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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Uncle Mo and Dialed In were still looming as the likely favorites for Saturday's $2 million Kentucky Derby even after more than a week of heavy rain threatened to disrupt the final preparations of some runners.
The Churchill Downs track was reduced to a sloppy mud-pit by almost a fortnight of torrential downpours, forcing trainers to patiently wait for breaks in the rain before sending their horses on the track for their final workouts.
But the foul weather was expected to clear in time for Saturday's 137th Run For the Roses and has not yet had any impact on the makeup of the field or the early betting markets.
The final field and post positions will be decided on Wednesday with Uncle Mo and Dialed In still battling for outright favoritism in one of the most open Kentucky Derbies in years.
New York trainer Nick Zito, who prepares Dialed In, said his three-year-old colt had no problems handling the sloppy track after having a long gallop, completing two laps of the track.
"He liked it," Zito said. "I can't remember ever galloping him on a wet track but it looked like he did all right."
Dialed In, who will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, joined Uncle Mo as the pre-race favorite after his brilliant win in last month's Florida Derby, storming home from last place.
Uncle Mo had been the outright favorite for the past six months after he was named last season as the best 2-year-old colt in the United States with a runaway win in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, held at Churchill Downs.
Uncle Mo's grip on favoritism for the race was loosened when he suffered the first defeat of his career at last month's Wood Memorial in New York and was then reported to be battling a gastro-intestinal infection.
His trainer Todd Pletcher brought the colt to Kentucky early in the hope that he might improve in time to take his place in the race and was full of enthusiasm after he completed his most recent workout, over five furlongs, in just over a minute.
"It was a textbook 1:01 work, which is just what we were after," Pletcher told reporters.
"I said he needed to have a perfect three weeks if he were to run in the Derby and so far we have.
"His work today was better than the last one he had and his appetite and appearance are much better than they've been. We've still got a week to go but we are where we want to be right now."
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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