Sunday, January 10, 2016

Dual Champion First-Year Sire Uncle Mo

Uncle Mo in 2015
A force to be reckoned with on the track, Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) has turned that success to dominance in the breeding shed. The 8-year-old stallion was far and away the best first-crop sire in North America by earnings in 2015 with his 28 winners tallying up $3,675,388 by the end of the year.

While Tapit (Pulpit) was breaking records on the General Sires list this year, Uncle Mo broke a previous record Tapit had set when he topped Tapit’s 2008 first-crop sire earnings of $2,811,337 by $864,051. Uncle Mo and Tapit are the only two horses to break the $2-million mark as First-Crop sires since 2000 according to the Blood-Horse Stallion Register’s list.

To put Uncle Mo’s progeny earnings into perspective, Twirling Candy (Candy Ride) was second in the standings by earnings and his foals only made $1,167,144, nearly $500,000 less than Uncle Mo's highest individual earner. Uncle Mo’s earnings were also enough to give him a comfortable $510,465 lead over fellow, ill-fated Scat Daddy in the Two-Year-Old Sire earnings. Uncle Mo is the first First-Crop sire since Offlee Wild (Wild Again) to lead both lists with Offlee Wild topping them at $1,951,283 in 2009.

Uncle Mo’s $3,675,388 in earnings also put him $2,508,244 ahead of First-Crop Sire runner up Twirling Candy (Candy Ride). Uncle Mo’s highest earner, Nyquist, earned $1,613,600 for his sire but was far from carrying Uncle Mo with his other runners earning him a farther $2-million. Uncle Mo had 28 winners from 73 runners (38 percent strike rate), the highest of all first-crop stallions with seven of those (25 percent) making it back to the winner’s circle. Seven of his 2-year-olds won stakes races with three of them winning graded stakes and 11 at least hitting the board in a stakes race. 

Obviously the headliner of Uncle Mo’s first crop is probable champion Nyquist, who annexed all five of his starts to be named a finalist, and probable champion, for the Eclipse 2-year-old male award. Unless the improbable happens and Nyquist doesn’t win the championship, Uncle Mo and Nyquist will be the first father-son pair to win the 2-year-old male Eclipse since Seattle Slew (1976) and Vindication (2002) doubled up on the award. However, the subject stallion and his pair will have a much smaller gap with Uncle Mo named champion 2-year-old just five years before Nyquist.
Uncle Mo's leading earner, Nyquist
But before Nyquist was even thinking about entering a race, Uncle Mo had his first winner. That first winner, who was also Uncle Mo’s first starter (coincidentally, Uncle Mo’s first starter in Australia was also a winner), won for the team that campaigned Uncle Mo in Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole. Outwork started on April 23 at Keeneland and won the race by 2 ¼ lengths over the highly regarded Finnegan (Unbridled’s Song). It took nearly a month for Uncle Mo to get his next winner but that came in the form of Pletcher-trainee Uncle Vinny with Nyquist being Uncle Mo’s third winner when he debuted in early June. 
Outwork racing at Keeneland
Ironically, all three of Uncle Mo’s graded stakes winners won one right after another with Gomo giving Uncle Mo his fourth winner 20 days after Nyquist’s win. Uncle Vinny also beat Nyquist to the punch when it came to stakes victories, giving Uncle Mo his first stakes win in the Grade 3 Sanford Stakes two weeks before Nyquist’s win in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes.

After Nyquist’s win, the action picked up with Thrilled giving Uncle Mo another Saratoga winner followed by a flurry of both stakes and maiden victories coming from Uncle Mo 2-year-olds.

The period between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2 was especially good for the stallion. Nyquist won his second Grade 1 followed a week later by Gomo winning the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland with Junkers winning a maiden between the two big races. 
Gomo winning the Darley Alcibiades
Things have only gotten better from there with Uncle Mo having five stakes winners and a large group of maiden winners since Oct. 1 with his last winner of 2015 coming on Dec. 26 for none other than Todd Pletcher again. Uncle Mo has already gotten 2016 off to a winning start with his son Abiding Star winning at Laurel Park on New Year’s Day.

Shuttling to Australia every year of his young stud career, Uncle Mo has also made a favorable first impression in the southern hemisphere. From three foals to race in Australia as of Jan. 6, two have won with those two runners placing him third on’s Leading First-Crop Sire list by earnings and tied with Love Conquers All (Mossman) (10 runners) for second behind Sidereus (General Nediym), who has 22 runners.

A precocious juvenile himself, it isn’t a surprise that Uncle Mo’s 2-year-olds are coming out of the gate running. 
Uncle Mo leading the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile
His sire Indian Charlie won his only start at two by 12 lengths at odds of 1.30-to-1 for trainer Bob Baffert. Indian Charlie won his first three starts as a 3-year-old, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, by a combined 13 ¾ lengths before finishing third to Real Quiet in the Kentucky Derby. Indian Charlie never ran again but that didn’t affect his ability to sire a good horse.

Indian Charlie was the sire of over 90 stakes winners, including champions Uncle Mo, Indian Blessing, Fleet Indian, Roxy Gap, Indian Apple IS and Indiano. Other stakes winners by the stallion included Grade 1 winners Pampered Princes, Liasion and By the Moon with other notable names such as Bwana Charlie, My Pal Charlie, Something Extra, Feathered and Brazen Persuasion also by the stallion.

Uncle Mo is out of the Arch mare Playa Maya, who has produced five winners with Uncle Mo being by far her best. A stakes-placed winner herself, Playa Maya looks like she may turn out to be a mare who establishes an important line in the studbook with her only daughter already producing a stakes placed horse in Indian Annie (Indian Charlie).

Playa Maya was the only foal out of the winning mare Dixie Slippers (Dixieland Band), who died the same year she was born, making Uncle Mo’s second dam look weaker than she is in reality because of the lack of names on her produce record.

However, when one goes back another generation to Cyane’s Slippers (Cyane), Dixie Slippers had eight winning half-siblings. This group is led by Grade 3 winner Woods of Windsor (Woodman), who also won a listed stakes and finishing second in the Devil’s Bag Stakes, the same stakes his half-brother Axial Rift (Northern Jove) finished third in. The final stakes placed sibling is Cyane’s Thunder (Thunder Gulch) who placed third in the Whas-11 Stakes at Churchill Downs.

While none of Dixie Slipper’s other half-siblings earned blacktype, one is the granddam of Impetious (Inchinor), who placed in multiple stakes races. Uncle Mo’s fourth dam is the multiple stakes placed Hot Slippers (Rollicking), who is the granddam of Eithan (Polish Numbers) (champion miler in Peru) and multiple stakes placed First Fling (Woodman).

In his first two years of having yearlings in the sales ring, Uncle Mo’s yearlings have averaged $111,663 (2014) and $117,236 (2015) with a total of 191 horses going through the ring and 155 selling. If he can continue the success he had in 2015 in 2016 that average may make another major increase at the summer and fall yearling sales.

In the northern hemisphere, Uncle Mo had 132 live foals born in 2015 and bred 221 mares last year with 98 foals born in 2014. With those numbers it won’t be a surprise if his name pops up quite a bit in all the major sales across the country this year.

While Uncle Mo will be in high demand during the 2016 breeding season, those who want their mares to visit his court this year will have to cough up $50,000 more than they had to pay in 2015. The 8-year-old’s stud fee jumped to $75,000 from the $25,000 advertised price he stood for last year.

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