Uncle Ugly was anything but unattractive as he strolled to a commanding victory in the $92,000 Maywood Pace on Friday night, June 20.
The bay son of Yankee Skyscraper was clocked in 1:53.3 for driver John DeLong over the Windy City half-miler.
Notching his fifth victory of the season in ten starts, Uncle Ugly was hustled out quickly from post five by DeLong, as the field of eight Illinois-conceived and foal sophomore pacer sped to a :27.1 first quarter.
“I wanted to have control of the race so I settled behind Fox Valley Cupid until the quarter pole,” DeLong said. “I was surprised he was able to get out of the gate that quick, as I never anticipated having to get to the rail that early. I waited for the front end to settle down before I asked my horse to move to the front.”
And move the bay gelding did.
At the :55.2 half mile marker Uncle Ugly was at the head of the field, his strides effortless as he went under the wire for the first time. A quarter of a mile later the timer flashed in 1:23.3 and the bay gelding never wavered, brushing a modest final panel in :30 to win by easily by five open lengths.
The Erv Miller trainee upped his career earnings to $84, 012 for owners Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, Illinois. Miller had four other contenders in the Maywood Pace that were also vying for the first place money.
The Mike Schulfer-trained Fox Valley Cupid (Bobby Smolin) held on for second, while Miller’s Beach Boy Brody (Casey Leonard) finished third and his PQ Three (Ryan Anderson) grabbed fourth.
“I was a little nervous around that last turn but my horse wasn’t,” DeLong offered. “He just grabbed a hold of the bit and took off.”
Uncle Ugly came into this race with four triumphs under his belt. After winning a pair of Balmoral overnights, he captured the $48,100 Cardinal Stake at the Crete one-miler in a career best 1:51.2 on May 31 in front-stepping fashion, then was a strong second to stablemate Beach Boy Brody in last week’s Maywood Pace elimination, clocked in 1:54.
A $19,000 yearling purchase at the 2012 Walker Standardbred Sale, the bay gelding was unraced at 2, but has been no worse than third in his last six starts.
The seventh foal out of the Incredible Finale mare Yankee Blue, Uncle Ugly hails from a terrific family that includes siblings Fox Valley Tribal p,3,1:49 ($1,237,824); Fox Valley Yukon p, 3, 1:50.2 ($245,491); Mystical Walter p,3,1:50 ($241,149) and Fox Valley Sosa p,4,1:54.1f ($131,218), etc.
“Uncle Ugly has exceeded all expectations we had for him,” Erv noted. “He’s just gone all over the place and we’re really pleased with him.”