Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Serious Stud

When Uncle Mo arrived at trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn in upstate New York, it became immediately clear this was no ordinary animal. He had this massive stride, Pletcher recalls. “He was a ground-gobbling machine.” His debut race came that August. He won by 14 lengths. He easily captured honors as top two-year-old colt in 2010
But, as a three year old and undefeated--and, at that point, the overwhelming Kentucky Derby favorite--Uncle Mo was upset at Aqueduct and diagnosed afterwards with a rare liver disease. He disappeared for four months, made a brief comeback and then went out in his last race with a 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Mo spends his days now at Ashford Stud with the world’s most famous living thoroughbred, American Pharoah. Coolmore Stud, the Irish breeding powerhouse that operates Ashford, bought stakes in both colts late in their racing careers.
Pharoah arrived at Ashford to great fanfare after capturing the Triple Crown last year. His debut stud fee was set at $200,000. Only Tapit, the country’s dominant top stud, at $300,000, commands more. Mo, by comparison, started out at just $35,000 back in 2012. For while his career had begun brilliantly enough -- he was the top two-year-old colt in 2010 -- his struggles as a three-year-old blunted enthusiasm in the breeding community. But that has quickly changed. His debut crop of two-year-olds earned more money than those of any other stud in America last year. And so far in 2016, his offspring have made $4.8 million, enough to place him third on the stallion rankings list even though he has no older thoroughbreds competing on the racetrack yet. In his very first crop of three-year-olds, he has a trio of horses in the Kentucky Derby, including the favorite Nyquist.
Mo’s stud fee could rise from $75,000 today to as much as $150,000 in 2017.

No comments: