May 28, 2020

Mo’ Money for Mo’ and Mischief

Uncle Mo
Uncle Mo winning the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs © Breeders' Cup/Weasie Gaines 2010

Brisnet Betting Guide Exclusive by Ren Carothers
This column appeared in the latest edition of the Brisnet Betting Guide.
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Estimated read time of 10 min.

Of last weekend’s 3-year-old stakes action, the most intriguing performers were the sires whose offspring picked up Kentucky Derby and Oaks preps: 2010 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old, Uncle Mo, and 2019 top general sire, as well as Grade 1 winner, Into Mischief.

‘Mo’ ‘Mischief’

It’s well known that the latter, a son of Harlan’s Holiday, is a half-brother to one of the all-time greats in four-time Eclipse champion Beholder. Her career was, in a way, book-ended by Breeders’ Cup seasonal triumph, first in the Juvenile Fillies (G1) and, later, a swan-song score over Songbird in the Distaff (G1) at the ripe age of 6 – beating the boys along the way in the Pacific Classic (G1).

Into Mischief is also a half-brother to 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn, who later creamed the competition by 18 1/2 lengths switching to dirt in the UAE Derby (G2), as well as put in a gallant second-place finish in the Travers (G1), and a third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).

Considering the genetic goods, it should come as little surprise that Into Mischief has had tremendous success in the breeding shed. He sired two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) champ Goldencents in just his first crop, and can produce a formidable filly, too. Covfefe scorched the field in this past year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), and was named Eclipse Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in addition to Eclipse Champion Female Sprinter.

A $175k stud

Still, one could look just to this past weekend to understand the justification behind Into Mischief’s $175,000 stud fee at Spendthrift, as two of his sons picked up 50 points apiece in two separate Kentucky Derby preps on opposite coasts.

First, at Aqueduct, it was favored Mischevious Alex (hey, that’s how they spell it), picking up his third consecutive stakes win, taking the Gotham (G3) by two lengths under Kendrick Carmouche for trainer John Servis and Cash Is King and LC Racing.

The Gotham is a mile and whether or not the colt can get 1 1/4 miles remains to be seen, as Into Mischief, who was second in the Malibu (G1) at 3, imparts a lot of brilliance, and adding to that equation is the fact that Mischevious Alex’s dam is by Eclipse Champion Sprinter Speightstown, and her half-siblings include graded-stakes winning sprinter Hebbronville.

It is worth remembering that Servis trained another horse with a speed-driven pedigree to a near Triple Crown score in 2004, with Smarty Jones, a son of Elusive Quality out of a Smile mare, picking up the first two legs before getting pressured into a runner-up finish in the Belmont S. (G1).

Authenticity

On the West Coast, it was Authentic picking up another prep for Into Mischief, following up his 7 3/4-length romp in the Sham (G3), with another front-end, 2 1/4-length win in the San Felipe (G2), staying undefeated in three starts, and bringing his Kentucky Derby points total to 60.

The Bob Baffert trainee has been ridden by Drayden Van Dyke since the debut and is owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Frederick Hertrich III, John D. Fielding, and Golconda Stables. It was a pretty nice field, with Honor A. P. running impressively off the bench to get second, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Eclipse Champion 2-Year-Old colt Storm the Court in third, and in fourth, stablemate Thousand Words, who came into the race undefeated off stakes scores in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and Robert B. Lewis (G3).

RELATED: Tales From the Crib: Honor A. P.

Though Authentic passed the 1 1/16-mile contest with flying colors, once again, we do consider the stamina factor, as this colt’s dam is a daughter of another speedster in Mr. Greeley, and her female family includes multiple Grade 1-winning sprinters like Reynaldothewizard and American Gal. That typed, his second dam is a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion Wild Again. At the end of the day, class accounts for a lot, and Into Mischief, along with zip, imparts a ton of that.

Bob and Drayden were carried into the winner’s circle by another Into Mischief offspring on Saturday, with 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sales topper Gamine (who got the hammer to drop at $1.8 million) taking the field gate-to-wire in a 6 1/2-furlong special weight to score by 6 1/4 lengths on debut.

She’s out of the stakes-placed mare Peggy Jane, a daughter of Kafwain, and her female family includes 2014’s Sovereign Champion Turfer, Dynamic Sky. One has to imagine she’ll be pointed to the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) after that performance, where she may come up against the aptly named Donna Veloce.

Ah, yes, Fast Woman, indeed…

Our introduction to Donna Veloce, a daughter of the aforementioned Uncle Mo, was a breathtaking exhibition in a 6 1/2-furlong special weight at Santa Anita on September 28 under Flavien Prat, for trainer Simon Callaghan and owner Kaleem Shah.

What a pedigree on the bottom side, too. Her dam is by 1999’s Cartier Champion 3-year-old and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner, Montjeu. That same year, Donna Veloce’s grandmother, Cash Run (by Seeking the Gold), won the BC Juvenile Fillies. Cash Run is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Forestry, who was, crazily enough, fourth in the ’99 BC Sprint.

Donna’s great-grandma, Shared Interest (by Derby/Preakness champion Pleasant Colony), is a Grade 1-winning half-sister to Grade 1 winner Sewickley, who was fifth in the 1989 BC Sprint. It’s also pretty cool to note that this female family traces to Miss Dogwood (and further back, Frizette), from whom the breed-shaping sire Mr. Prospector hails.

The ease with which Donna Veloce decimated the competition at first asking was enough incentive to attempt a history-making bid in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies – and she nearly accomplished the feat, showing another dimension on the stretch out against a contentious field, but in the end, after securing the lead in the stretch, eventual Eclipse Champion 2-year-old filly, British Idiom, ground out a neck victory.

Donna, now co-owned by Coolmore (which stands her sire for $125,000), would next take on the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos, facing off against another daughter of Uncle Mo in Bast, who ran a game third in the Juvenile Fillies following two Grade 1 triumphs in the Del Mar Debutante and Chandelier.

In the Starlet, Bast went straight to the lead, and though Donna got within a head of her in the stretch, the extra seasoning afforded Bast the grit to hold and go on to a half-length score. Bast would also go on to collect another stakes race, winning the Santa Ynez (G2) in her 3-year-old debut. As for Donna, Callaghan decided a freshener was in order, and his charge rewarded her conditioner for the time off when she returned on March 8, overcoming a stumble at the start and asserting her dominance by 4 1/4 lengths in the Santa Ysabel (G3).

The win came a day after another son of Uncle Mo, King Guillermo, sprung a 49-1 upset with Sammy Camacho in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), crossing the wire 4 3/4 lengths in front of favored Sam F. Davis winner Sole Volante, for trainer Juan Avila and Victorias Ranch.

King Guillermo had debuted a day after Donna Veloce at Gulfstream Park, going off as favorite in a 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint, but unlike her, he failed to impress that day. Connections switched gears, and surfaces, for start two, stretching the colt out to a mile on grass. He went straight to the lead and never looked back, eight lengths in front at one point, and once clear, settled in to ultimately score by 6 1/4 lengths.

Sole Volante had gotten the better of Guillermo the first time they met, in which the former won the Pulpit S., going a mile on the grass, with the latter getting the show dough. With all of this in mind, the only explanation for the egregious odds swing was merely that debut dirt sprint at two.

King Guillermo shocked the bettors, and brought owner Victor Martinez, a five-time MLB All-Star, to tears. To win a prep for the Kentucky Derby is one thing – to do it with a horse named for your late father makes it all the more profound. They plan to run in the Derby itself next, which is unconventional.

That’s a lot of time to cover with no race in between, but as far as covering the 1 1/4 miles distance pedigree-wise, if he’s fit (and the layoff between the Pulpit and Tampa Bay Derby was longer than the time between Tampa and the Kentucky Derby), why not?

Uncle Mo has already sired a Derby winner in 2016 champ Nyquist. Furthermore, Mo’s sire, Indian Charlie, was favored to win the 1998 Derby. He came up short in third, suffering his first career loss and finale, with Baffert stablemate Real Quiet victorious.

The King’s Mum

Guillermo’s dam, Slow Sand, is a daughter of a leading broodmare sire of the past in Dixieland Band, himself a son of Derby and Preakness victor – and one of the best sires of all time – Northern Dancer.

Interestingly, you also find Dixieland Band is the sire of Uncle Mo’s second dam. As for Guillermo’s grandmother, that’s stakes winner Slow Down, by Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew. She won the Hillsborough H. at now-defunct Bay Meadows and was a half-sister to Olmodavor, who won the Native Diver (G3) and was second in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1).

King Guillermo’s great-grandmother, Corrazona (by another son of Northern Dancer in champion and European classic winner El Gran Senor), won the Beverly Hills (G1), and was a half-sister to millionaire and Grade 1 victor Thirty Six Red, who failed the Derby contest, but put in a notable runner-up finish in the Test of a Champion, the Belmont, in 1990. A clear stamina influence in the pedigree is found above the colt’s fourth dam, as she is a daughter of champion – and Belmont winner – Stage Door Johnny.

King Guillermo isn’t the only son of Uncle Mo to have basically guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate. Just last month, Modernist scored 50 points winning Division 2 of the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at the Fair Grounds for jockey Junior Alvarado, trainer Bill Mott, and owners Martin and Pam Wygod, who also bred the horse.

It was his second consecutive score at the 1 1/8-mile distance, as he had just prior taken his first trip to the winner’s circle in his 3-year-old debut, going nine furlongs at Aqueduct. Maturity and distance were no doubt beneficial to Modernist after two failed attempts at two, first sprinting to a fifth-place finish at Belmont, and then stretching to a mile and a show dough placing in December at Aqueduct.

Despite the rail draw, it was really easy to like Modernist in this spot. Mott ships with purpose, and one has to love the pedigree, especially with how it ripens.

The fact that he went off at 12-1 was certainly welcome, as he overcame the inside assignment, sat close to NY Traffic, and drew clear in the stretch to take it by a length in the end. It’s rewarding to see paper translate to performance, as this son of Uncle Mo is out of Symbolic Gesture, an unraced daughter of 2006’s Eclipse Champion 3-Year-Old, Darley’s Bernardini – himself a son of Hall of Famer, A.P. Indy, whose conquests include the Belmont and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Bernardini has been hot as a broodmare sire, represented by the likes of Catholic Boy, Serengeti Empress, and Maxfield. Symbolic Gesture is additionally a half-sister to two Breeders’ Cup champions in Sweet Catomine, whose Juvenile Fillies score led to year-end honors (and who later won the Santa Anita Oaks), and Ladies Classic, aka, DISTAFF, champion Life Is Sweet. Adding more distance credentials to the tree is the fact that Modernist is bred 4Sx3D to stamina influence Kris S., a son of 1972’s Epsom Derby (G1) hero, the great Roberto.

If a horse is going to command a six-figure fee, they have to back up the bankroll.

We’re mid-March, and Uncle Mo’s offspring have already amassed $2,173,508 in the Northern Hemisphere, with five graded stakes winners, Modernist topping the roster.

Into Mischief is off to a stellar start, too, with his babies earning $3,105,238, four of them graded-stakes winners, led by the aforementioned Authentic.

Driving the success of these stallions is their surface versatility and the fact their offspring can win early – and get better with time. No wonder that year-in and year-out it’s more money for Mo, and Mischief.