With a pair of stakes winners, both 2-year-old fillies, on Dec. 9, third-crop sire Uncle Mo (by Indian Charlie) had a thoroughly good weekend. Considering that Miss Mo Mentum won the Hut Hut Stakes at Gulfstream at a mile and that Dream Tree won the Grade 1 Starlet at Los Alamitos over their 8 ½ furlongs, the potential for both is improvement at 3, at their preferred distance or slightly beyond.
Unbeaten in three starts, Dream Tree was particularly impressive as she sat just off the pace, then ran on strongly down the lane to win by 3 ¼ lengths as the odds-on favorite.
Bred in Kentucky by Mike Freeny and Pat Freeny, the scopy bay sold as a weanling for $80,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale, just days after Nyquist (Uncle Mo) had wrapped up an unbeaten juvenile championship with victory in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.
Uncle Mo had earlier sired G1 winner Gomo (2015 Alcibiades Stakes), but Nyquist was the freshman sire's star turn from an astounding freshman crop of racers that included 7 stakes winners at 2, plus a current total of 24 stakes winners from the stallion's 157 named first-crop foals.
Nyquist proceeded unbeaten through his victory in the Kentucky Derby, producing every ounce of ability in that hard-fought victory before losing his form. The effect of so much success from the sire's first crop meant the demand for his stock accelerated madly from throughout 2016.
When Dream Tree came to auction again, this time at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale, the robustly made filly brought $225,000 from JSM Equine out of the Select Sales consignment. That represented a healthy profit on the filly's weanling purchase price, but the sales saga for the daughter of Uncle Mo was not over.
Brought into training and taken to Fasig-Tipton's Gulfstream sale of juveniles in training in early March, Dream Tree turned heads with her training and conformation. Consigned by Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables, Dream Tree worked a furlong in :10 1/5, showing a stride length of about 24 feet and earning a BreezeFig of 60. She was one of the best prospects by her ever-popular sire at the elite juvenile auction, and the bidding for her showed it.
After a spirited contest in the sales ring, Kerri Radcliffe, agent for Phoenix Thoroughbred III, bought the sharp-looking bay for $750,000.
Now Dream Tree has earned $270,000 from three victories – a maiden special and the Desi Arnaz Stakes prior to the Starlet – and is the second juvenile G1 winner for Uncle Mo since Nyquist and Gomo. Last month at Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico, the juvenile filly Kalina won the G1 Clasico Gaspar Rivera Torres, and on Nov. 25 at Del Mar, the 3-year-old colt Mo Town won the G1 Hollywood Derby.
Those three G1 winners equal the trio that Uncle Mo sired in his first crop, the pair of juvenile G1 winners mentioned above, plus Wood Memorial winner Outwork. From his first crop, Uncle Mo sired a striking 15 percent stakes winners to foals, and since the number of stallions who have managed to sire stakes winners at that rate crop after crop makes a very short list, it is no surprise that the volume of stakes winners shrank in the second crop.
Shrinking to a quarter of the 24 from crop one, however, was a shock. Even a juvenile champion like Uncle Mo is not immune to the commonplace “one and done” approach of many breeders nowadays, and the big horse's second crop numbered only 92 named foals.
Whether that decline in numbers was caused by commercial concerns or horse breeders with hypoxia, the stallion has 113 named foals in his third crop, with four stakes winners to date, and they are only 2.
In addition to the brighter prospects that seem to be shining from this third crop, Uncle Mo is standing for $125,000 live foal at Ashford Stud, guaranteeing that he is being bred to many of the best mares available, and that can only bode well for the big son of Indian Charlie.
That dizzy rise in stud fee was the result of Uncle Mo's crushing success with his first crop, and the stallion has followed through with his progeny earnings, even if the stakes stats aren't as overwhelming as his first year's performance.
Presently, Uncle Mo is the leading third-crop sire with $7.8 million, more than $3 million ahead of his contemporary young sires Twirling Candy (Candy Ride) and Trappe Shot (Tapit) in second and third place. Uncle Mo stands in 16th place among all sires by gross earnings in 2017, and with his strongest crops and books of mares coming along, that is sure to improve.
Uncle Mo, an unbeaten juvenile champion, is siring horses who frequently have good juvenile potential but also have proven able to stretch out to nine and 10 furlongs and race well at 3 and older, as we have seen with Mo Town and the 4-year-olds Unbridled Mo (G3 Doubledogdare Stakes) and Mo' Green (G3 Top Flight Stakes).
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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