02/22/2017 11:56AM

Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Mo Town

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Mo Town

Uncle Mo-Grazie Mille, by Bernardini

(Bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock; $200,000 purchase by Team D at 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale)

Uncle Mo had three starters from his first crop in the 2016 Kentucky Derby, including the victorious Nyquist – a brilliant beginning. The young stallion was one of two sires last year with three Derby starters, the first to accomplish the feat since Cox’s Ridge in 1984. The other stallion with three starters last year was the continent’s three-time reigning leading sire, Tapit, whose freshman-season earnings record was broken by Uncle Mo.

Off that initial success, Uncle Mo is looking to reach even more rarified air. No stallion has ever sired back-to-back Kentucky Derby winners, but Uncle Mo is in hot pursuit of that accomplishment with two colts on DRF’s initial Derby Watch Top 20 list. Mo Town, a Grade 2 winner as a juvenile, looks to start his 3-year-old season on a winning note in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Saturday. Meanwhile, Royal Mo kicked off his 3-year-old season in style by winning the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita.

Mo Town is the first foal out of the Bernardini mare Grazie Mille, who made just two starts. She finished second in her debut going six furlongs before relishing a stretch-out to a mile and 70 yards to win her maiden in January of her 4-year-old season.

Grazie Mille is out of Molto Vita, a Grade 3-winning sprinter who was multiple Grade 1-placed. She is the dam of stakes winner Jaguar Paw, who earned all of his victories at a mile or longer, and Venetian Mask, who was Grade 3-placed at 1 3/8 miles. This is the extended family of champion and influential leading sire Raise a Native and Grade 1 winner Malibu Mint.