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Preakness Stakes News | Uncle Heavy Named For Trainer’s Brother
Uncle Heavy (Maryland Jockey Club)

Preakness Stakes News | Uncle Heavy Named For Trainer’s Brother

Mark Reid, the original Uncle Heavy, did more than just give his nickname to the Preakness Stakes (G1) runner trained by his younger brother, Butch Reid, Jr. 

Now mostly retired from a long career as a trainer and bloodstock agent, Mark Reid is directly responsible for the breeding of the colt, who has won three of five career starts, including the Withers Stakes (G3).

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In December 2020, Mark Reid was following the wishes of a client who wanted to get out of the broodmare business. Reid was told that he did not have to set a reserve, or minimum, price. However, he did have a $2,000 reserve on Expect Wonderful, by Tiz Wonderful. 

“I always loved this mare,” Mark Reid said. “He said, ‘Let them all go.’ When she went through, I just couldn’t do it.”

Bidding stopped at $1,700 and Reid and his wife acquired the mare, then in foal to Social Inclusion, for their 80-acre Pennsylvania farm. About five months later, she dropped a foal who was named Uncle Heavy. The colt is co-owned by longtime clients of the Reid brothers, Michael Milam and LC Racing LLC.

Expect Wonderful’s first foal, who arrived several months before the sale, was by The Factor. After the mare delivered Uncle Heavy by Social Inclusion, she was bred back to Pennsylvania stallion Peace and Justice. That 2-year-old is named Beyond Expectations and is co-owned by Mark Reid and Dan Ryan. He will be trained by Butch Reid.

“He’s just like Heavy, a big, strong, physical colt. We have high hopes for him,” Mark Reid said.

Now that his $1,700 mare is a graded-stakes producer with a son that is going to run in the Preakness, Mark Reid changed his approach.  

“This year when Uncle Heavy came around, I decided to upgrade her, so we bred her to Omaha Beach, who stands at Spendthrift,” he said. “She’s in foal to him. We think we will keep her around.”

The 10-year-old Expect Wonderful is the only horse on Mark and Barbara Reid’s farm. Barbara is listed as the breeder of Uncle Heavy.  

“She’s been a joy. You wouldn’t even know she’s around,” Mark Reid said. “She only drops big, strong colts.”

During his very successful run as a bloodstock agent, among the horses Mark Reid purchased for the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel were Medaglia d’Oro and You. He managed Horse of the Year Saint Liam for William K. and Suzanne Warren and later purchased City of Light for the Warrens. Reid’s eye and experience that served him well in his bloodstock business made him keep Expect Wonderful, who has produced Uncle Heavy from a $5,000 cover by a local stallion.

“We came up with a big, nice horse,” Mark Reid said. “He always was a big, nice horse. He was kind of gawky and lazy as a young horse, but Butch said that as soon as he got to the racetrack he switched on.”

Mark Reid won the Atlantic Coast Conference heavyweight wrestling title in 1972 while a student at the University of Maryland. When he went to work for trainer Dickie Dutrow, the grooms started calling him “Heavy” and the nickname stuck. It changed a bit in the Reid family when the next generation came along and started calling him Uncle Heavy. 

Uncle Heavy was shipped from Parx to Pimlico on Tuesday and went to the track for his exercise Wednesday morning.

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Horsemen will be offered $7.5 million in bonus opportunities as well as two qualifiers for races at Newmarket and Deauville come Preakness Day May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

In addition to their respective purses, a $5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins the $2 million Preakness (G1), the $1 million California Crown (G1) Sept. 28 at Santa Anita, and the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in 2025.

Meanwhile, a $2.5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins Pimlico’s $500,000 Dinner Party (G3), the $750,000 California Crown John Henry Turf (G2), and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1).

In addition, the winner of the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the July Cup Stakes (G1) at Newmarket on July 13, while the winner of the Gallorette Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares on the turf will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the Sumbe Prix Jean Romanet (G1) at Deauville Aug. 18.

The Maryland Jockey Club will also offer bonus money totaling $100,000 bonus to trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the stakes races during Preakness weekend, and another $50,000 bonus for trainers with the most points in non-stakes during the weekend.

The field for making Preakness Stakes picks, with riders and morning line odds from the rail out: