Outwork was the first winner for his sire, champion Uncle Mo
– a fitting distinction on two counts. He is a homebred for Mike Repole, who
also campaigned Uncle Mo as well as Outwork’s dam, Nonna Mia. And besides, Outwork
has always liked being in charge.
Like 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) rival Gun Runner, Outwork was born and first raised at WinStar Farm. The Versailles, Kentucky, nursery is well represented in Derby 142, for WinStar itself owns Creator.
WinStar’s Brittney Skoien remembered Outwork (pictured in the background with his head up, looking over American Patriot) well.
“He always had a big personality,” Skoien said. “He was the baby that tried to get everyone else into trouble.
“He was always trying to get all the other foals to play and sometimes he even tried to pick on the mares which usually ended with him getting put in his place.
“He always wanted to be the center of attention. You could not go into the field and do anything without having him following right behind you.”
After weaning, Outwork was sent to Jimmy Crupi’s New Castle Farm near Ocala, Florida. His arrival was especially meaningful, considering Crupi’s involvement with both of the colt’s parents.
“I bought Uncle Mo for Mr. Repole, and he [Outwork] looks just like his daddy,” Crupi said.
In fact, if it hadn’t been for Crupi, Repole would have missed out on Uncle Mo at that 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He didn’t want to buy another son of Indian Charlie, having spent $200,000 on a totally disappointing one a year before. But Crupi prevailed upon him to go as high as $220,000 – and that turned out to be the winning bid. Thus Repole purchased a future champion and now a record-setting freshman sire with no fewer than three runners (including Nyquist and Mo Tom) in Derby 142.
In 2008, Crupi had also been instrumental in Repole’s purchase of a well-bred daughter of Empire Maker for $200,000 at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga. Repole named her after his grandmother, “Nonna Mia,” and she would go on to place in the Frizette (G1).
Repole reportedly named Uncle Mo, not for a person, but for “momentum.” He certainly lived up to that name early in his racing career, and he’s gathering even bigger “mo” at stud.
Outwork received his name for an obvious reason.
“Out in the field, he was good. He was like the leader of the pack,” New Castle’s Johnny Sacco said. “All the help in the barn loved him.
“Once we started breezing him, he started outworking everybody.”
“He did outwork everybody here,” Crupi said, adding that he had about 200 horses on premises.
Fostering high hopes, Outwork joined trainer Todd Pletcher at Palm Beach Downs and continued to gear up for his debut. The word was out when Outwork lined up at Keeneland on April 23, 2015. Bet down to 3-5 favoritism, he dismissed the well regarded Finnegan (a half-brother to 2012 Derby runner-up Bodemeister) by 2 1/4 lengths and got Uncle Mo off to a flying start as a sire.
“He showed natural talent,” Sacco summed up. “He’s the horse he is now, and thank God he is.”
Photo by Sally Farnsworth, shared by WinStar Farm via Facebook and Twitter.