05/10/2011 2:53PM

Animal Kingdom's Pedigree a Throwback


"The thing about a horse like this," Team Valor's Barry Irwin told the media after his Animal Kingdom won the 137th Kentucky Derby, "is he’s got a different kind of pedigree than Americans are used to. 
In order for him to really be worth a lot of money, he’s got to go on and do something more than just winning the Derby.  I mean the Derby’s big.  It’s the biggest race there is. But breeders are very picky, skeptical people and he doesn’t have a fashionable pedigree.  So he’s got to become a phenomenal racehorse in order to become worth a whole lot of money.
If he won the Triple Crown, then there’d be no question.  But if he wins just the Preakness, would that make him an automatic hit as a stallion?  I don’t know."

Those words ring true and it's a crying shame.  One would think that the Kentucky Derby winner would be highly valued at stud as a true representative of stamina, a quality lacking in the majority of American pedigrees.  But, we live in a day and age where most breeders want speed, speed and more speed.  Why?  Because speed sells and breeders mate for the marketplace.  Gone are the days of Paul Mellon's Rokeby Stables.  Gone are the glory days of Calumet Farms' homebreds.  Where are the Belmonts, Woodwards and Vanderbilts? 

Now, those were breeding operations, farms that had the money and patience to wean and nurture a classic prospect.  There was no rush to get them pumped up for the sales, no rush to have them race at two.  Those breeding icons wanted to win the big races.

Races like the Derby.

Isn't it a shame that Alysheba never became a "fashionable" stallion.  Or Silver Charm?  Or Real Quiet?  Or Charismatic?  Or Ferdinand?  Perhaps those Derby winners didn't stamp their get with the greatest physical qualities, but one must wonder if their stamina was a black mark against them.  They could route and their babies probably would route with time.  But, they were never given time because home-breeding operations are a dying breed, and it's difficult to sell a late-bloomer with a stamina pedigree. 

That's why it's refeshing to see Team Valor's commitment to breeding for stamina.  Of course, they needed foreign bloodlines to do it.  Leroidesanimaux, the sire of Animal Kingdom, was bred in Brazil.  His sire, Candy Stripes, is by French-bred Blushing Groom out of French-bred Bubble Company.  Dissemble, the dam of Leroidesanimaux, was bred in England.  Her sire is Ahonoora, by Lorenzaccio, by Klarion. 

With the exception of Blushing Groom, they are not exactly household names in the United States. 

Animal Kingdom's dam, Dalicia, was foaled in Germany, and is by a German sire out of an Irish mare.  Her sire, Acatenango, is by Surumu, bu Literat, by Birkhahn. 

Not exactly household names in the United States. 

Dalicia excelled at ten furlongs while Leroidesanimaux showed brilliant speed at middle distances. 

Irwin is right when he says that Animal Kingdom's Derby win only slightly improves his value at stud.  Who will breed to a long-winded stallion with no Mr. Prospector in his first five generations?  How can you sell that foal? 

Perhaps it's time for another breeding revolution, such as the one Arthur B. Hancock Sr. instigated in the 1920's.  In 1925, the master of Claiborne imported Sir Gallahad III from France in order to infuse new blood into the American thoroughbred.  According to Abram S. Hewitt's The Great Breeders and Their Methods, "The advent of Sir Gallahad III at Claiborne was perhaps the most decisive single event in its long ascent to the top as a stud farm...Sir Gallahad III went from strength to strength as a sire.  He led the sires' list four times, was in the first ten nine times more, and was in the first 20 two times more.  In addition, he was the leading broodmare sire 12 years in a row."

In 1936, Hancock imported Blenheim II from England.  In his first crop, Blenheim II sired Triple Crown winner Whirlaway.

Hancock's son, A. B. "Bull" Hancock Jr. imported Nasrullah from Europe in 1949 and that legendary stallion is still heavily involved in today's breed.  Nasrullah sired Bold Ruler, the sire of Secretariat, among many, many others.  Nasrullah is the grandsire of Blushing Groom, the grandsire of Animal Kingdom. 

American pedigrees could use a dose of new blood, perhaps imported from overseas.  Over the short term, market breeders would likely pooh-pooh the new stamina stallions.  But, given time, they may improve distance potential and provide new crosses for the overworked and overused strains of Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector. 

This isn't Team Valor's first rodeo as it pertains to international success.  They scour the globe looking for racing and breeding prospects.  They bred Pluck, last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner, from a South African mare they purchased privately.  On the same afternoon as the Derby, Team Valor's Daveron, a German-bred mare, won the Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont.  Gitano Hernando and Gypsy's Warning are other examples of foreign imports that have succeeded for the outfit on American soil. 

Team Valor gets it.  The idea is to win historical races.  Races like the Triple Crown series.  It's not to make a quick buck at the sales by working a baby with a questionable, but "fashionable" pedigree a furlong in nine seconds. 


Here are the top 25 Winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's races (5/2/11 - 5/8/11):

1.  M ONE RIFLE - 114 - Cool Frenchy Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
2.  COIL - 106 - OC 80k/N1X -N - 6 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
3.  IRREFUTABLE - 105 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - Churchill
3.  SASSY IMAGE - 105 - Humana Distaff (G1) - 7 Furlongs - Churchill
5.  REGALLY READY - 104 - Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Churchill
6.  ANIMAL KINGDOM - 103 - Kentucky Derby (G1) - 1 1/4 Miles - Churchill
7.  CROWN OF THORNS - 101 - Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
7.  GIANT RYAN - 101 - OC 75k/N3X -N - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
7.  TAR HEEL MOM - 101 - Nany Stakes - 6 Furlongs - Belmont
10. AIKENITE - 100 - Churchill Downs Stakes - 7 Furlongs - Churchill
10. STUNNING STAG - 100 - Vigil Stakes (G3-C) - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
12. STRAIGHT STORY - 98 - Fort Marcy Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Belmont
13. AWESOME PATRIOT - 97 - Alydar Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
13. BANNED - 97 - American Turf Stakes (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Churchill
13. BEAR'S CHILL - 97 - Queenston Stakes - 7 Furlongs (Polytrack) - Woodbine
13. FIRST DUDE - 97 - Alysheba Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Churchill
13. GET STORMY - 97 - Turf Classic (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Churchill
13. HEAR YE HEAR YE - 97 - Sumter Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Calder
19. AVIATE - 96 - Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) - 1 Mile (Turf) - Churchill
19. BERTRAN HILL - 96 - Clm 20000(20-18) - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
21. ACE OF ACES - 95 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 1 Mile (Turf) - Hollywood
21. EL CABALLO - 95 - OC 100k/C - 1 Mile - Churchill Downs
21. GOOD LORD - 95 - Alw 50932N2X - 7 Furlongs - Churchill Downs
21. PLUM PRETTY - 95 - Kentucky Oaks (G1) - 1 1/8 Miles - Churchill Downs
21. SNOW TOP MOUNTAIN - 95 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Churchill Downs
21. STAR PLAYER - 95 - OC 25k/N2X -N - 1 Mile - Calder

M One Rifle's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Any word on 2010 Hawthorne Gold Cup Winner REDDING COLLIERY? (I have his pedigree on milk cartons.)

He worked once in January, but hasn't visited the tab since.  I haven't heard of any specific physical ailment.


Is Alan Shuback still at the form? Seems to be MIA
gene outre

Mr. Shuback is currently writing pieces for The Thoroughbred Times.


Hi Dan,
Thanks for all the work you do! Reading your blog and the responses get me through the work week. If possilbe would you post the PPs for Lone Traveler. I was in Reno back in the 90's when he broke his maiden at first asking at Phila Park. I continued to follow him throughout his career.
Bill M

Lone Traveler's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.


Dan i've got 2 question for you
1) do you know where i can find the front cover of the drf from derby day?
2) is it true the that Dialed In ran the fastest final 1/4 in the derby?

1)  That's a good question.  I have no idea.  Perhaps if you contact customer service at cservice2@drf.com, they could help you.

2)  Here are the final quarter-mile times for each of the Derby performers (according to Formulator Web)

Dialed In - 23.79
Twice the Appeal - 24.01
Animal Kingdom - 24.09
Master of Hounds - 24.13
Mucho Macho Man - 24.58
Brilliant Speed - 24.65
Santiva - 24.75
Derby Kitten - 24.87
Nehro - 24.93
Shackleford - 25.19
Archarcharch - 25.24
Stay Thirsty - 25.29
Pants On Fire - 25.44
Soldat - 25.63
Twinspired - 25.95
Midnight Interlude - 26.21
Watch Me Go - 26.23
Decisive Moment - 26.51
Comma to the Top - 28.29


Someone beat me to the punch with a $100 win bet on my choice Animal Kingdom, so I'll play him on top in the trifecta.
Give me a $5 trifecta key: 16 Animal Kingdom/ 1 Archarcharch, 12 Santiva, 13 Mucho Macho Man, 14, Shackleford, and 19 Nehro for total of $100!

Congrats to Randy for finishing first in our Kentucky Derby HandiGambling exercise.  He chose race nine at Arlington on Friday. 


Remember that you have a mythical $100 with which to wager on the race, and the entrant with the highest money total will receive a "Monthly Enhanced 60-Card Past Performance Plan." Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified. Please post your plays and analysis to the blog. In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. One entry per person please. I reserve the right to approve or deny any entries.

I know that there is a time issue for some of you, but let's remember why we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses, and why we're betting them the way we are. I'm not asking for a novel, but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles, and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

Best of luck to al


M One Rifle.pdf58.24 KB
Lone Traveler.pdf76.03 KB
HG233.pdf140.86 KB