x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Horse health comes before Kentucky Derby win for Repole

The trainer faces a fresh batch of inquiries regarding Uncle Mo, a leading contender for Saturday's race

Todd Pletcher arrived in Louisville, Kentucky, this spring knowing he would no longer have to deal with the thorny question of when he would finally win the Kentucky Derby. Super Saver's upset victory a year ago provided the answer.

Now, though, the trainer faces a fresh batch of inquiries regarding Uncle Mo, a leading contender for Saturday's race. The colt, last year's two-year-old Breeders' Cup champion, won his first four career starts and was threatening to turn the 137th running of the Derby into a coronation.

But he suffered a stunning loss in the Wood Memorial on April 9 and was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal infection. Uncle Mo is responding well to treatment, but owner Mike Repole said he is "fifty-fifty" for the Derby.

"As bad as I want to win the Kentucky Derby, I will never sacrifice a horse's health for my ego," Repole said. "Until May 7 comes around and he's at that gate, there's no guarantees in this game."