Spendthrift Farm Doubles Down On Sons Of Uncle Mo In 2023 - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Spendthrift Farm Doubles Down On Sons Of Uncle Mo In 2023

Mo Donegal at Spendthrift Farm

Champion Uncle Mo got off to a historic start at stud, and he cemented his place as an upper-echelon sire when his own sons entered the breeding shed to rave reviews.

Spendthrift Farm added its first son of Uncle Mo for the 2022 breeding season, during which Grade 1-winning sprinter Yaupon became North America's second-most active sire with 242 reported mares bred. In 2023, Spendthrift Farm adds Belmont Stakes winner Mo Donegal to its roster.

Uncle Mo has become the type of high-level stallion where his name is a box that must be checked with one of his sons on many commercial stud farms' rosters. After breeders piled in to breed to Yaupon, Spendthrift Farm's Mark Toothaker said going after Mo Donegal was an easy decision.

“Breeders flocked to a son of Uncle Mo, and we're not rocket scientists over here at Spendthrift, but we know what breeders want,” he said. “Now, I basically want every son of Into Mischief, every son of Gun Runner, and every son of Uncle Mo, because that's what our breeders want.”

On paper, it would appear there isn't much to separate Yaupon and Mo Donegal, especially in terms of pedigree. Besides sharing the same sire, both horses are out of mares hailing from the Seattle Slew sire line, with a heavy dose of Mr. Prospector sprinkled in on the female side. If a mare matches with one of them by pedigree, chances are good they'll match with both.

From a commercial standpoint, Toothaker said differentiating the two sons of Uncle Mo probably wouldn't be a concern in 2023. Current market demands are such that breeders will flock to a first-year sire over one standing his second season, the way they did with Yaupon in 2022. It would be the seasons that followed where breeders would need to consider each stallion on their individual merits, and Toothaker would have to help guide them.

With pedigrees that reflect each other, Toothaker said choosing between Yaupon and Mo Donegal would come down to physical types, and the intention of the breeder.

Yaupon is a sprinter, and he looks like it. He was a Grade 1 winner at seven furlongs, and he carries plenty of muscle through his shoulder and rump.

Yaupon is out of the Grade 1-placed Vindication mare Modification, and he'll stand the upcoming breeding season for an advertised fee of $30,000.

It would be fair to assume that Yaupon cuts a more compact frame than a typical son of Uncle Mo upon inspection, but Toothaker said he doesn't differ from Mo Donegal as much as it might seem.

“They're both exactly the same size,” Toothaker said. “They're both 16.2 hands, but their body shape – Yaupon absolutely looks like a bullet shot out of a gun. He's built with a big gaskin, deep heart girth. He's just built for speed.

“We had had so much success last year with Yaupon,” Toothaker continued. “He was an incredible breeder, and demand was off the chart. His fertility rate was like Into Mischief's.”

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Mo Donegal cuts a more traditional frame of what breeders have come to expect from a son of Uncle Mo at stud, with longer legs supporting a solid body. Out of the winning Pulpit mare Callingmissbrown, Mo Donegal will stand his debut season for $20,000.

“He's got a beautiful shoulder and hip on him,” Toothaker said. “He's built what you would expect a two-turn Uncle Mo to look like.”

The signature scope and long stride that Uncle Mo imparts on his runners came out in spades with Mo Donegal, whose three stakes wins came at 1 1/8 miles or longer, culminating with the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes.

Mo Donegal is a half-brother to the 2-year-old Prank, an Into Mischief filly who wowed on debut this summer at Saratoga Race Course, taking a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight by 9 3/4 lengths.

Seeing what Callingmissbrown could produce when crossed with both endurance and precociousness, Toothaker said he'd try to find the middle point with Mo Donegal, and he'd be seeking as many Into Mischief mares for his inaugural book as he could gather.

“I really want to put speed mares under him, because he's got all the endurance,” Toothaker said. “He was able to win the Remsen at 1 1/8 miles as a 2-year-old, then he came back and won the Wood Memorial and the Belmont Stakes. We know he's an Uncle Mo with all kinds of endurance, and we want to come back and put some speed mares on him and see what he can throw. We've got Mike Repole as a partner, and Mike is so good about supporting what he's involved with. He bought several Vino Rossos, and he'll be in there buying Mo Donegals. Jerry Crawford (of Donegal Racing) kept some breeding rights in the horse, and Jerry's also going to be sending mares to him.”

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