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Toby's Corner v. Uncle Mo
Category: Member Blogs


 

We all know what happened, but the question is ‘why?’  I’m speaking about the Wood Memorial that took place last Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.  9-5 favorite, Uncle Mo was handily beaten by Toby’s Corner, and longshot, Arthur’s Tale. I first want to compare the two colts, Toby’s Corner and Uncle Mo, since the outcome of the Wood Memorial surprised most racing experts. 

A homebred chestnut colt by Bellamy Road, and out of Brandon’s Ride, by Mister Frisky, Toby’s Corner is daunting in stature and conformation.  He seems to be a large horse, and built like a greyhound, which are some of the assets I look for in a racehorse.  His sire also won the Wood Memorial by over seventeen lengths in his three year old career, and this is his first crop of three year olds.

Our champion juvenile colt, Uncle Mo, is a compact horse, though he is 16.2 hands.  Because of his strapping build, and solid legs, I would believe he is not as prone to injury as most horses are during this growing stage.  Uncle Mo, who sold for $250,000 as a two year old, is bred for average distance races, being by Indian Charlie, who is known for siring outstanding sprinters, including Breeders’ Cup winner, Indian Blessing.  Uncle Mo’s broodmare sire is Arch, whose most popular offspring is 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Blame.

Comparing their training records, I found there was a substantial difference in the two colts’ training histories. Some commentators speculated that Uncle Mo may have been under-trained.  I believe the opposite may actually be true. 

TOBY’S CORNER’S WORKOUT HISTORY: (February-April 13th)

(Date, distance, time, location)

02/24/2011: 5 Furlongs 1:02.2  Fair Hill Training Center

03/27/2011: 4 Furlongs :48.4   Fair Hill Training Center

04/03/2011: 6 Furlongs 1:15.2  Fair Hill Training Center

UNCLE MO’S WORKOUT HISTORY: (February-April 13th)

(Date, distance, time, location)

02/13/2011: 4 Furlongs :47.45  Palm Meadows Training Center

02/20/2011: 5 Furlongs 1:01.4  Palm Meadows Training Center

02/27/2011: 5 Furlongs 1:00.6  Palm Meadows Training Center

03/06/2011: 4 Furlongs :48.8   Palm Meadows Training Center

03/27/2011: 4 Furlongs :49.45  Palm Meadows Training Center

04/03/2011: 4 Furlongs :48.2   Palm Meadows Training Center

I do not have access to any inside information regarding the training habits of either colts, and am just drawing my own conclusions based on the public information made available. 

Toby’s Corner was worked on an all-weather track (synthetic), which typically produces faster times.  Uncle Mo was worked on a dirt surface constructed very similarly to Gulfstream Park’s main track, where he won the Timely Writer. Because of the times listed above, it seems as though Uncle Mo was pressed to run hard, while Toby’s Corner was receiving just enough urging to build up wind and endurance.

It is interesting to note that both colts’ final works prior to a race were similar. Toby’s Corner had his final work six days prior to both the Whirlaway, and the Wood Memorial, with the exception of his breeze before the Gotham, in which he placed third, was nine days out.  Uncle Mo’s final works was also six days out from the Timely Writer and Wood Memorial. 

Again referring to the statistics above, the two colt’s works seemed dissimilar to me. Uncle Mo’s works indicate to me that possibly the exercise rider was instructed to get a bullet work out of him the majority of the time.  Contrary to Toby’s Corner, where it appears that his rider may have been told to work him on a more relaxed rein.  Uncle Mo’s works came in closer more frequent intervals, whereas the majority of Toby’s Corner’s longer, slower works came less frequently. 

As a competitive swimmer, I would rarely sprint when preparing for races.  Practicing at lengthier distances builds up more endurance and strength than sprinting.  I do not understand why there is such differences in training styles with these two sports that are so comparable. This leads me to the conclusion that Toby’s Corner is being conditioned more in a “swimming style”, which may bring him more positive race results.  I remember reading about ‘morning glories’.  This term’s definition is a horse which puts in the fastest times of the day, but never seems to perform up to expectations in the afternoon.  I was always taught that training is training, racing is racing and the two should never be mixed.  

These are both wonderfully gifted horses that I admire greatly and look forward to watching them face off in the quest for the Triple Crown.  Could Uncle Mo be playing a card from the Secretariat deck, placing third in the Wood Memorial, and then going on to make Triple Crown history?    I know I will be watching with my fingers crossed!

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