By Eric Mitchell

Tom and Gayle Benson’s grade 3 winner Mo Tom has been retired from racing and will enter stud this year at Jay Adcock’s Red River Farm near Coushatta, La. A stud fee has not been determined.

The 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo—Caroni, by Rubiano, was among the first yearlings the Bensons purchased for their GMB Racing operation in 2014, and one of two that found their way to the 2016 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) starting gate. The other runner was Tom’s Ready, who is also entering stud this year at Spendthrift Farm.

“Mo Tom has had a nice racing career. Even though he suffered through some tough trips and a few injuries, he was still able to make nearly $700,000 in earnings,” said Greg Bensel, who manages GMB Racing for the Bensons. “We tried to do a few things with him late in his racing career—like bringing him back quickly in the Clark Handicap (G1) and then trying him on the grass. We just did not want to give up on him; he is such a great-looking, sound horse and was working great in the mornings. None of those late experiments should take away from the career he had as a racehorse.”

A half brother to grade 1-placed stakes winner Beautician and listed stakes winner Bella Castani, Mo Tom won or placed 10 times out of 19 starts. He won twice and placed twice out of four starts at 2, which included winning the Street Sense Stakes and a third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). He earned his stripes in a graded stakes in his first start at 3 when he won the Lecomte Stakes (G3). The colt went on to place in the Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes (G2), finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby, and win the Ohio Derby.

“With our farm in Paris, Ky., and our sports teams in New Orleans we keep a very busy schedule, but when time allows we love going to the track to see our horses run. Our racing operation has had great success on the track and we could not be more proud of our team and our trainers Tom Amoss, Dallas Stewart, and Al Stall,” said Gayle Benson, whose husband owns New Orleans’ NFL Saints and NBA Pelican sports teams. “We are building our farm operation (Benson Farm at Greenwood Lodge) in Kentucky where we have a very nice broodmare band. We are loving the horse business.”

The Bensons sent Mo Tom to Red River Farm because they valued Adcock’s reputation as a successful breeder, and because they want to support the Louisiana- bred program.

“We are very excited to get this horse,” Adcock said. “He was a serious horse at 3 and a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. He is a good-looking, accomplished horse with plenty of family. He’ll get every chance to be successful.”

“Having a nice son of Uncle Mo here should bring some attention to the attractive breeding programs we have here in Louisiana,” Bensel added.

The Bensons are retaining 20% ownership of Mo Tom.

Star Guitar’s Fee Raised to $7,500

star guitar 9-14

Multiple Louisiana champion has 11 juvenile winners and three stakes winners in 2017.

A strong crop of 2-year-olds in 2017 prompted Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable to raise the stud fee for homebred Star Guitar  to $7,500 for the 2018 breeding season.

The four-time Louisiana Horse of the Year and winner of 22 black-type stakes out of 30 starts has been represented this year by 11 juvenile winners from 21 starters. His top 2-year-olds include stakes winners Testing One Two, a daughter out of Yes Sir (Scat Daddy) who won the Louisiana Jewel Stakes, and Aceguitar, a colt out of Cherub Heart (Dehere) who won the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes and finished second in the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity. Star Guitar also sired Givemeaminit, out of Powerful Nation (Turkoman), who finished third in the grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

“Star Guitar is certainly passing on his will to win that he demonstrated with his race record of 24 wins from 30 starts,” said Benoit, who has stood Star Guitar at Clear Creek Stud near Folsom, La., since he entered stud in 2013 at $4,000.

From two crops of racing age, Star Guitar sired 28 winners that have earned more than $1.3 million. He has a third black-type winner in Bermuda Star, who won or placed six times in eight starts as a 3-year-old. One of her wins includes the Equine Sales Oaks at Evangeline Downs. The filly out of Bermuda Bride (Runaway Groom) also placed in the Elge Rasberry Stakes and the Louisiana Legends Soiree Stakes.

Star Guitar is a 12-year-old son of Quiet American—Minit Towinit, by Malagra, and a half brother to black-type winners Favorite Minit and Grand Minit, who were all bred and initially raced by Brittlyn Stable.