Mo Donegal defeats Nest in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes
Donegal Racing’s and Repole Stable’s Mo Donegal, the Grade 1-winning millionaire by Uncle Mo who was last seen capturing the Belmont Stakes (G1) in June, has been retired from racing and will stand stud in 2023 at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky. His fee will be $20,000 S&N.
“It’s always exciting when you can acquire a stallion prospect of the caliber of Mo Donegal, and we are thankful to Jerry Crawford, Mike Repole and the Donegal Racing partners for the opportunity,” said Ned Toffey, Spendthrift general manager. “It’s not often you can offer breeders a classic winner by an emerging sire of sires, which Uncle Mo appears to be. On top of that, Mo Donegal is very good-looking, comes from a brilliant and active family, was a 2-year-old graded stakes winner and defeated some of the best from a pretty good crop of 3-year-olds this year. We expect him to be extremely popular, and we invite breeders to come out and see him.”
Mo Donegal exited his victory in the final leg of the Triple Crown with some bone bruising, and it was ultimately determined that the three-time graded stakes winner would be retired.
“The Donegal Racing partners and I could not be more proud of Mo Donegal and the special places he took us the last two seasons,” said Jerry Crawford, CEO of Donegal Racing. “The timing of the bone bruising was unfortunate and not going to allow us to make any of our target races for the remainder of the year. We felt the best decision was to retire him, and we are excited that he’ll get a wonderful opportunity to make a great stallion at a place like Spendthrift.”
Repole, who acquired an ownership stake in the son of his former stable star Uncle Mo earlier this year, said: “I was following Mo Donegal as a 2-year-old last year at Saratoga, because Todd (Pletcher) trained and liked him and, obviously, he’s a son of Uncle Mo (Repole’s 2010 champion 2-year-old colt). I was very impressed, and I got to watch him win the Remsen. He was a horse that had already got the mile-and-an-eighth as a 2-year-old, and I knew he would get better. He went on to win the Wood, which was amazing, and then he gave me the biggest thrill of my life, winning the Belmont Stakes. Mo Donegal is a beautiful son of Uncle Mo, and he beat some of the best – Zandon, my filly Nest, Early Voting. Just very impressive all around.”
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Mo Donegal broke his maiden last year at Belmont as a 2-year-old before proving best in the $250,000 Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct in his next start, defeating Grade 1 winner Zandon.
This year at 3, he won the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (G2) over eventual Preakness winner Early Voting and graded winner Skippylongstocking, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.96 – the fastest time recorded in the storied Kentucky Derby prep race since Bellamy Road’s 1:47.16 in 2005. Following a troubled fifth from the one-post in the Kentucky Derby, Mo Donegal returned to New York to decisively win the $1,500,000 Belmont Stakes (G1) by three lengths over three-time Grade 1 winner Nest and three other graded winners including Kentucky Derby hero Rich Strike.
“The classic winners that come through our program will always be special to me, and Mo Donegal showed in his Belmont Stakes win what we have always thought of him,” said Pletcher. “We went into the (Kentucky) Derby this year with a lot of confidence, but the one-hole was just too much to overcome. Obviously, having trained Uncle Mo, it was nice for us to be able to campaign one of his best sons. Mo Donegal showed immense talent from the first time we breezed him at 2, and he’s always been a very classy, good-minded, good-looking colt. I’d have to imagine breeders will love him.”
Mo Donegal retires with earnings of $1,511,800, joining Nyquist as Uncle Mo’s millionaire classic winners at stud. He is out of the Pulpit mare Callingmissbrown, a daughter of Grade 1 winner Island Sand. Mo Donegal’s half-sister Prank was among the impressive 2-year-old maiden winners this summer at Saratoga, earning “Rising Star” honors from the Thoroughbred Daily News for Pletcher.
For more information about Mo Donegal or to schedule an appointment for inspection, please contact Des, Mark, or Brian at 859-294-0030.