As the 2011 Wood Memorial came to a close, the track announcer lamented the Kentucky Derby had been blow wide-open by Saturday's race at Aqueduct. Heavy favorite Uncle Mo, who opened at 1-9 odds, rounded the final turn and came down the stretch in the lead, but never found another gear as Toby's Corner and Arthur's Tale came on strong. Uncle Mo was powerless and never responded to his jockey's urgings, fading in a race he had no business losing.
What was supposed to be a quick tuneup turned into an eye-opening event. Toby's Corner went off at 23-1 odds, a far cry from Uncle Mo's 9-1. It's not as if either Toby's Corner or Arthur's Tale are serious challengers for the Kentucky Derby, but Uncle Mo, who had never been challenged, will now be watched closely to see how he bounces back.
Though Uncle Mo's Wood Memorial loss did damage his chances in the eyes of horse racing enthusiasts, it's by no means a death kneel for his Kentucky Derby chances. Secretariat faltered at the Wood Memorial, as well, and we all know what happened next. Though there's no comparing the two horses, losing at Aqueduct could simply be a bump in the road for Uncle Mo as the Kentucky Derby approaches.