Uncle Mo (1-5 favorite on morning line)
Derivation of name: Although owner Mike Repole often names horses after his family and friends, he does not have an uncle named Mo. According to Repole, the time was right to name a horse “Uncle Mo,” which is sports slang for momentum.
Factoids: The undefeated colt has his own Facebook page with more than 3,900 fans, and recently launched his own website, www.unclemo.com … According to his Facebook page, Uncle Mo’s sweetheart is stablemate Awesome Maria… Uncle Mo is fond of carrots and peppermints, but will also eat Pirate’s Booty, if only to humor his owner (Repole is chairman of Pirate’s Booty) … Although Uncle Mo was Repole’s first Grade 1 winner when he won the Champagne and first Eclipse winner, as 2010’s Top 2-Year-Old Male, ironically, in 2009, Repole was not thrilled about spending $220,000 for the son of Indian Charlie at the Keeneland September yearling sale, having not had the best of luck with the sire. “But he’s made up for the other nine,” said Repole.
Toby’s Corner (8-1)
Derivation of name: Owner-breeder Dianne Cotter of Florida named the horse after an old, beloved pony she bought for her granddaughter 23 years ago. “He was one wonderful pony,” Cotter said, “and he always had the corner stall. He was ancient when we got him, and he lived a long time after that.”
Favorite foods: “He’s a bit of a finicky eater,” trainer Graham Motion said. “He’s a bit fussy and eats our regular feed.” Motion did say he sometimes needs to use peppermints to coax Toby’s Corner into his stall.
Factoids: Motion said handicappers told him after the big win in the Whirlaway to expect Toby’s Corner to “bounce” in the Gotham. “Maybe they were right,” Motion said. … Cotter runs a small breeding outfit in Alachua, Fla., and Toby’s Corner adds to her lustrous success. She also bred Toby’s Corner’s sire, Bellamy Road, who won the 2005 Wood Memorial by 17 lengths.
Arthur’s Tale (12-1)
Factoids: Arthur’s Tale is trained by Tom Albertrani, who also conditioned the sophomore’s sire Bernardini – named the 2006 Champion 3-Year-Old Male after winning the Preakness and Travers – for owner Darley Stable. Out of the Grade 2-winning turf mare Owsley, Arthur’s Tale was purchased by Darley Stable for $750,000. “He’s a nice quiet horse – you can touch him and play with him,” said Pedro Mateo, assistant to Albertrani. “He has the same character as his father. You can play with them and they won’t bite you.” … Mateo is hopeful Arthur’s Tale will improve with a switch to the main track and a dry racing surface. “He’s a big horse, and the inner track’s turns are tight,” said Mateo. “I think he’ll handle the main track better. The last two times he raced he caught muddy tracks, and I don’t think he liked it much. He’s owned by Darley, so there are a lot of high expectations for him. I think he’ll run a big race on Saturday.”
Norman Asbjornson (15-1)
Correct pronunciation: Norman Az-BORN-son
Derivation of name: The colt’s namesake is CEO, founder and president of AAON, a Tulsa, Okla.-based heating and air-conditioning company in which the colt’s owners, Thomas McClay and Harry Nye, own stock. But the reason McClay and Nye wanted to name a horse after Asbjornson was not because of his business acumen, but for his belief in giving back to his community. Asbjornson has established a $1 million permanent endowment at Montana State University so students from small Montana towns can attend the university, built a community center in his hometown of Winifred, established a scholarship for Winifred students, renovated the community's swimming pool, improved the public water system and planted scores of trees in Winifred and Tulsa. “He is a remarkable person, and we asked permission to name a horse after him,” said McClay, who is from Harrisburg, Pa.
Factoids: Norman Asbjornson’s dam, Merryland Missy, was purchased as a broodmare prospect by McClay and Nye while in foal to Malibu Moon. The decision to breed her to Real Quiet came quite by chance. “It was getting late in the season, and after nicking a few horses, Real Quiet’s name came up,” said McClay. “He was standing just 20 minutes down the road, and we decided to put a little distance in the breeding” … According to trainer Christopher Grove, Norman Asbjornson is a laid-back colt with no peculiar habits. “He’s real quiet – just like his daddy,” said Grove.
Derivation of name: Duca, the Italian word for Duke, stems from the colt’s breeding as he is a son of Empire Maker and Tempus Fugit.
Factoids: Duca was picked out by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas at the Fasig-Tipton sales in Saratoga for owners Robert Baker and William Mack, who paid $375,000 for the colt. “He’s got a regal, aristocratic look – he’s tall, stately and elegant,” said Lukas. “You know me – I never buy a bad-looking horse; some are just slow” … Winless in three starts as a 2-year-old, Duca enters the Wood off a 1½-length maiden victory on March 11, his first start after having undergone surgery to free an entrapped epiglottis … Personality-wise, says Lukas, “he’s a laid-back horse who takes everything in stride, which I like – it makes him easier to handle.”
Derivation of name: Purchased at auction by Crossed Sabres Farm, Preachintothedevil was named by his breeder, Jeffrey Tucker of Stonebridge Farm in Schuylerville, NY. “Preachin” because his sire is Pulpit, “tothedevil” because his dam’s paternal grandsire is Devil’s Bag. Trainer Gary Contessa believes the colt is aptly named: “He’s definitely got a little bit of the devil in him,” Contessa said. “He’s on go 24/7 and if you’re not watching him carefully, he’ll tattoo you pretty good. He’s got a lot of play in him, and I think it’s a great name.”
Favorite toy: Preachintothedevil absolutely loves his Jolly ball. “He’ll stand there all day long and hit that ball,” Contessa said. “It almost makes you dizzy watching him, but he’s quite a ball player.”
Factoids: Preachintothedevil was foaled somewhat prematurely, but has always had a robust personality according to his breeder. “He was kind of sickly and small at first, but always very tenacious,” said Sue Vitro, farm manager at Stonebridge. “Even as he struggled to thrive, I wondered what I was thinking breeding this very tough mare, Acey Deucey, to Pulpit, who is also a tough horse. From the beginning, he was very, very tough, and show off-y, but good.”
Full of Scoundrels (50-1)
Derivation of name: By Great Notion out of the French Deputy mare, French Legion, Full of Scoundrels was named by breeder Tracy Egan. “People used to talk about running away and joining the French Foreign Legion, which was full of scoundrels,” Egan said, “not, contrary to popular belief, having to do with anyone at the racetrack.”
Favorite foods: Guinness. “He drinks one a day,” said trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul. “Now people are going to think my horse is a drunk” … Full of Scoundrels also loves carrots, but not sweets.
Factoids: On a cursory glance, Full of Scoundrels doesn’t have much pedigree power, but he shares a fourth dam, Mrs. Peterkin, with the great Zenyatta. This direct female line from the blue hen mare Mrs. Peterkin also produced Irish Derby winner Shareef Dancer and sire Mizzen Mast.
“He has class,” Chatterpaul said. “He does nothing wrong. He’s straightforward and easygoing. (Jockey) Chucky Lopez, he practically lives here. He comes by the barn every day and visits this horse. He could have gotten on other horses in the Wood.”
Isn’t He Perfect (50-1)
Derivation of name: “The owner [Dejainauth Ramnarayan of Kharag Stables] and I came up with the name,” said the colt’s trainer, Doodnauth Shivmangal. “We looked at him and said, ‘Isn’t he perfect?’”
Favorite foods: “He gets two bottles of Guinness mixed with egg whites every day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The Guinness is very nutritious, and the egg white has more nutrition than anything else. I spoon-feed it to my horses at first until they start to like it, and then I serve it to them out of a bowl. I also give all my horses local tonics and glucose sugar. The glucose sugar gives them instant energy. They also get honey. Isn’t He Perfect is an Indian horse, so he also eats Indian food, like dal, rice, and curry. If they don’t have something they eat every single day, I get worried.” … When asked if his feed regimen is expensive, Shivmangal responded by saying, “I don’t do this for money. I do it because I love horses.”
Factoids: Isn’t He Perfect’s sire, Pleasantly Perfect, won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup, and his dam, Reciclada, was a Group 2/Grade 2 winner in both Chile and the United States. “We looked at his conformation and knew Pleasantly Perfect ran long,” said Shivmangal. “We knew he’d be a strong horse. He’s a very, very good doer. I would actually call him a Mike Tyson-type – he’s very strong. After a workout or a race, he eats up, and he always takes a nap before he eats his lunch.”
Starship Caesar (50-1)
Derivation of name: Was claimed by trainer Bisnath Parboo from the Starship Stables.
Favorite foods: “He likes carrots,” said soft-spoken Narad Parboo, Bisnath’s brother.
Factoids: “He’s a very smart horse,” Bisnath Parboo said. “He’s a handful when he goes on the track.” … Owner Sherry Parbhoo is Bisnath’s niece. The immigrant from Trinidad had her name misspelled upon entry into the country and chose to keep it that way, creating the discrepancy with that of other family members.
Son of Posse (99-1)
Derivation of name: Son of Posse is by Posse, winner of six stakes, including the 2003 Grade 2 Riva Ridge Breeders’ Cup.
Favorite foods: “He eats a lot of feed,” said trainer Rhiannan Vitiello. “He is not big on peppermints, apples, or carrots, though. But he will eat as much as a horse twice his size.”
Factoids: Vitiello – who, according to her own estimate, trains 6-10 horses – and her family own and operate The Mid-Atlantic Stallion Station in Charles City, Virginia. Trained earlier in his career by Janis Gerace, Son of Posse has made two starts for Vitiello, finishing third in the John Battaglia Memorial and seventh in the Grade 3 Spiral at Turfway Park. “He’s a camera hog,” said Vitiello. “He loves having his picture taken.”