In part one of this post we looked at how Nyquist is an example of what we think is something of a paradigm shift with regard to the modern classic U.S. dirt horse. The industry is so much better at producing fast horses than true middle-distance runners, that more and more often the Derby preps, and even the Derby itself are likely to be taken by stretching out milers whose physiology either allows them to tolerate high levels of lactate, or to produce less lactate than normal when in anaerobic mode. Our suggestion is that ten furlongs is not Nyquist’s optimum trip, but he still has enough of a class/maturity advantage to defeat, for example, a Suddenbreakingnews, who is probably better suited by ten furlongs than shorter distances.
Now we’ll take a look at Nyquist’s own pedigree, and en route consider the remarkable start made by his sire, Uncle Mo. We suspect that Uncle Mo was a horse of a very similar type to Nyquist. An undefeated Champion Two-Year-Old, he scored an easy victory on his debut in a minor stakes at a mile. Only third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) next out, he was found to be suffering from an illness that kept him out of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He re-emerged from a long layoff to contest the King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I), and went down by a nose to very talented Caleb’s Posse, caught late after getting the best of a prolonged pace battle. An extremely impressive winner over older horses in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) – an effort that earned a 118 Beyer – next out, Uncle Mo was found to have suffered a reoccurrence of the illness that struck him earlier in the season after finishing unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).
In direct male-line, Nyquist and Uncle Mo descend from Nasrullah, but not through the line most frequently found in U.S. dirt classic horses, that of Bold Ruler via Seattle Slew/A.P. Indy. Instead, his route from Nasrullah comes down from that horse’s willful sprinting son Grey Sovereign, a three-quarters brother to the Epsom Derby winner, Nimbus. Despite starting for a very modest fee, Grey Sovereign proved to be a very good sire, and sire of sires. One of his stallion sons, Fortino II – a top-class sprinter, who took one of Europe’s premier five furlong event, the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp – was sent to Japan after a few seasons in Europe, but left behind Caro, winner of the Prix Ganay (gr. I), and before the group/graded system was introduced, the French 2,000 Guineas and Prix d’Ispahan. Champion Sire in France, Caro was subsequently imported to the U.S., where he continued to be very successful, and carved his own slice of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) history with Winning Colors, one of only three fillies to win that race.
Caro’s son, Siberian Express – brilliant on his day, but also very inconsistent – won the Prix Morny (gr. I) and French 2,000 Guineas (gr. I). At this juncture, we’ll briefly note that Siberian Express was not only a Nasrullah line stallion, but also from the Myrtlewood branch of the Frizette family. A disappointment as a sire, Siberian Express did sire two grade one winners in Siberian Summer and In Excess. A group winner in England and a graded scorer in the U.S. at three, In Excess was a near champion the following year, taking the San Fernando Stakes (gr. ) and setting a track-record for nine furlongs, the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), the Suburban Handicap (gr. I) in a new track-record for ten furlongs, the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) and Woodward Stakes (gr. I). A front-runner, In Excess was able to win at ten furlongs, but was better at a little shorter. In Excess subsequently dominated the California stallion ranks for an extended perior. His best runner, Uncle Mo’s sire, Indian Charlie – out of the precocious juvenile Soviet Sojourn – won four of five starts, including the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), his sole defeat coming when third in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) behind Real Quiet, who he had defeated in the Santa Anita Derby. Indian Charlie turned out to be a highly successful sire, and in addition to Uncle Mo, he was also represented by other U.S. champions Fleet Indian and Indian Blessing.
With his first crop at the races last year, Uncle Mo made an exceptional start, ending 2016 as Leading Freshman Sire and Leading Sire of Two-Year-Olds, setting new earnings records. With his three-year-olds continuing to build on that beginning, it’s clear that Uncle Mo is about to rise into some distinctly rarified air, into a zone where perhaps one only finds War Front and Tapit among current U.S. sires. From a statistical standpoint, Uncle Mo’s figures currently reflect that from 103 starters from his first crop, he is sire of 23 stakes horses, 13 stakes winners, five graded winners, and three grade one winners. Three of his offspring – Nyquist, Outwork and Mo Tom – made the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) field, and for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Nyquist is expected to be joined by two more Uncle Mo sons, Laoban and Uncle Lino. All told eight of Uncle Mo’s first crop colts placed in races that might fairly be described as classic trials.
For a young stallion, it’s rather interesting that Uncle Mo is already beginning to demonstrate some keenly defined affinities. One is the cross with mares carrying Fappiano, which has already produced four stakes winners and seven total stakes horses from 18 starters. If we extend that to mares that carry Fappiano’s broodmare sire, Dr. Fager, then there are six stakes winners and 11 total stakes horses from 24 starters. We’ll just leave as a thought that Dr. Fager is one of the very few horses we’ve ever seen that carry Frizzle, the only son of Frizette that we’ve ever seen in a pedigree.
Out of mares by another Mr. Prospector line stallion, Elusive Quality, Uncle Mo has grade one winner Gomo, and stakes winner Lost Raven, as the only starters on the cross. Recalling what we said about Siberian Express being from the Nasrullah line and from the Myrtlewood branch of Frizette, we’ll note that Mr. Prospector’s dam, Gold Digger, is also from the Nasrullah line and from the Myrtlewood branch of Frizette (Gold Digger’s dam, Sequence, is a three-quarters sister to the third dam of Siberian Express. For good measure, Elusive Quality’s fourth dam, Natasha, is also by Nasrullah and from the female line of Frizette. “From the Nasrullah sire line, and from the Myrtlewood branch of Frizette” is also a description that fits Seattle Slew, and he turns up in three of Uncle Mo’s stakes winners to date, including Gomo, and Uncle Brennie, whose dam is a Malibu Moon mare inbred to Mr. Prospector.
On a different tack, Uncle Mo’s dam is by Arch, a grandson of Roberto, out of a mare by Dixieland Band (Roberto and Dixieland Band carry three-quarters relatives, both by sons of Nasrullah). Duplications of these seem to be effective too. Roberto is doubled in six Uncle Mo stakes horses, and four stakes winners, from only 12 starters with that pattern. There are nine starters and two stakes horses with Dixieland Band doubled, including stakes winner Abiding Star, whose dam is by Dynaformer, and is a parallel Roberto/Dixieland Band cross to Uncle Mo’s dam.
Nyquist is a product of an Uncle Mo cross we’ve yet to mention, that with Storm Cat line mares. This cross has already produced four stakes winners, including in addition to Nyquest, Thrilled and Clipthecouponannie (out of mares by the brothers Giant’s Causeway and Freud), and Mo d’Amour, whose dam is by Scat Daddy.
Nyquist’s pedigree adds another twist, as his dam, Seeking Gabrielle, is by Storm Cat’s son, Forestry (incidentally, sire out of a Fappiano line mare of Shackleford, another speedy horse who stretch out to win a classic when taking the Preakness). Forestry’s granddam is by Dr. Fager – who we’ve seen is exceptionally positive under Uncle Mo – out of Bold Sequence, who is a three-quarters-sister to the dam of Mr. Prospector, and another Nasrullah sire line/Myrtlewood/Frizette female line horse (so Nyquist has three instances of horses with Nasrullah in the sire line and Myrtlewood/Frizette in the female line, and also has Never Bend, a Nasrullah son who is out of a mare by Djeddah, a horse inbred to the Frizette family). Nyquist’s second dam, the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) scorer Seeking Regina, is by Seeking the Gold, a son of Mr. Prospector. Seeking Regina is also dam of a talented three-quarters sister to Seeking Gabrielle, in Storm Cat’s sprinting daughter, Seeking the Sky, winner of the Interborough Stakes (gr. III) and dam of the Metropolitan Stakes (gr. I) victor, Sahara Sky (by a son of Forestry’s broodmare sire, Pleasant Colony, so having a very similar background to Seeking Gabrielle). The family goes back to the Irish Oaks winner Superbe via Moon Star II, a three-quarters sister to Gun Shot (sire of Kelso’s great rival, Gun Bow), and to the dam of Saggy, who sired the 1961 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes scorer, Carry Back.