As Uncle Mo was finishing third in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct over the weekend, race caller Tom Durkin exclaimed ... "and the Kentucky Derby is up for grabs!"
It sure is.
With Uncle Mo losing for the first time, there's a new No. 1 in The Associated Press' latest Run to the Roses Top 10 list of Derby contenders: The Factor.
The speedy 3-year-old gray colt moves up from No. 3 and could wind up as the Derby favorite May 7 if he wins the $1 million Arkansas Derby on Saturday. The Factor has won his last three starts going wire-to-wire.
"He just goes and does his thing," said Bob Baffert, who trains The Factor. "He's one dimensional, for sure."
Baffert has won the Derby three times. His most recent winner, War Emblem, won in 2002 going wire-to-wire.
Wood winner Toby's Corner moves into the Top 10 for the first time at No. 6, with Baffert's Midnight Interlude at No. 8 after winning the Santa Anita Derby. Uncle Mo slips to No. 3.
Florida Derby winner Dialed In remains No. 2.
Two promising prospects sustained injuries last week and are out of the Derby -- San Felipe winner Premier Pegasus (left front leg fracture) and To Honor and Serve (left front leg strained ligament). Another, Baffert's Jaycito (sore foot), was scratched from the Santa Anita Derby but is on course for a final prep in the Lexington Stakes on April 23.
Less than four weeks before the Derby, the field is wide open. Uncle Mo, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner trained by Todd Pletcher, is expected to undergo routine blood work Tuesday to make sure he came out of Saturday's race healthy.
"Uncle Mo is physically sound today," Pletcher said the day after the race. "He did grab his quarter at the start of the race but it is very minor and insignificant. It was not a typical Uncle Mo performance."
Plans remain for Uncle Mo to be shipped to Churchill Downs on April 18 to begin final preparations for the 1 1/4-mile Derby.
Santa Anita Derby runner-up Comma to the Top is a Derby contender again, the Daily Racing Form reports. The news comes a week after trainer Peter Miller said he had concerns whether the gelding could get the Derby distance.
A full field of 20 horses is expected for the Derby. If more are entered, the starters are determined by graded stakes earnings.
The other Derby prep Saturday is the $750,000 Blue Grass at Keeneland.
The Blue Grass features No. 5 Santiva, along with Crimson China, King Congie and three horses from Pletcher's barn -- Praetereo, Queen'splatekitten and Sensational Slam.
In addition to The Factor, other Arkansas Derby probables include Archarcharch, Astrology, No. 10 Brethren, Caleb's Posse, Elite Alex, J P's Gusto, Nehro and Sway Away.
1. The Factor (Bob Baffert, trainer; Martin Garcia, jockey): Rebel winner takes over for Mo at the top. ... Would be Derby favorite with another win in Arkansas ... Next start: Arkansas Derby (Saturday, Oaklawn Park, dirt). ... Odds: 10-1.
2. Dialed In (Nick Zito, Julien Leparoux): Florida Derby winner could be favorite if The Factor falters in Arkansas. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby (May 7, Churchill Downs, dirt). ... Odds: 5-1.
3. Uncle Mo (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Shocking Wood loss knocks former unbeaten colt down a few pegs. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 3-1.
4. Mucho Macho Man (Kathy Ritvo, Rajiv Maragh): Risen Star winner worked 5 furlongs in sizzling 58.20 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 27-1.
5. Santiva (Eddie Kenneally, Shaun Bridgmohan): Long-awaited second prep finally at hand for Risen Star runner-up. ... worked 5 furlongs at 1:00.00 at Palm Meadows on Saturday. ... Next start: Blue Grass (Saturday, Keeneland, Polytrack). ... Odds: 30-1.
6. Toby's Corner (Graham Motion, Eddie Castro): Big win in Wood puts little-known colt in middle of Derby picture. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 8-1 (mutuel field).
7. Pants On Fire (Kelly Breen, Rosie Napravnik): Louisiana Derby winner will draw lots of interest with first female rider since 2003. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 44-1.
8. Midnight Interlude (Baffert, Victor Espinoza): Baffert's sixth Santa Anita Derby winner replaces stablemate Jaycito in Top 10. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 8-1 (mutuel field).
9. Soldat (Kiaran McLaughlin, Alan Garcia): Fountain of Youth winner could rebound off fifth-place finish in Florida Derby. ... Next start: Kentucky Derby. ... Odds: 17-1.
10. Brethren (Pletcher, Ramon Dominguez): Worked 6 furlongs in 1:14.60 at Oaklawn in final breeze before Saturday's race. ... Next start: Arkansas Derby. ... Odds: 36-1.
Keep an eye on: Animal Kingdom, Elite Alex, Jaycito, Shackleford, Twice the Appeal.