Photo: Mo Donegal galloping at Churchill Downs Thursday. Coady Photography)
DES MOINES, Iowa (Friday, April 29, 2022) -- Donegal Racing announced today that the syndicate has sold minority interest in leading Kentucky Derby contender Mo Donegal to New York entrepreneur and prominent horse owner Mike Repole.
The price and ownership stake were not disclosed.
“We couldn’t be happier than we are to have Mike Repole join us as a partner in Mo Donegal’s quest to win the Kentucky Derby,” said Donegal Racing president Jerry Crawford. "With Donegal bringing 300 partners and friends to the Derby and Mike bringing his entourage, Mo will have more support than the New York Mets."
“Both Mike and I love working with Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz so this arrangement was a natural.”
As his name suggests, Mo Donegal is a son of the sensational Ashford Stud stallion Uncle Mo, the unbeaten 2-year-old champion of 2011 who was campaigned by Repole and trained by Pletcher.
“I am excited to be part of Mo Donegal with Jerry Crawford and the partners of Donegal Racing,” Repole said. “In my 15 years of racing, this will be the first time I am partners with someone who has a bigger entourage than my own. While having some great conversations with Jerry, this partnership made so much sense for Repole Stable. Being trained by Todd Pletcher, being ridden by Irad Ortiz and most special, being a son of my sire Uncle Mo. As a racing fan, I have been incredibly impressed by Mo Donegal, and I am so excited to watch him and his brilliance as an owner.”
Mo Donegal stamped himself among last year’s leading 2-year-olds with a nose victory in Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at 1 1/8 miles over future Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass winner Zandon. He returned to New York in his second start of 2022 for the Wood Memorial (G2), rallying over a speed-favoring track to prevail by head over Zandon’s stablemate Early Voting.
Mo Donegal, a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, has won three of five starts, with two thirds, for earnings of $621,800. Ortiz, aboard for the Remsen and two other races, is back on the colt after a conflict had the three-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey riding at Keeneland on the day of the Wood Memorial.
Donegal, named for a town in Ireland, was founded by Crawford in 2008 with the goal of buying yearlings that develop into Kentucky Derby horses. The Iowa-based syndicate has had three Derby starters, with Grade 1 winners Paddy O’Prado (2010) and Dullahan (2012) both third. Keen Ice was seventh in the 2015 Derby but rebounded to win Saratoga’s Travers Stakes (G1) over Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.
Repole is hoping that a little luck of the Irish can help him find Kentucky Derby Mojo. The Queens native’s best Derby finish among six prior starters was ninth, that coming in 2018 with Vino Russo, who went on to capture the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic.