The results of the 2022 Belmont Stakes produced a double of different kinds for both the sire of the winner Mo Donegal (by Uncle Mo) and for the breeders, the Lyster family’s Ashview Farm and Richard Santulli’s Colts Neck Stables, which bred and sold the winner, as well as the runner-up, Nest (Curlin).
With a winner of the Belmont, champion juvenile Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) has his second classic winner. The bay stallion’s first came from his first crop in 2015 champion juvenile Nyquist, who won the 2016 Kentucky Derby.
One of 25 stakes winners (16 percent of foals) from Uncle Mo’s first crop, Nyquist was unbeaten at two, winning all five of his starts, including victories in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, Frontrunner, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The next season, the well-conformed bay progressed enough to win his first three starts, including the G1 Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby. Nyquist was third in the Preakness, then fourth in the Haskell and sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby before retiring to stud at Darley‘s Jonabell Farm in Lexington.
Mo Donegal comes from the seventh crop by Uncle Mo, who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud outside Versailles, Ky., where Uncle Mo has sired 1,054 foals aged three and up. From those, the stallion has 768 starters (63 percent), 521 winners (43 percent), and 77 stakes winners (7.3 percent). Had the percentage of stakes winners for subsequent crops been able to match the extraordinary results of the first, Uncle Mo would have the highest stud fee of any sire in the country, and as it is, he stands for $160,000 live foal on a stand and nurse contract.
The 11th G1 winner for Uncle Mo, Mo Donegal was bred in Kentucky by Ashview and Colts Neck, and they sold the bay to Jerry Crawford, agent for Donegal Racing, for $250,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September sale.
The Belmont Stakes winner is out of Callingmissbrown, a Pulpit mare that the Lysters acquired privately for their breeding partnership, and she “is a beautiful mare who has a beautiful foal,” said Gray Lyster. The quality and balance of the dam no doubt helped when Ashview brought the Uncle Mo colt to the 2020 Keeneland September yearling sale and sold him for a quarter-million, then brought the mare’s 2021 yearling, a filly by leading sire Into Mischief, to the Keeneland sales last year.
By the hot sire but out of a mare who hadn’t at that time produced a black-type winner, Callingmissbrown’s 2021 September yearling brought $500,000 from Frankie Brothers, agent, and Litt/Solis. To bring twice what Crawford paid for the mare’s Uncle Mo colt a year before, this filly was quite nice.
Clearly, being by Into Mischief put a bull’s eye on the filly among discerning horsemen, she looked the part, and she brought a premium for it. Now named Prank, the Into Mischief filly has had a pair of official breezes at Saratoga.
The family that produced Mo Donegal also accounted for Canadian classic winner Niigon (Unbridled), winner of the 2004 Queen’s Plate. He was out of Savethelastdance (Nureyev), who also produced Sue’s Last Dance (Forty Niner), the third dam of the classic winner and dam of Pozo de Luna (Famous Again), champion juvenile colt in Mexico, and Island Sand (Tabasco Cat). The latter earned $1.1 million with victories such as the G1 Acorn Stakes, as well as a second in the G1 Kentucky Oaks.
Island Sand has produced a pair of stakes-placed winners, including Grade 1-placed Maya Malibu (Malibu Moon), second in the G1 Spinaway, and a daughter of leading sire Pulpit (A.P. Indy), Callingmissbrown, who won two of her four starts and is the dam of Mo Donegal.
The second foal of his dam, Mo Donegal has won four of his seven starts, including the Belmont, Wood Memorial, and Remsen, with a pair of thirds. The colt has been out of the money only in the Kentucky Derby, when fifth after a difficult trip.
Callingmissbrown “is a dark bay mare with no white on her legs but has a small star on her forehead like Mo Donegal,” Lyster said, “and she’s by Pulpit, whom we love as a broodmare sire.” Unfortunately, the mare lost a “beautiful Curlin colt four days after the Wood,” he noted, “but is now pregnant at 20 days gestation to Uncle Mo.”
Could there be “Mo” classic prospects in the future for this partnership?