Uncle Mo Still Strong Favorite

Uncle Mo looms as strong favorite in final Derby Future Pool

Repole Stable's unbeaten champion UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie) (#22), who has yet to be challenged in his four career races, looms as a strong favorite when the third and final betting pool in Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) opens its three-day run on Friday.

The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Indian Charlie was the narrow 3-1 favorite in the March 11-13 second pool of the Derby Future bet, edging the Mutuel Field, or 'All Others' (#24), which closed at odds of 7-2. But Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia's morning line odds for KDFW Pool 3 forecast Uncle Mo to be the 3-1 favorite over rising stars THE FACTOR (War Front) (#19), the Bob Baffert-trained winner of the Rebel (G3) at Oaklawn Park who is listed at 6-1, and the Myung Kwon Cho owned-and-trained PREMIER PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus) (#14), winner of the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita and an 8-1 shot in Pool 3. The latter was not a wagering interest in either of the first two KDFW pools of 2011, but emerged as a major Kentucky Derby contender with his 7 3/4-length victory in Santa Anita's San Felipe.

Wagering on Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 opens at noon (EDT) on Friday at racetracks and off-track betting centers and through TwinSpires.com and other advance deposit wagering platforms. Betting on the pool is scheduled to close at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) will be run on Saturday, May 7, at Churchill Downs.

Although there is a major Kentucky Derby prep race on this weekend's schedule in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, the final KDFW pool of 2011 will be conducted in advance of stakes races that are traditionally among the most important indicators of success in the big race at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Next week's April 9 stakes schedule features the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct, which is scheduled to be the final Kentucky Derby prep for Uncle Mo, and the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1), which figures to attract Premier Pegasus. The April 16 schedule is headed by the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), which could be the final Kentucky Derby prep for The Factor, and the $750,000 Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. Other preps still to be run after Sunday's conclusion of the final KDFW pool include the $250,000 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne Park, Keeneland's $200,000 Lexington (G3) and the $200,000 The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial (G3) on the April 30 'Opening Night' program at Churchill Downs.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager provides fans with opportunities to wager on potential contenders for the famed 'Run for the Roses' at odds that could be much more attractive than those available on the day of America's greatest race. It offers win and exacta wagering, and all bets are $2 minimum wagers, and there are no refunds on any KDFW wager. If it is determined that an individual horse has suffered an illness, injury or other circumstance that would prevent the horse from competing in Kentucky Derby, wagering on that interest will be suspended immediately.

Total wagering during the first two KDFW pools of 2011 hovered just under the $1 million mark at $969,191. Winning payouts on Pool 3 will be determined by the odds that are in place when wagering concludes on Sunday.

The Mutuel Field (#24), which includes all three-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses on the roster of Pool 3 wagering interests, has been installed at 10-1 odds in Pool 3, and is the co-third choice in Pool 3 with Holy Bull (G3) winner DIALED IN (Mineshaft) (#6) and Fountain of Youth (G2) winner SOLDAT (War Front) (#17). Both Dialed In and Soldat are expected to run in Sunday's Florida Derby, along with KDFW Pool 3 wagering interests TO HONOR AND SERVE (Bernardini) (#20), STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini) (#18) and WATCH ME GO (West Acre) (#23).

Eight new horses are listed among the betting interests in KDFW Pool 3. That group includes the winners of last week's round of major Kentucky Derby preps: Spiral (G3) winner ANIMAL KINGDOM (Leroidesanimaux [Brz]) (#1), Louisiana Derby (G2) winner PANTS ON FIRE (Jump Start) (#13) and Sunland Park Derby (G3) winner TWICE THE APPEAL (Successful Appeal) (#21). Other Pool 3 newcomers are Spiral runner-up DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction) (#7); MR. COMMONS (Artie Schiller) (#10), who is expected to run in the Santa Anita Derby; Louisiana Derby runner-up NEHRO (Mineshaft) (#12); Premier Pegasus and Tampa Bay Derby (G3) winner Watch Me Go.

Wagering interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager are chosen by a panel that includes West Coast correspondent Brad Free and national handicapper Mike Watchmaker, both of Daily Racing Form, and John Asher, vice president of Racing Communications at Churchill Downs.

Thirteen made eligible for Triple Crown via late nomination

Thirteen sophomores have joined the list of horses eligible to compete in the three spring classic races that make up the 2011 Triple Crown series. Those horses were nominated at a cost of $6,000 each during the Triple Crown's late nomination period and are now eligible to run in the $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, the $1 million Preakness (G1) at Pimlico and the $1 million Belmont S. (G1) at Belmont Park.

The addition of 13 horses to the roster of nominees to the 2011 Triple Crown nomination roster brings the total number of nominees to 377. Early nominations to the Triple Crown closed on January 22 with 364 three-year-olds -- headed by unbeaten juvenile champion Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) -- made eligible to compete in the three-race series. Early Triple Crown nominations required a fee of $600. The late nomination period closed at midnight (EDT) on March 26.

The most accomplished of the horses listed among the late Triple Crown nominees are WATCH ME GO (West Acre), winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G3); NORMAN ASBJORNSON (Real Quiet), runner-up to Stay Thirsty (Bernardini) in the Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct; unbeaten SMOKE IT RIGHT (Smoke Glacken), hero of the Mountain Valley S. at Oaklawn Park; Turf Paradise Derby victor BEER MEISTER (Pleasant Top); Rushaway S. star SWIFT WARRIOR (First Samurai); and JOES BLAZING AARON (Graeme Hall), scorer of the grassy Palm Beach S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

from brisnet.com

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