Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Mo Donegal

April 18th, 2022

At the end of 2010, trainer Todd Pletcher headed into winter with champion juvenile and Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Uncle Mo in his barn.

An illness ultimately prevented Uncle Mo from contesting the Kentucky Derby, but at stud, he’s doing his best to make up for lost opportunity. In 2016, Uncle Mo’s son Nyquist succeeded where his sire could not, posting a comfortable victory in the Kentucky Derby. And now, Uncle Mo is the sire of Donegal Racing's colt Mo Donegal, the determined Remsen S. (G2) and Wood Memorial (G2) winner conditioned by none other than Pletcher.

From a pedigree perspective, Mo Donegal has the breeding to relish the Kentucky Derby’s 1 1/4-mile distance. While Uncle Mo was a brilliant miler who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and Champagne S. (G1), his progeny have consistently shown the ability to run long across multiple surfaces. In addition to Nyquist, Uncle Mo’s best runners to date include Apple Blossom H. (G1) winner Unbridled Mo, Chandelier S. (G1) winner Bast, Wood Memorial (G1) hero Outwork, Starlet S. (G1) winner Dream Tree, and Alciabides S. (G1) winner Gomo—all Grade 1 winners running 1 1/16 miles or farther on dirt.

Mo Donegal Pedigree

In Excess (IRE), 1987
Indian Charlie, 1995
Soviet Sojourn, 1989
Uncle Mo, 2008
Arch, 1995
Playa Maya, 2000
Dixie Slippers, 1995
Mo Donegal, 2019
A.P. Indy, 1989
Pulpit, 1994
Preach, 1989
Callingmissbrown, 2012
Tabasco Cat, 1991
Island Sand, 2001
Sue's Last Dance, 1995

The bottom half of Mo Donegal’s pedigree is equally encouraging. Dam Callingmissbrown was an allowance-caliber sprinter, but her sire—Pulpit—won the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass S. (G2) and ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby. At stud, Pulpit has proven to be a source of stamina, with Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box and Wood Memorial winner Tapit among the numerous long-winded dirt stars he’s sired. Tapit, in turn, has turned into a three-time leading sire with four winners of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont S. (G1) among his progeny.

Pulpit has also been passing on stamina as a broodmare sire. His daughters have foaled a bevy of graded stakes-winning route runners, including 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million (G1) and Manhattan S. (G1) winner Real Solution, 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup (G3) hero Madefromlucky, and 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn S. (G2) winner War Story.

Clearly, Mo Donegal’s pedigree contains enough stamina for the Kentucky Derby. But importantly, it also contains speed and early precocity courtesy of Uncle Mo. There’s such a thing as having too much stamina for the Derby, so Mo Donegal—boasting the ideal genetic combination of speed with stamina—should be perfectly suited to success on the first Saturday in May.

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