A Tribute to Hot ‘N’ Moss: by Lenny Russo

Lenny Russo of Bluegrass Bloodstock

There are times in life where something or someone teaches you valuable life lessons.

For me, Hot ‘N’ Moss the race mare and then emerging broodmare did just that.

Starting Bluegrass Bloodstock back in 2010 coincided with Hot ‘N’ Moss’ first race win at Canberra races, a lowly 1280m maiden on the Acton track.

Back tracking a little, I purchased Hot ‘N’ Moss as a yearling off my very good friend Wayne Larsen of Te Runga Farm in New Zealand.

Wayne sent me some pictures and a pedigree, and she was by his stallion Strategic Image whom I inspected for Wayne prior to his purchase from Victoria.

He was a bread and butter stallion but did leave a Group One winner in Altered Image.

There was some familiarity with the pedigree, and then Wayne’s belief in the female family, a great tough New Zealand family where Group One winners Moss Downs and Sphenophyta featured prominently.

She looked a nice filly in the photos and I had great faith in where she was raised so I put together a group of owners consisting of family and friends and we purchased her for NZ$20,000.

This was the beginning and in this bloodstock game some valuable lessons have been learned and to have continued success you must establish key industry relationships, trust, and an ability to follow a process which works for you and never waiver from it even when horses fail.

These relationships, trust and process cannot be more prominent than my business dealings with Wayne Larsen of Te Runga Farm and it all came to fruition through the achievements of Hot ‘N’ Moss, our favourite mare who passed away on Tuesday.

From humble beginnings, Hot ‘N’ Moss went onto win that Canberra maiden for top local trainer Matt Dale. This win allowed me to start up my business Bluegrass Bloodstock. With a nice wager on maxidiv paying $32 with a corporate bookmaker, I was able to get Bluegrass Bloodstock off the ground with the winnings.

Hot ‘N’ Moss’ career was short lived due to a few ailments but she had shown enough ability plus an impressive turn of foot that I believed she had the makings of a nice broodmare.

Putting together a plan with one of her fellow owners, Steve Salib, we approached Wayne Larsen to see if we could breed back to Castledale, Wayne’s new stallion, a dual Group One winner by Peintre Celebre. Wayne offered us a great deal where we could have an opportunity to breed two foals by Castledale.

Hot ‘N’ Moss with her filly by Almanzor (at 2 days’ old) Photo: Supplied

Sticking to the processes, and trusting the relationship, Hot ‘N’ Moss bred a WFA Group winner in Moss ‘N’ Dale, her first foal, who won over A$1 million in prizemoney.

Her second foal Moss ‘N’ Bolt has won a further three races and been metropolitan placed in Melbourne.

Between her first two foals they have won 17 races, who would of thought!

Hot ‘N’ Moss has produced another two colts by Castledale, one of them is in training now with Peter Gelagotis at Moe, the other a yearling who is still growing out at Te Runga Farm.

Wayne comments on the latest yearling ‘he is the closest resemblance to Castledale he has bred’.

Her final act is a beautiful five-week-old filly foal (pictured just a few days old with Hot ‘N’ Moss), by the highly credentialed Cambridge Stud stallion Almanzor.

Hot ‘N’ Moss sadly lost a battle with colic during the week. She was a mare I loved. I’ll miss her quirkiness from when I worked with her and I now see it now through her sons Moss ‘N’ Dale and Moss ‘N’ Bolt.

She is the first mare I have personally bred. The fundamentals are so important in this game for me as I have highlighted above, and she taught me plenty.

Wayne has taken her back to Te Runga Farm to be buried. Thanks for the memories Katie, rest in peace and I will be back to visit next time I’m in New Zealand.

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