Uncle Mo's Mo Donegal Gets the Bob in Remsen

Mo Donegal | Sarah Andrew

Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo) and Zandon (Upstart)–the top two choices in Saturday's GII Remsen S. at the Big A–both entered off promising last-out maiden victories and put on a show down the stretch with the former getting there by a hard-fought nose while surviving a stewards' inquiry in the process.

The rail-drawn, 7-5 chance Mo Donegal sat the trip in an inside fourth through easy fractions of :25.18 and :51.47 established by longshot Fromanothamutha (Unified). Locked and loaded beneath the hot-handed Irad Ortiz, Jr. rounding the far turn, he swung widest of all and into the clear in the five path at the top of the stretch.

Slightly favored Zandon, a debut winner going six furlongs at Belmont last time Oct. 9, got first run and struck the front approaching the eighth pole.

Mo Donegal was traveling nicely and looked en route to a convincing score as he began to uncork down the stretch, but Zandon fought back gamely on the inside. Mo Donegal kept on coming, however, and got the bob, and while it appeared on the head-on like the pair made contact just before the line, possibly as a result of Ortiz, Jr. angling in on Mo Donegal, the result was allowed to stand. It was a long way back to Midnight Chrome (California Chrome) in third.

“We were watching the inquiry upstairs and they put it into four screens so it was hard to see, obviously they came close together right at the finish,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I'd have to watch it again. I couldn't see from up there if they touched or not, but Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] did say it was right at the wire.”

Ortiz, Jr. added, “We were down the lane fighting in a big race. [John Velazquez] was riding his horse and I was riding mine. It was a good race and we got together a little before the wire, but it was a beautiful race. [Mo Donegal] tried his hardest and I did my best. We got lucky with the head bob and got there.”

Third with some trouble in his sprint debut at Belmont Sept. 30, the $250,000 KEESEP yearling relished the stretch out to a one-turn 1 1/16 miles in Elmont Oct. 21, earning an 82 Beyer Speed Figure while defeating the aforementioned Fromanothamutha by 1 1/2 lengths. The third-place finisher that day Life Is Great (Tapiture) returned with a blowout maiden victory at the Big A Nov. 20. Mo Donegal was making his two-turn debut in the Remsen, which offered 10-4-2-1 GI Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

This was the third Remsen win for Pletcher and second for Jerry Crawford's Donegal Racing, which annexed the early Triple Crown trail event in 2011 with Dale Romans-trained O'Prado Again.

Pletcher added, “I thought he ran great. He was getting a good, ground-saving trip and put himself in a good spot. He kind of had to angle out a little bit and lost some ground there but it looked like when he got there he is still trying to figure out how to polish it off. The other horse battled back.”

On a potential next start, he said, “I'll talk to Jerry [Crawford] and we'll see, but before the race we talked about going to Florida and wintering there. There's tons of options. We can always come back up here from there or go any direction.”

The unlucky Zandon, owned by Jeff Drown and trained by Chad Brown, raced three wide on both turns and covered 46 feet more than Mo Donegal, according to Trakus.

“[Mo Donegal] should have come down,” Brown said. “We got beat an inch. I thought we had the best horse in the race, so it's disappointing. But he's a nice horse so we'll get him going and train him towards the Derby.”

Pedigree Notes:

Callingmissbrown has had three foals on the ground, including a yearling filly by Into Mischief who brought $500,000 at Keeneland September from Solis/Litt, and is doing her part to carry on the promise shown in her own dam, Island Sand. The latter's wins included the 2004 GI Acorn and she sold for $4.2 million at the 2007 Keeneland November sale to Kern Lillingston Association while carrying her second foal by A.P. Indy. While she did produce a number of winners, including MGISP Maya Malibu (Malibu Moon), Island Sand brought just $52,000 from John Ropes at Keeneland's same sale in 2019 and was bred to the late Bernardini for next term. Callingmissbrown herself was bred to Curlin.

With only his seventh crop of racing age, Ashford Stud's Uncle Mo has churned out a remarkable number of top horses with Mo Donegal his 75th Northern Hemisphere-foaled stakes winner. Champion Nyquist leads his 40 graded winners, with additional GISW Mo Town his sire's first Remsen scorer in 2016. Other than Mo Donegal, Uncle Mo has no other stakes performers out of daughters of Pulpit, although he does have two by Pulpit's sire, A.P. Indy, and one by Pulpit's best sire son, Tapit. The late Pulpit is the broodmare sire of 85 stakes winners.

Saturday, Aqueduct
REMSEN S.-GII, $250,000, Aqueduct, 12-4, 2yo, 1 1/8m, 1:53.61, ft.
1–MO DONEGAL, 118, c, 2, by Uncle Mo
                1st Dam: Callingmissbrown, by Pulpit
                2nd Dam: Island Sand, by Tabasco Cat
                3rd Dam: Sue's Last Dance, by Forty Niner
   1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($250,000
Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Donegal Racing; B-Ashview Farm & Colts
Neck Stables (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.
$137,500. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-1, $197,800. Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++
   *Triple Plus*.
2–Zandon, 118, c, 2, Upstart–Memories Prevail, by Creative
Cause. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($170,000
Ylg '20 KEESEP). O-Jeff Drown; B-Brereton C. Jones (KY);
T-Chad C. Brown. $50,000.
3–Midnight Chrome, 118, c, 2, California Chrome–Tipsy At
Midnight, by Midnight Lute. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED
BLACK TYPE. ($35,000 Ylg '20 FTKOCT). O-Alexandria Stable;
B-New Dawn Stable, LLC & Deo Volente Farms (KY); T-J. Tyler
Servis. $30,000.
Margins: NO, 9 3/4, NK. Odds: 1.45, 1.35, 41.25.
Also Ran: Mr Jefferson, Eloquist, Who Hoo Thats Me, Fromanothamutha, Judge Davis. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

 

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