For a set of owners looking to maximize their chances of having a commercially sale-able foal on a limited budget, we are excited that they have chosen the exciting first-crop stallion Mor Spirit for their young Speightstown mare Innyminniemineymoe, in our latest Housatonic Recommended Mating.
An $85,000 yearling-turned $650,000 2-year-old in-training purchase, Mor Spirit broke his maiden in his second start at 2 for Bob Baffert. He then shipped to Kentucky where he ran 2nd in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes prior to returning to California to triumph in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity in his juvenile finale, moving to the head of Bob Baffert’s list of Triple Crown hopefuls. Mor Spirit debuted as a sophomore with a win in the Grade 3 Bob Lewis, then finished 2nd in both the Grade 2 San Felipe and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby before a midpack finish in Nyquist’s Kentucky Derby. After the Derby, Mor Spirit was put away until the Grade 1 Malibu after Christmas (in which he finished 4th behind Mind Your Biscuits and Sharp Azteca at 7 furlongs), and he then stretched back out to be 2nd to Hoppertunity in the Grade 2 San Antonio in his first start as a 4-year-old.
At this point Baffert sent Mor Spirit out of town, and he ripped off three impressive victories in a row: the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn carrying top weight, the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star by 5, and then his signature victory in the Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont where he came home 6 lengths to the good of Sharp Azteca in 1:33.71, earning a negative 7 Thorograph figure and a 117 Beyer – which was the best Beyer of 2017 at distances up to a mile, and behind only Arrogate at any distance.
Mor Spirit retired to Spendthrift Farm this fall after running once more in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile; a 2018 campaign did not come to fruition. He was 1st or 2nd in 11 of 14 starts, for $1.6 million in earnings.
Mor Spirit is the best son of the Giant’s Causeway stallion Eskendereya (with whom he shared his head-down running style), who was arguably the best offspring of his own sire on the track. Although Eskendereya was exported to Japan after just a two of his crops had reached the races, he was widely considered trainer Todd Pletcher’s best shot to win his first Kentucky Derby following powerhouse victories in the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial, and did get several decent horses as a stallion after retiring with an initial fee of $30,000. And Eskendereya’s pedigree is such that it would be no surprise for him to prove he was given up on too soon and ended up having left a successful sire son. Mor Spirit’s female family, meanwhile, is more speed-oriented — his first two dams being precocious, stakes-winning speedsters by Dixie Union and Allen’s Prospect, respectively (and the cross of Giant’s Causeway with Dixie Union’s sire Dixieland Band has already resulted in the successful sire First Samurai). This blend of 2-year-old precocity, classic maturity and speed was demonstrated perfectly by Mor Spirit’s own racing career and is what makes him such an exciting stallion prospect.
A gorgeous, tall, strong-bodied horse with great balance and bone, Mor Spirit will be a great physical match for Innyminniemineymoe, who could use an infusion of size and stretch in her foal. The two also work well on pedigree, for although it is relatively early days yet for Speightstown as a broodmare sire, his daughters have already produced a Peruvian Group 1 winner by a son of Giant’s Causeway, plus a pair of Graded stakes winners by another Storm Cat-line stallion. And with Innyminniemineymoe’s own dam being by Hard Spun, it is worth noting that in his short career as a broodmare sire, one of his daughters has already produced a stakes winner sired by a son of Giant’s Causeway.
Innyminniemineymoe is the first foal out of her stakes-placed dam, who also has a yearling colt by Pioneerof the Nile that brought $950,000 at the Keeneland September Sale from Starlight West & SF Bloodstock, and will campaign for trainer Bob Baffert in 2019. We can only hope that he will have just as much success as the former Baffert trainee Mor Spirit, which would make this mating even more exciting for everyone involved.
Mor Spirit wins the G1 Met Mile, earning a 117 Beyer Speed Figure
Mor Spirit wins the G1 Los Alamitos Futurity
Mor Spirit wins the G3 Robert B. Lewis
Mor Spirit breezes prior to selling for $650,000 as a 2YO in-training
Mor Spirit’s sire, Eskendereya, wins the G1 Wood Memorial