The Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday in Louisville. When a thoroughbred named Uncle Mo withdrew from the derby in 2011, his future was uncertain.
But five years later, the lightning-fast colt is father to three of the starting horses for this year's 20-horse race, reports CBS New correspondent David Begnaud.
"Mo debatably was the greatest 2-year-old of all time. I mean undefeated, three-for-three by 25 lengths," owner Mike Repole said.
Repole and his whole, huge Italian family was along for the wild ride. The self-made billionaire, who founded Vitamin Water, never forgot his blue-collar roots, nor his hard-working immigrant parents. He introduced us to them at the Wood Memorial in 2011.
"What does it mean for a kid who walked around in Queens and snuck into the racetrack probably before he could pay to get in?" Begnaud asked Repole.
"You talk about the American dream -- my dad was a waiter, my mom was a seamstress, we lived with my grandmother. My brother was a NYC cop," Repole said. "I mean, this was just the dream."
But the Derby dream fizzled when Uncle Mo faded badly in that year's Wood Memorial. He was diagnosed with a rare and potentially life-threatening liver disease. Mo eventually returned to racing, but he was retired less than a year later.
Repole was heartbroken.
"I get the sense that you don't like to be mediocre," Begnaud said.
"Second is the first loser to me. I like winning," Repole said.
And apparently so does Mo. He may not have been a Derby champion, but he could become one of the all-time great stud horses. Repole visited his old buddy this week at the bucolic Coolmore Farm outside Lexington, Kentucky. Mo mates with three mares a day -- at $75,000 a pop.
"He likes his job! He likes his job," Repole said.
He may be worth it. Of his very first crop of foals, three will run in this year's Kentucky Derby, including the overall favorite Nyquist, and Outwork, which is owned by Repole. On Thursday, he introduced Outwork to his 10-month-old daughter, Gaia.
"How much of this is also a family affair?" Begnaud asked.
"Oh, it's all a family affair," Repole said. "I mean, my 89-year-old grandmother to my 10-month-old daughter and my friends and my family -- I mean, it doesn't get any more special than this. We all want to win, but this is -- you got 20 horses that make the Derby every year out of 30,000. Just to be here is a win in itself."
Uncle Mo is not the only horse with three babies in the race. A sire named Tapit also has his own trio of sons in the Derby. All in all, this race is absolutely a family affair.
American Pharoah, last year's Triple Crown winner, is enjoying a very active retirement. He is now one of the world's most sought-after stallions. American Pharoah reportedly brings in up to $600,000 a day. Over the breeding season, he is expected to make about $30 million for his owners.