Uncle Mo to return next week

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Uncle Mo, last year's 2-year-old champion who missed the Kentucky Derby because of a rare liver disease, has recently started galloping and is expected to ship to Saratoga next Monday, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Uncle Mo has been based at WinStar Farm in Kentucky since May 9 and started jogging on June 24.

"Excellent so far," Pletcher said when asked how Uncle Mo was doing.

Pletcher wouldn't say Uncle Mo was ahead of schedule, because "we didn't really have a schedule."

Mike Repole, the owner of Uncle Mo, has previously stated a dream scenario under which Uncle Mo could make the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 27, but it remains to be seen if there is enough time to get the sufficient preparation into the colt to make a race of that stature.

Pletcher said that his top 3-year-old filly, R Heat Lightning, who underwent surgery to remove a chip out of a knee, will also ship from WinStar to Saratoga next Monday, but he didn't think she would make a race at the Saratoga meet.

R Heat Lightning won the Davona Dale and Gulfstream Park Oaks by a combined 15 1-/2 lengths before being forced to miss the Kentucky Oaks with the knee chip.