Uncle Mo retired after elevated enzyme level

BY foxsports • November 7, 2011

Uncle Mo's racing career is over.

Two days after finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, the 3-year-old colt was retired and arrived at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. on Monday.

Mike Repole, who owns the 3-year-old colt, said blood tests Sunday revealed an elevated enzyme level. It's the same enzyme that was elevated in the spring, knocked Uncle Mo out of the Triple Crown races and led to the diagnosis of a life-threatening liver disease.

''We don't want to continue down this road where he's going to get ill again,'' Repole said. ''The vets did say that the stress and rigors of training could always bring about this elevated (enzyme).''

Repole said his 2-year-old champion does not have a recurrence of the disease, but the enzyme level is the highest it's been since the colt was returned to trainer Todd Pletcher's care in July.

Uncle Mo lost 200 pounds while he was sidelined with the illness that initially puzzled veterinarians and Pletcher alike. He returned to the races in August and lost the King's Bishop by a nose before winning the Kelso Handicap by three lengths.

Dr. Doug Byars, one of three veterinarians who diagnosed Uncle Mo earlier this year, told Repole that the elevated enzyme is not hereditary.

''Now I only hope that Uncle Mo passes his speed, disposition, conformation, and brilliance on to his foals,'' Repole said. ''I'm so fortunate, so blessed, and so lucky to own a horse like Uncle Mo.''

The colt won in his debut by 14 1/4 lengths in Saratoga, then won the Champagne and clinched the 2-year-old championship with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. He opened his 3-year-old campaign by winning the Timely Writer at Gulfstream Park before a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct for his first loss.

After missing the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, Uncle Mo came back in the King's Bishop and used the Kelso as a prep for the BC Classic.

Uncle Mo won five of eight races and earned $1.6 million.

''I think his 2-year-old season will go down as good or better than any 2-year-old season we've ever seen,'' Pletcher said. ''To do what he did in a short window of time, to run as fast as he did, and do it as impressively as he did was special. We've been blessed to have had a lot of good 2-year-olds, none of them accomplished what he did.''

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