Living up to his status as the even-money favorite, Paymaq Racing's Uncle Ugly made it look easy in Saturday's $48,100 Cardinal Stake Final for ICF three-year-old pacing colts as he cruised to a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.2 for driver John De Long.
Zipped away from post position seven by De Long, the gelded son of Yankee Skyscaper—Yankee Blue was under wraps as he led the field through splits of :27.1, :55.2 and 1:23.
"Erv (Miller) told me earlier in the day not to be afraid to leave with him because he was really sharp right now,” said De Long. "Once I got him to the top he relaxed perfectly for me through the middle half-mile of the race and he was ready to go again when I asked him at the top of the stretch.”
With stablemate PQ Three (Ryan Anderson) making a bid at the pacesetter as the field turned for home, Uncle Ugly set sail for the wire finishing up the mile in grand fashion as he paced home in :28.2 for his fourth win in eight career starts. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard), the early season leader among this set, parlayed a nice ground saving trip into a second place check while longshot Fox Valley Van (Brian Carpenter) rallied to finish third.
After the victory De Long was still singing the praises of his charge who was unraced as a two-year-old.
"He's still a little green at times and doesn't even realize just how fast he's going or how easy he's doing it,” explained De Long. "He's learning pretty quickly though and when he gets it all figured out he's going to be a pretty serious race horse.”
Uncle Ugly looked beautiful to his backers returning $4.00, $2.40 & $2.40 while running his record to 4-1-2 in 8 starts with earnings of $34,856. (Balmoral)