Outworking the Competition

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10th at AQU, Gr. StkGI Wood Memorial S. ($1m) (1 1/8m)Winner: Outwork, c, 3 by Uncle Mo

Outwork (near) | Adam Coglianese

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The runaway and record-setting freshman sire of 2015, Coolmore’s Uncle Mo is already set to be represented in the GI Kentucky Derby by ante-post favorite and reigning Eclipse Award-winning juvenile Nyquist and is likely to have another sneaky contender in the form of the enigmatic and oft-unlucky Mo Tom and potentially even the maiden Laoban. Outwork, campaigned by Uncle Mo’s charismatic owner Mike Repole, will provide the stallion with yet another live chance on the first Saturday in May following a tough-as-nails defeat of 81-1 Trojan Nation (Street Cry {Ire}) in Saturday’s GI Wood Memorial at a very soggy Aqueduct Racetrack. Adventist (Any Given Saturday) outfinished Matt King Coal (Cool Coal Man) for third.

Exactly five years ago, Uncle Mo was the razor-thin favorite in this very race and carried the lead into the final eighth of a mile before weakening to finish third. The win was sweet redemption for Repole and company.

“To come back here five years later, with a son of Uncle Mo… that was one of my toughest racing days, and this is one of my best racing days,” he said. “My little daughter is nine months old, she won her first Grade 1, it took me 42 years. She’s brought me some pretty good luck.”

Outwork ran to 3-5 favoritism to become Uncle Mo’s very first winner and in front of the country’s biggest breeders at Keeneland, scampering home to score by 2 1/2 lengths last Apr. 23. The homebred colt got the rest of the season off, owing to what connections called some ‘juvenile issues,’ and accompanied his stablemate Destin (Giant’s Causeway) on a van ride north to Tampa Bay to make his seasonal debut in a six-furlong allowance Feb. 13 exactly one hour after Destin took out the GIII Sam F. Davis S. in fine fashion. A generous 9-5 against eight apparently outclassed rivals, Outwork sat up on a decent pace and finished up nicely for a 4 1/4-length success that would set him up for a return trip to Oldsmar exactly four weeks later. The 4-1 third choice–behind favored Brody’s Cause (Giant’s Causeway) and Destin–while making his first start around two turns in the GII Tampa Bay Derby, Outwork took advantage of his low draw in gate two to set the pace, was joined and passed by Destin at the eighth pole, but plugged on gamely to finish second by a nose. With Zulu off to Keeneland for Saturday’s GI Toyota Blue Grass, having skipped a rematch with Mohaymen (Tapit) in the GI Florida Derby, it was up to Outwork to try to give the Todd Pletcher stable is fourth Wood victory in the last seven years.

Drawn widest in this field of eight, Outwork was away in good order and showed his typical speed, but Matt King Coal (Cool Coal Man), pinballed around between horses a few strides out of the gate, pressed through underneath and headed them off midway around the first turn. Shagaf, last-out winner of the GIII Gotham S., was also not the swiftest away and was guided down to the inside to race in the latter half of the field early on. Matt King Coal led them past the 3/4-mile marker, but had to work hard to do so, as the first quarter went up in :22.91 over a track that deteriorated throughout the program. Outwork remained glued to Matt King Coal’s flank through a half in a demanding :46.93, and the two had it between them, but Shagaf began to pinch good ground with a sharp middle move, only to get stopped in his tracks behind Tale of S’avall (Tale of Ekati) with three-eighths of a mile to race. The favorite was gifted a run at the inside when Tale of S’avall was shifted out into the four path and looked as if he would make a race of it. Outwork poked his head in front of Matt King Coal at the head of the lane, but faced a challenge up the fence from the maiden Trojan Nation, who was ridden quietly throughout by journeyman Aaron Gryder and rallied unmolested into the lane. But try as he might, Trojan Nation could not quite get to Outwork as Adventist flew home down the center of the track for third.

“I got him away from him [the other horse] to relax and then at the quarter pole he put his ears up, idled a lot,” said winning jockey John Velazquez, who chose Outwork over Zulu. “He is still a young horse who is still learning. He has mastered a lot and he showed a lot of heart, he went from three-quarters to a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth in a very short time.”

Outwork is the second foal out of Repole’s Nonna Mia, third in the GI Frizette S. and the GIII Tempted S. in 2009. The mare has a 2-year-old filly of this year by Repole’s MGISW Stay Thirsty (Bernardini) and was most recently bred to Giant’s Causeway.

Saturday, Aqueduct
WOOD MEMORIAL S.-GI, $1,000,000, AQU, 4-9, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:52.92, my.
1–#@&OUTWORK, 123, c, 3, by Uncle Mo
1st Dam: Nonna Mia (GSP, $127,150) by Empire Maker
2nd Dam: Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull
3rd Dam: Juliac, by Accipiter
O/B-Repole Stable Inc (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-John R.
Velazquez. $590,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0, $701,800.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
Rating: A+.
2–Trojan Nation, 123, c, 3, Street Cry (Ire)–Storm Song, by
Summer Squall. O-Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones; B-Aaron
Sones (KY); T-Patrick Gallagher. $190,000.
3–Adventist, 123, c, 3, Any Given Saturday–Sharp Minister, by
Deputy Minister. ($100,000 Ylg ’14 FTKOCT). O-Treadway
Racing Stable; B-Monticule (KY); T-Leah Gyarmati. $90,000.

Margins: HD, 2 1/4, NK. Odds: 2.40, 81.50, 10.70.
Also Ran: Matt King Coal, Shagaf, Tale of S’avall, Flexibility, Dalmore. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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