Uncle Heavy is headed to the Preakness as light as a feather.

The horse who has never missed an oat in his life comes into the second jewel of the coveted Triple Crown with no weighty burden of high expectations, no pressure from heavyweight owners and trainers who spend millions every year looking for Triple Crown-quality horses, and no hefty backing from the bettors.

But as his trainer Butch Reid said about the son of the lightly regarded sire Social Inclusion – Uncle Heavy is named after Reid’s brother, Mark, known as “Heavy,” on the backstretch – he’s as fit and sharp as he’s ever been.

“He’s just been doing great,” Reid said, including a “sensational” breeze this week that was exceptionally fast – sprinter-speed fast – for a horse like Uncle Heavy who gets better as the race gets longer.

Uncle Heavy qualified for the Preakness by winning the Grade 3 Withers Stakes in February, which put him on the Kentucky Derby trail. But after a fifth-place finish in the Wood Memorial in April, Reid decided not to run him in the Derby, pointing instead toward the Preakness.

The expected set-up of this year’s Preakness factored into the decision, Reid said, because there’s plenty of frontend speed. This works with Uncle Heavy’s style of making one big run from the back of the pack as the leaders tire.

With an expected smaller field and a longer run to the first tum, Reid said he’s confident Uncle Heavy can find good racing position before the first turn, which, at Pimlico, is tighter than his home track of Parx, near Philadelphia, and Aqueduct, in New York, where he won the Withers.

“He’s pretty handy for as big as he is.”

Standing well over 16 hands and a full 1,200 pounds, Uncle Heavy is a “big boy,” one who particularly enjoys his food and a good nap.

“He’s never missed an oat,” Reid said.

After his morning workouts, he likes to lay down for a nap before lunch, which he’s never missed. When necessary, he will alert the barn, loudly, when he’s awake and hungry. Reid said it’s more like a scream than a neigh when the “big boy” wants to eat.

And, of course, there’s the after-lunch nap.

“He’s the sleepin’-ist fool you’ve ever seen,” Reid said.

If things go as planned, come Preakness time, the first half of the race might look like he’s sleeping, but he’ll wake up with a start and come screaming down the stretch with a chance to win.

After all, it’ll be way past his dinner time.

Original source credited to lancasterfarming.com

Cover Photo Credit to BloodHorse

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