At Aqueduct Race Course Saturday, it was Uncle Mo exposed.
The horse, who had been the Kentucky Derby favorite since he won the Breeders' Cup last November, was upset and finished third Saturday in the Wood Memorial. Toby's Corner won the Wood with a closing rush, nipping Arthur's Tale at the wire. Uncle Mo was another length back.
Toby's Corner, a son of Bellamy Road, is now on the way to Churchill with $600,000 in his bankroll after winning the million dollar race. Uncle Mo, who was at the top of most everyone's Derby list, is now a question mark for the race. Todd Pletcher says Mo will train at Churchill and a decision will be made after two works.
Trainer Graham Motion says Toby's Corner will move on to Churchill and believes the Derby distance won't be a problem.
The outcome was particularly shocking because the Wood field was thought to be very weak, and this looked like nothing more than a training run for Uncle Mo. Instead, the finish was Larry, Curly and Mo…finishing third.
Meanwhile, the final Derby prep out West was just as shocking.
Midnight Interlude, who had only a maiden win to his credit, won the million dollar Santa Anita Derby for Bob Baffert. He was really a Baffert second stringer, until 8:15 Sunday night. Baffert's favorite, Jaycito was scratched on Friday, but that opened the door for the son of War Chant. Midnight Interlude didn't run a race until late January and broke his maiden on his third try on March 20. Now he's a Grade One winner and a Derby horse.
Comma to the Top set the pace in the Santa Anita Derby and finished second after he was passed in the last fifty yards. His connections had said before the race that they would not go to the Derby, but it's now so wide open, that could change.
How wide open? The Illinois Derby was won by a little known Todd Pletcher horse that has now won three in a row. Joe Vann broke his maiden in February and on Saturday won the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne with the slowest time for that race in 25 years. He takes home $167,000 for Saturday's win and that puts him on the bubble for Derby graded stakes money.
To give you a sense of the quality of this race, a maiden named Zoebear finished second and the Fed Eased was third. The favorite, Tampa Bay Derby winner Watch Me Go, instead was "Watch Me Stop, in the Stretch."
At the end of the day, the Kentucky Derby picture was scrambled eggs, except for Florida Derby winner Dialed In, who now emerges as the current favorite.
And oh yes, the writers are now re-stacking those Derby Top Ten or Top Twenty lists. Where do they put Uncle Mo now?