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Uncle Mo has infection but still might run in Derby

Reigning juvenile champion Uncle Mo has been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal infection, according to blood tests conducted after his third-place finish in the Grade I Wood Memorial last Saturday.

According to a statement issued by trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole on Thursday, Uncle Mo was given the OK by veterinarians to return to full training while being treated for the ailment. Uncle Mo is still scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Monday in preparation for his expected start in the Kentucky Derby.

"If I do not feel that Uncle Mo is 100 percent for the Kentucky Derby, both Mike and I agree that he will not run," Pletcher said in the statement. "My main focus is to return Uncle Mo to optimum health in the next 23 days and I am optimistic that we can accomplish this goal."

Pletcher said Uncle Mo is scheduled to have two works prior to the Derby.

Uncle Mo was beaten by Toby's Corner in the Wood Memorial after winning his first four career starts, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November.

Repole said in his statement that if the colt does not fully rebound prior to the Derby, they would probably skip the first leg of the Triple Crown and point for the Preakness Stakes two weeks later.

"I am relieved the vets were able to find a reason why we got a disappointing performance from Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial," Repole said. "I, like all racing fans, hope Uncle Mo will be 100 percent on May 7 and in the starting gate at Churchill Downs.

"Though it has been a lifelong dream to run and win the Kentucky Derby, if Uncle Mo is not 100 percent, we will skip the Derby and go right to the Preakness.

"I have the utmost confidence in Todd, his staff, and Mo's team of veterinarians. We all appreciate everyone's concern and care for this wonderfully gifted champion."

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