Roedemeier: Contessa says Uncle Sigh has 'affinity for a sloppy track'


by Gary Roedemeier

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 6:56 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 30 at 6:57 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Derby 140 will be a bi-coastal showdown for horses bred in New York and California.

The west coast bred California Chrome is the favorite, but the east coast bred Samraat and Uncle Sigh may follow in the footsteps of Derby winner Funnycide.

Fresh off the van from New York, Uncle Sigh is stretching his legs at Churchill Downs. He’s the son of Indian Charlie and all of his races and works have been in New York. But while trainer Gary Contessa's favorite “uncle” is new to Churchill’s track, he is no stranger to rain.

“He's always shown an affinity for a sloppy track or a wet track. That's a good thing. If we had a wet track on Saturday, I'd be one of the few guys probably rooting for a wet track,” Contessa said.

Contessa said he will be rooting against a bad post and the bad break that put Uncle Sigh last, early in the Wood Memorial Stakes. On that day, Contessa said he believes, the horse was distracted.

“I've always wanted to put blinkers on him. I think he wasn't quite focused that day. I didn't want to do it off his great Gotham race. We put blinkers on him and I think this horse is just a focus away from being a much better horse,” he said.

Of course Palace Malice got blinkers last year, and stopped after setting a wicked pace.

Contessa said Uncle Sigh has been schooled to rate and run between horses, and with some improvement.

“I do believe it's a wide open race, I know that Chrome looks like the horse, but there's a lot of horses that look like they have a chance. So just being here, I think we have a great chance,” Contessa said.  

Uncle Sigh had his final serious workout for the Kentucky Derby last Friday at Belmont Park. Now all that remains is waiting five days for that chance, that great chance.


Click here for WHAS11's coverage of the 140th Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.