Freshman sire Uncle Mo has two colts from his first-ever crop in the top twenty spots for the Kentucky Derby. While everyone knows Nyquist’s name, the other Mo has caught the attention of handicappers who are looking for value and a horse who might prefer more ground. While Mo Tom is not nearly as accomplished as Nyquist, he makes for an interesting talking point.
- G3 winner in the Lecomte Stakes at 1 mile & 70 yards
- Sire: Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie)
- Dam: Caroni (Rubiano)
- Trainer: Thomas Amoss (Backtalk, Heritage of Gold)
- Jockey: Corey Lanerie
- Owned by: GMB Racing
- Record: 7:3-0-3
- Earnings: $291,526
- Best speed figures: 88 Beyer, 95 BRIS Figure, 103 Equibase
Background: New Orleans-based owner GMB Racing has two horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby, but their favorite may be the traffic-troubled Mo Tom more so than Louisiana Derby (II) runner-up Tom’s Ready. The son of Uncle Mo has been a consistent horse, although not consistently winning, and has always made his move late. Trainer Tom Amoss as well as GMB Racing have elected to give rider Corey Lanerie another shot aboard the horse despite running into traffic and almost risking not getting into the Derby– which he managed to do only after the defection of Rebel Stakes (II) winner Cupid. It’s every Mo Tom backer’s belief that the horse may not have shown his best yet and will likely get better as the distance gets longer.
Prep Schedule: Mo Tom has won 3 times in 7 starts on four different racetracks, including the Churchill main. He won his debut race by a neck at Ellis Park going 6 furlongs, scoring a win over future stakes winner Discreetness before trading barns from Amoss to Chris Richard. He was far back early in his next start at Keeneland, but made up ground despite it all to be third, beaten some 2 lengths by Richie the Bull before heading to Churchill Downs, where he won the 1-mile Street Sense Stakes over stablemate Tom’s Ready. Transferred back to Tom Amoss, he ran back three weeks later in the Kentucky Jockey Club Cup (II) in muddy conditions for the first time, way back early and gaining ground at the end to be third by just 1 3/4 lengths behind Airoforce and Mor Spirit.
At three, he won his first start back in the Lecomte Stakes (III) at Fair Grounds, scoring by 2 lengths despite hitting the gate and some traffic. He hit traffic again in February, unable to do better than third in the Risen Star Stakes (II). At 9 furlongs in the Louisiana Derby (II), he again had to check in the stretch and was fourth, beaten some 6 lengths by Gun Runner.
Pedigree: Part of Uncle Mo’s first crop to race– which has been racking up enough earnings to make him one of the leading overall sires and the top freshman sire by a landslide– Mo Tom is line-bred to Caro and Northern Dancer.
Uncle Mo was a runaway success as a racehorse despite encountering some noticeable bumps along the way. Unbeaten at 2, he won the Champagne Stakes (I) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (I) by daylight to secure champion two-year-old colt honors. Racing at 3, his dignity took a hit when he was upset by Toby’s Corner in the Wood Memorial (I), after which he was scratched from the Kentucky Derby, then returned to race second in the King’s Bishop (I) to eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (I) winner Caleb’s Posse and won the Kelso Handicap (II) at a mile. A new sire, he has produced several graded stakes winners in his first crop including juvenile champion Nyquist and G1 winners Gomo and Outwork. His sire Indian Charlie was best at one-turn races, and turned into quite the prolific sire with G1 winners like Uncle Mo, Indian Blessing, and Liaison. His dam Playa Maya (Arch) is line-bred to Northern Dancer and Turn-To.
Dam Caroni was immediately successful as a broodmare, producing multiple G1-placed Beautician (Dehere) and stakes winner Bella Castani (Big Brown). She is a half sister to G2-winning sprinter Kashatreya, who won the True North Stakes and the Fall Highweight Handicap.
Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A++ Variant 11.16
Dosage Index: 1.55
Running Style: Closer
Pros: It is clear that we don’t know how good Mo Tom is yet, and comparing him side-by-side with other Derby contenders whose odds will be much shorter, some of his races are in the neighborhood of others who did not face as much rotten luck. His long stride and easygoing nature are both pluses heading into a longer distance he will probably like even better, and two strong showings at Churchill definitely don’t hurt.
Cons: Mo Tom had issues getting around horses in a field half the size of the Kentucky Derby, so it’s hard to imagine him doing so well as to win AND getting around all those horses in time.
Final Word: Mo Tom is very likeable as a longshot candidate to use in your exotics, but a tough sell to use on top. His Lecomte Stakes win was especially good, as he did not need a tremendously fast pace to win not to mention he did not have a spotless trip. He has shown he can deal with a cruddy trip and still do pretty well, hence his 7:3-0-3 record, and hasn’t been acting nutty in recent workouts. I don’t like him to win, but I’m excited to see him possibly hit the board.