You won’t have to wait until the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby to see Uncle Chuck take on Tiz the Law. Not after trainer Bob Baffert confirmed he will send Uncle Chuck to New York for the Aug. 8 Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.
With Belmont Stakes champion Tiz the Law waiting for him at Saratoga, Uncle Chuck won’t travel alone. Baffert said he’s also sending standout filly Gamine to Saratoga to run the Grade 1 Test Stakes, which is on the Travers undercard. That 3-year-old fillies race serves as her tune-up for the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
At the same time, Baffert confirmed Maximum Security will stay home in California and run the Aug. 22 Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. Baffert nominated him to run there or at the Sept. 5 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. After Maximum Security’s grinding nose victory over Midcourt in last Saturday’s Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, Baffert elected to keep him in Southern California.
Maximum Security will be a prohibitive favorite for Del Mar’s signature race, where he’ll likely see several of the horses he beat at the San Diego Handicap. Chief among those is Pacific Classic defending champion Higher Power, who finished a well-beaten third on Saturday.
Uncle Chuck Trades Duel With Honor A.P. for Tiz the Law
As for Uncle Chuck, Baffert originally entered him in this weekend’s Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, setting up what would have been a nice duel with Honor A.P. Instead, the undefeated son of Uncle Mo faces Kentucky Derby futures favorite Tiz the Law, along with a massive jump in class and a significant jump in distance.
Not only is the Travers Uncle Chuck’s first Grade 1 race, but it’s his first 10-furlong jaunt – the same distance as the Kentucky Derby. And it comes in only Uncle Chuck’s third race.
We last saw Uncle Chuck dominating a weak field by four lengths in the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Los Alamitos Derby on Independence Day. Trading that field for one with Tiz the Law will give Baffert and Uncle Chuck’s owners – Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman – a good barometer on where he is a month out from the Derby.
How Well Does Uncle Chuck Travel?
“I think it’s a good spot. If we’re going to try him out in that company, let’s try him out there,” Baffert told Bloodhorse.
Luis Saez, recently sprung from coronavirus quarantine, will ride Uncle Chuck.
Meanwhile, Gamine returns to action six weeks after she took apart a Grade 1 field by 18 ¾ lengths at the Acorn Stakes on the June 20 Belmont Stakes undercard. Owned by Pandora Jewelry baron Michael Lund Petersen, Gamine finished first in all three of her races. But she gave back a May 2 allowance win at Oaklawn Park when a post-race drug test found more than nine times the permitted limit of lidocaine in her system.