By Sarah Mace
New York-bred sophomore Conquest Mo Money (Uncle Mo) drove his record to a perfect three-for-three Sunday evening when he won the 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park, his home base. Winning owner Tom McKenna of Judge Lanier Racing has circled the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby on March 26 as the next start for his talented colt.
Conquest Mo Money, reunited with regular rider Jorge Carreno and sent off as the second betting choice at odds of 6-5 in the Mine That Bird, was up with the vanguard of the eight-horse field after the break. Longshot Conquest Crown Me assumed the lead and rail position as the field rounded the clubhouse turn and Conquest Mo Money pressed the pace at his flank.
After dogging Conquest Crown Me through early splits of 22.78 and 46.33, Conquest Mo Money took over with a half-mile to go, and cut the corner neatly into upper stretch.
Odds-on favorite Irap, who saved ground through the first turn and enjoyed a comfortable trip along the backstretch, launched a bid in upper stretch, but Conquest Mo Money turned back his rival under a vigorous ride. The bay colt edged clear and scored his third straight victory by two lengths. After clocking six furlongs in 1:11.33, he stopped the clock at 1:43.42 after 1 1/16 miles. Oh So Regal, also campaigned by Judge Lanier, finished another two lengths back in third.
Owner Tom McKenna said, “Yes, I like what a saw today. [Jockey] Jorge [Carreno] rode him perfectly. He put him in the right spot at the right time. We prevailed. We have a good horse and he stayed with it.”
McKenna also said, “The Sunland Derby is next.” The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby Champion Series race is scheduled for March 26 and awards 50, 20, 10, and 5 points toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby to the first- through fourth-place finishers, respectively.
Conquest Mo Money won his first two career starts for trainer Miguel Hernandez at a mile before stretching out an extra half-panel in the Mine That Bird. The determined colt took his unveiling January 6 by a neck, then romped by eleven lengths in the Riley Allison Stakes three weeks later. He has earned $132,900.
Bred by Twin Creeks Farm, Conquest Mo Money is one of five winners out of Stirring, an unraced Kentucky-bred mare by Seeking the Gold purchased in foal by Twin Creeks at the 2013 Keeneland November sale for $80,000. Stirring is a half-sister to Canadian champion older mare Serenading (A.P. Indy) and out of Daijin, a full sister to Touch Gold and a half sister to With Approval. Canadian Horse of the Year. She has a juvenile filly by Mission Impazible and was bred back to the same stallion in 2016.
In the sales, Conquest Mo Money went first to Conquest Stables at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale for $180,000. Judge Lanier Racing picked him up for the bargain price of $8,500 as part of the complete dispersal of Conquest Stables at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.