.
HRRN to broadcast entire Triple Crown
The Lexington-based Horse Racing Radio Network announced Wednesday it will broadcast all three Triple Crown races for the first time this year.
Having broadcast the Preakness Stakes since 2008 and providing national coverage of the Belmont Stakes three of the past four years, HRRN reached an agreement with Churchill Downs to take on the Kentucky Derby as well.
The Kentucky Derby launches the Triple Crown series on May 7, and is followed by the Preakness on May 21 and the Belmont on June 11.
HRRN broadcasts — available on affiliates around the country — can be heard in Lexington on HANK-FM 96.1.
Future Wager Pool 2 opens Friday
Uncle Mo enters Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager as the 7-2 second choice. Betting begins at noon Friday.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia set the mutuel field as the 3-1 favorite.
Following Uncle Mo are Soldat, 8-1; The Factor, 10-1; and Dialed In, 10-1.
■ The only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool of the spring also opens Friday at noon. The mutuel field is the favorite at 5-2.