Uncle Heavy after his thrilling Withers win (Susie Raisher)
Morning Matcha Enjoying Winter Freshening
Newly-Retired Dr B Set To Visit Flightline
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Michael Milam’s Pennsylvania-bred Uncle Heavy earned a career-high 84 Beyer Speed Figure for his thrilling nose victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Withers, a nine-furlong test for sophomores, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
For his victory, the Social Inclusion bay took home the maximum allotment of 20-10-6-4-2 Kentucky Derby qualifying points distributed to the top-five finishers, respectively.
Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., Uncle Heavy stalked 2 1/2 lengths off a contentious pace battle between El Grande O, Seminole Chief and Khanate down the backstretch before the latter two back-pedaled at the three-quarters call and left El Grande O alone on the lead at the top of the lane. Uncle Heavy steadily made up ground through each point of call from sixth-of-9 to come into contention exiting the turn with a four-wide move. The large colt needed the length of the stretch to find his best stride under Mychel Sanchez, but got up just in time to nail El Grande O by a nose in a final time of 1:53.79 over muddy and sealed footing.
“He got a good Beyer and it was a good race,” said Reid, Jr. “It was a visually impressive race and I like the way he was striding out the last fifty yards there. That was the key impression to me. I don’t think there’s any question he can keep going further.”
Reid, Jr. said that due to an Equine Herpesvirus quarantine at Belmont Park, Uncle Heavy has shipped to a farm in Pennsylvania where he awaits clearance to return to his home base of Parx Racing.
“He came out of it very well, and I’m very happy with him,” said Reid, Jr. “He was very sharp and bouncing around the barn last night. He’ll get a few days of rest on the farm, which will be nice.”
Uncle Heavy entered the Withers from a successful first try around two turns in the one-mile and 70-yard state-bred Wait For It on December 27 at Parx with a similar trip to the Withers. He graduated on debut sprinting six furlongs in October at the Bensalem oval.
Reid, Jr. said plans for Uncle Heavy’s next start are still being discussed, but indicated after the race that the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 6 at the Big A could be considered. The historic nine-furlong test for sophomores awards 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-five finishers.
“We just want to digest this one right now and make sure we get him back here [to Parx] and that he’s happy,” said Reid, Jr. “We’ve got to make some decisions and we’re just getting to that now.”
Bred by Barbara Reid, Reid, Jr.’s sister-in-law, Uncle Heavy is out of the winning New York-bred Tiz Wonderful mare Expect Wonderful. His third dam, Stilled, is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Runspastem and the unraced Hafifah, the dam of graded stakes-placed millionaire Pioneer Spirit.
Reid, Jr. also reported LC Racing, Cash is King and Gary Barber’s multiple stakes-winner Morning Matcha has been enjoying her winter freshening in Florida, where she has recently started galloping again for the first time since winning the NYSSS Staten Island on December 3 at Aqueduct. Reid, Jr. said he anticipates the now 5-year-old daughter of leading New York sire Central Banker will return to his Parx stable in about 30 days.
Recently, Reid, Jr. sent out multiple graded stakes-winner Dr B for her final outing when finishing a game second to Hot Fudge in the seven-furlong Interborough on January 27 for LC Racing and Cash is King. The 6-year-old Liam’s Map bay won back-to-back editions of the Grade 3 Go for Wand at the Ozone Park oval in 2022-23 and banked over $600,000 in her five seasons of racing.
Reid, Jr. said Dr B, who retires with a record of 23-6-8-2, exited her final effort in good order and has shipped to Kentucky ahead of a planned breeding to 2022 Horse of the Year Flightline.
“She’s already down at Taylor Made in Kentucky and is in good shape,” said Reid, Jr. “She was the nicest mare to be around and that was made even more pleasurable with the way she just went over and gave it to you every time she ran. At that middle distance, she was a tough customer, and she gave her all every time you took her over there.”