Mucho Gusto belongs to the main surviving branch of American Family 29, which has been nurtured at Pin Oak Stud through the family of its foundation mare, Take a Stand. This clan was actually responsible for two of the Pegasus starters, as favored Higher Power also descends from this family (see "Mares on Monday: Higher Power Takes a Stand in the Pacific Classic," 8/29/2019). The connecting link between the two horses is Take a Stand's granddaughter Strike a Balance (by Nijinsky II), whose family continues to produce horses that, if not highly fashionable, tend to be sound, durable, and better with age.
As previously mentioned, Strike a Balance is the dam of 1995 Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys (by Mt. Livermore) and of multiple listed stakes winner Alternate (by Seattle Slew); Alternate, in turn, is the dam of Higher Power (by Medaglia d'Oro); of multiple Grade 2 winner and Pin Oak sire Alternation (by Distorted Humor); and of Grade 3-placed multiple listed stakes winner Interrupted (by Broken Vow), now a member of the Pin Oak broodmare band.
Alternate's record is good, but Strike the Balance is not putting all her eggs into one basked when it comes to broodmare daughters. For instance, Balancing Act (by Spectacular Bid), is the dam of Grade 2 winner Eleusis (by Diesis) and of stakes winner Tip the Scale (by Valiant Nature) and is the third dam of Peruvian Group 3 winner Fatima. Equilibrate (by Gone West) is the dam of Grade 3 winner Equality (by Mt. Livermore) and stakes winner Equal Opportunity (by Rahy) as well as Grade 1-placed Equitable (by A.P. Indy). Hopes and Fears, a full sister to Peaks and Valleys, is the dam of multiple Grade 3 winner Cryptograph (by Cryptoclearance). And Counterpoise (by Storm Cat) is the dam of Grade 2-placed stakes winner Tip Tap Tapizar (by Tapizar)
Countervail, Strike a Balance's 2001 filly by Seeking the Gold, failed to win in three tries and was also disappointing as a broodmare. The decline in her apparent worth is reflected in her sale prices; a US$550,000 mare at the 2006 Keeneland January mixed sale, she sold for only US$27,000 at the 2011 Keeneland November sale. Nonetheless, she has found some redemption through her 2007 daughter Itsagiantcauseway (by Giant's Causeway). A winner of three of her 23 starts, Itsagiantcauseway came up with Mucho Gusto (by Mucho Macho Man) as her third foal. She had no produce in 2017 but foaled a Jack Milton colt in 2018 and an Alpha filly in 2019 before being bred to Curlin.
While Mucho Gusto may or may not get a hoped-for invitation to the Saudi Cup after his Pegasus score, he has plenty of good opportunities ahead of him in 2020. If he continues the improvement with time that is typical of his family (as well as of his sire), racing fans should find his acquaintance a pleasure for some time to come.