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Preakness Stakes News | Uncle Heavy “Really Likes” Wet Tracks
Uncle Heavy (Scott Serio//Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Preakness Stakes News | Uncle Heavy “Really Likes” Wet Tracks

Since his colt, Uncle Heavy, is 2-for-2 on off tracks, trainer Butch Reid Jr. is just fine with the forecast for rain Saturday for the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1)

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Michael Milam and LC Racing LLC’s colt jogged and then galloped over the sloppy track at Pimlico Race Course Thursday morning and Reid liked what he saw.

“I’m hoping for a track similar to this one on Saturday because he loved it, really relished it,” he said. “Had a good, aggressive gallop and was getting over it really well.” 

However, the prospect of a bit more moisture in the track made Reid smile.    

“Well, that’s what I’m hoping for, a little wet-fast,” Reid said. “He really likes that.” 

Uncle Heavy will try to become the first Pennsylvania-bred to win the historic Preakness since Smarty Jones in 2004. He showed that he was Triple Crown series-capable with his victory in the Withers (G3) over a muddy, sealed track at Aqueduct Racetrack on Feb. 3.  Some six weeks before the Withers, he won the Wait For It Stakes at Parx over a sealed track rated as “good.” 

Reid, 67, said he does not know why Uncle Heavy has done well when the going is wet.

 “He’s a big horse and sometimes they don’t, but he’s a very sure-footed horse, has a perfect way of going,” Reid said. “Big guys like him sometimes don’t like a breaking-away racetrack where they don’t feel it underneath them. I think most of them prefer it where they could feel the track underneath them.” 

The Uncle Heavy story is a family affair.

Reid’s older brother, Mark, a retired trainer and bloodstock agent, owns the mare with this wife, Barbara, who is the breeder. The colt’s name is Mark Reid’s family nickname.

Neither of the Reid brothers has had a Triple Crown series runner, and now they are in it together. 

“It’s really been great,” Butch Reid said. “We’ve all been kind of in the business but in separate aspects of it, so for this to come together like this is really something special.” 

Five-time Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. has picked up the mount on Uncle Heavy. They will leave from Post 2.  

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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: