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2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Mo Tom

By Kellie Reilly

Mo Tom is the third son of Uncle Mo to make it into the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) field, underscoring what a sensational splash he’s made with his first crop. If it hadn’t been for costly trouble in the Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2), Mo Tom would have guaranteed himself a spot sooner. Although he had to play the waiting game on the bubble for a little while, all’s well that ends well.

In Uncle Mo’s case, you could say all’s starting well. Even if his sole flagbearer were unbeaten champion Nyquist, that would be quite a calling card to sire the Derby favorite in his initial season at stud. But Uncle Mo has another major prep winner in Outwork, who won the Wood Memorial (G1) that had eluded his sire. 

Uncle Mo was an undefeated champion 2-year-old himself, following a blowout debut at Saratoga with dominant victories in the Champagne (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). At the time, you wouldn’t have guessed that the Juvenile marked his only win around two turns. His classic campaign was blighted by an illness that arguably contributed to his Wood loss and ultimately ruled him out of the Derby.

When Uncle Mo was ready to reappear later in the season, he started back around one turn, just denied by Caleb’s Posse in the King’s Bishop (G1) and rebounding over older horses in style in the Kelso (G2). By the time Uncle Mo tried to stretch out to 1 1/4 miles in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), his old liver enzyme issue was flaring up again. The recurrence was detected in the wake of his uncharacteristic 10th.

In the circumstances, Uncle Mo didn’t have a fair shot at proving his stamina at three. His brilliance implied that he may have been better going shorter. Yet with Arch for a broodmare sire, you could make a plausible case for him to stay farther than he showed on the track.

Uncle Mo’s offspring are now getting that chance. His other prominent runners include Laoban, 23rd on the Derby points list and aiming for the Preakness (G1) if he doesn’t get the requisite defections; Alcibiades (G1) winner Gomo; Mokat, runner-up to Songbird in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1); and fellow Kentucky Oaks (G1) candidates Mo d’Amour and Thrilled.

A cursory glance at Mo Tom’s dam might raise more stamina questions, but that could be misleading. There’s a lot more intrigue under the surface.

Mo Tom is out of Caroni, who failed to hit the board in seven starts (all sprints). She has more than made up for that record of futility by producing five winners from six starters. Three of her runners are stakes winners – Beautician, runner-up in the 2009 Spinaway (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), as well as Bella Castani, successful in a one-mile turf stakes at Belmont, in addition to Mo Tom. Another of Mo Tom’s half-sisters, Rubindy, won over as far as 1 3/16 miles on turf (likely with the help of her sire Bernardini).

Caroni is by champion sprinter Rubiano, but he didn’t have a pure sprinter’s pedigree as a son of Fappiano and a Nijinsky II mare. He also counted a full sister to Relaunch as his second dam. Given that robust female line (his three-quarter sister is also the dam of Tapit), it’s not a surprise that Rubiano has made a big impact through his daughters. Rubiano is the broodmare sire of War Front, now a stallion with global commercial appeal; $2.4 million-earner and Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady; Canadian champion Riding the River; Cool Coal Man; and Manighar, a high-class French stayer turned multiple Australian Group 1 star.

Caroni is a half-sister to multiple Grade 2-winning sprinter Kashatreya. But their dam, Douce Carotte, was bred to stay. By French champion Caro (sire of 1988 Kentucky Derby heroine Winning Colors), she is out of a Nijinsky II mare. Since both Rubiano and Douce Carotte are Nijinsky II “grandchildren,” Caroni is closely inbred (3×3) to that last English Triple Crown winner and significant classic influence.

That’s not the only thought-provoking duplication at work, for Caro also appears twice in Mo Tom’s pedigree. Caro is the male-line ancestor of Uncle Mo, via French classic-winning miler Siberian Express; multiple Grade 1 hero In Excess; and the brilliant Indian Charlie, third as the favorite in the 1998 Kentucky Derby.

Mo Tom hails from the family of multiple Grade or Group 1 winners Taisez Vous and Bint Pasha. Delving deeper, his eighth dam is the influential Judy O’Grady, whose numerous high-profile descendants include *Grey Dawn II, Green Dancer, Naturalism, Faraway Son, Baillamont, and Fair Salinia. At a still further remove, this female line is responsible for 1991 Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold.

Pedigree information courtesy of Brisnet.com.

Photo courtesy Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography.