Kentucky Derby Favorite Uncle Mo Treated for Gastric Infection, Owner Says

Uncle Mo is being treated for a gastrointestinal tract infection three weeks before the colt is set to run as the favorite in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

The 3-year-old reigning juvenile champion underwent medical tests after “an uncharacteristically poor effort” in last weekend’s Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, New York, Pletcher said. Uncle Mo, owned by Mike Repole, came in third for his first defeat in five starts.

“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 yesterday in an e-mail. “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.”

Uncle Mo will travel on April 18 to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where he will return to full training with two workouts before the May 7 Derby, the trainer said.

Uncle Mo won the $100,000 Timely Writer Stakes in his debut as a 3-year-old on March 12, his first race since he won the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.

Repole, Uncle Mo’s owner, is co-founder of Glaceau Vitaminwater sports drink, which was sold to Coca Cola Co. for $4.1 billion in 2007.

“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,” Repole said in an e-mail.

In addition to Uncle Mo, Repole owns Derby contender Stay Thirsty.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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