Uncle Mo Has Three-Year-Old Mo-Mentum

Uncle Mo at Coolmore America in January | Sara Gordon

When Golden Pal retired to Coolmore America for the 2023 season, he became the second son of Uncle Mo to join his sire at the farm, alongside Mo Town.

A 15-year-old stalwart of the Coolmore stallion roster, Uncle Mo is currently enjoying a bit of a hot streak with his group of 2023 three-year-olds.

Arabian Knight is the #1 ranked horse on the TDN's Derby Top Contenders off one start-the first race on the Breeders' Cup Saturday card–indicating just how impressive that race was. The $2.3-million sales topper at OBS April was named a `TDN Rising Star' and won by 7 1/4 lengths. He was Uncle Mo's 13th TDN Rising Star.

In the first two weeks of the year, Kingsbarns, an $800,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2yo, broke his maiden in his first start in an $84,000 allowance as the favorite at Gulfstream Park Jan. 14, and Scoobie Quando won the Turfway Prevue S. in his career debut Jan. 7 at Turfway.

This comes, of course, after the year in which he had his second Classic winner with Mo Donegal in the Belmont (joining Nyquist's Derby win).

As the breeding sheds prepare to open, Eddie Rosen, General Manager for Mike Repole's Repole Stables, who campaigned the champion two-year-old, agrees with the `hot' assessment, but takes a bit of umbrage that it's a current phenomenon. “He's very hot right now. But it's important to remember that he has been hot for a very long time. Consistently.”

The industry, he points out, is too often consumed with the shiny new toy. “So often, the concentration is placed on breeding to young stallions, new stallions that have been recently retired. But very few, if any stallions have succeeded like Uncle Mo from the beginning to the current time. He started out with a Derby winner and his very first crop in Nyquist, and he has continued year after year with stakes winners of all kinds.”

In fact, Nyquist leads the list of Uncle Mo's fairly staggering 24 sons at stud, topping the list with a stud fee of $55,000 at Darley. Golden Pal and Yaupon (at Spendthrift) are next at $30,000 each. An informal survey finds only Speightstown and Tapit, who each have 25 sons at stud standing in the U.S., with more.

But while Tapit turns 22 this year, and Speightstown 25, Uncle Mo is far younger.

Uncle Mo is now 15, and he's on an incredible run,” said Coolmore America's Adrian Wallace. “He's been with us at Ashford Stud now for all of his stallion career. We're privileged to have him. He's been a horse that obviously as a racehorse left no doubt as to how good he was when trained by Todd Pletcher for Repole Stable to be Champion two-year-old. He's imparted a lot of that precocity on his stock but his run continues to flourish.”

Wallace points out that Uncle Mo's recent Grade I winners ranged from Golden Pal at 5 furlongs in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint to Mo Donegal over the Belmont's 12 furlongs on the dirt. “It's a great depth and breadth of winners he has had, siring a Belmont Stakes winner in Mo Donegal and a very fast champion sprinter-elect on the turf in Golden Pal. I think the horse is definitely going from strength to strength every single year. He has horses running in all the best races, but the great thing is they do it short, long, dirt, and turf in this country on and all around the Northern Hemisphere.”

Arabian Knight wins in his Keeneland debut | Coady photo

But right now, it's Arabian Knight capturing everyone's attention.

“Arabian Night is obviously very much at the forefront of everyone's imagination being at the top of the TDN's leading Derby contenders for 2023,” said Wallace. “His much-anticipated debut here on the Breeders Cup undercard at Keeneland was highly, highly professional and brilliant. Hopefully, he will be seen to good effect in the in the Santa Anita Derby.”

Arabian Knight worked five furlongs in 59.60 at Santa Anita, but trainer Bob Baffert-who told jockey John Velazquez to ride him like he was Uncle Mo– said that he had not picked out the colt's second start yet, and would take his time with him.

“But there's not just one,” said Wallace. “I think Scoobie Quando made a very impressive debut for Ben Colebrook winning the Turfway Prevue as a maiden in a stakes race. So, we think the future is very bright hopefully throughout this classic season for Uncle Mo.”

But then again, Rosen will tell you that his future has always been bright. “He doesn't have peaks and valleys,” he said. “He's consistently coming up with stakes winner after stakes winner. He continues to make the front pages of the TDN. He's emerging as a sire of sires. He is emerging as a top broodmare sire, which proves to continue on his legacy as a great sire. I feel like every night, something good happens that's worthy of mention.”

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