Modernist (Uncle Mo) winning the Gr.2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds

Uncle Mo's Modernist Joins Kentucky Derby Trail

Pam and Martin Wygod homebred Modernist (3c Uncle Mo x Symbolic Gesture, by Bernardini) put himself square on the Road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday when winning the Grade II Risen Star Stakes.

Breaking his maiden at Aqueduct last out, trainer Bill Mott shipped the colt to the Fair Grounds for his introduction to the Kentucky Derby trail. The colt proved that 1 1/8 miles was no problem at the stakes level when breaking quickly from the inside hole. Holding his spot on the rail, Modernist contested the lead with Junior Alvarado aboard as the field entered the first turn.

Alvarado spent much of the ride trying to convince the eager Modernist to relax before letting him charge to the lead in the far turn. Modernist had control for most of the stretch and crossed the line a length in front to earn 50 points and go to Number 2 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

“He won at a mile and an eighth in New York and has progressed really well in this early part of his three-year-old year,” said Mott, who won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Lookin At Lucky’s Country House. “He’s become more mature and has been more professional about everything. I couldn’t be more delighted with how he acted in the paddock and post parade. I told Junior to take advantage of the one hole. The horse handled everything really well.”

The homebred is the third generation to be bred by the Wygods and is a grandson of their Broodmare of the Year Sweet Life. His dam is a half-sister to Champion and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Sweet Catomine and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Life Is Sweet. The successful family continues to add to its legacy with Modernist one of two stakes winners tracing to Sweet Life on Saturday.

Modernist is bred on the extremely successful Uncle Mo x Bernardini cross that has produced eight winners from 13 runners including three graded stakes winners, led by Grade I winner Mo Town. The cross has produced over 30 percent stakes horses from runners with four stakes horses overall.

Top sire Uncle Mo is no stranger to Kentucky Derby success with the record-breaking Champion Freshman siring Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist from his first crop.