First Cloned Polo Pony is Born

The cloned foal of 10-goaler Mariano Aguerre's famed gelding, Califa, was born April 22, making him the first cloned polo pony in the world. The bay colt is an intact stallion genetically identical to Califa.

Aguerre has not settled on a name for the colt yet, but already has big plans for him. The colt will be able pass along Califa's genetics as a stallion, an opportunity that otherwise would have never existed without cloning technology.

"I was actually surprised how much he looks like Califa," Aguerre said. "I couldn't believe it. The position of his neck, hind-end, and even expression in his face is so much like the original. I never saw Califa at that age, but he already looks like him."

In terms of breeding, Califa is not only a tremendous success on the field as an individual athlete; his pedigree is considered polo pony royalty.

"The chance to have him back as a stallion is incredible," Aguerre said. "His mother, Luna, was one of the greatest broodmares of all time. The whole family line is very strong."

Califa has become world-renowned for his talents and earned some of the industry's most prestigious titles, including United States Polo Association Horse of the Year in 2005. Most recently he landed a spot on the American Polo Horse Association's Legendary Ponies list and was named the 2009 APHA Horse of the Year. He returned to Argentina last year to join Aguerre's string for the Argentine Open.

Aguerre plans to take the colt to Argentina as a yearling and stand him at his Los Machitos operation when he reaches breeding age.

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