06/04/2015 4:10PM

Belmont Stakes: Pedigree profiles

Barbara D. Livingston
Balance in his pedigree has been key for Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah, with a classic sireline weighing against a female family slanted toward speed.

by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

A closer look at the pedigrees of the entrants for the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, to be contested Saturday in New York.

1. Mubtaahij
(Dubawi—Pennegale, by Pennekamp)

Dubawi has become a powerhouse in Europe and Australia, with 63 graded or group stakes winners from nine crops. Because of his location in turf-heavy locales, Dubawi’s resume lacks a significant North American dirt runner, but he has seen main-track success with Dubai World Cup winners Prince Bishop and Monterosso. Dubawi was a group stakes winner in three countries, highlighted by the 2005 Irish Two Thousand Guineas. Mubtaahij is out of the placed Pennekamp mare Pennegale, who never raced at a distance shorter than 1 ¼ miles in nine career starts in France. Pennegale is the dam of six winners from as many foals to race, highlighted by Lily of the Valley, Europe’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2010.

2. Tale of Verve
(Tale of Ekati—Verve, by Unbridled)

Tale of Verve is from the first crop of sire Tale of Ekati, whose top runners also include Grade 2 winner Ekati’s Phaeton and Grade 3-placed Forest Blue. The sire earned a classic placing with his first runner in a Triple Crown race when Tale of Verve ran second in this year’s Preakness Stakes. Tale of Ekati won in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at a mile and an eighth, and the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap. Verve, a placed daughter of Unbridled, never raced at a distance shorter than a mile and 70 yards in 11 starts.. She is the dam of five winners from as many runners, including Pie Town, who won at 2 ½ miles over jumps and 1 1/16 miles over the flat.

3. Madefromlucky
(Lookin at Lucky—Home From Oz, by Pulpit)

Lookin at Lucky’s first foals are 3-year-olds of 2015, giving him a Belmont Stakes entrant in his debut crop. His most successful progeny from that first class includes Sunland Park Oaks winner Maybellene, Grade 3 winner Lucky Player, and Santa Anita Derby runner-up One Lucky Dane. Lookin at Lucky, an Eclipse Award winner at two and three, raced all but three of his 13 starts at a mile or longer. Home From Oz is an unraced full sister to Tapit, North America’s leading commercial stallion and the sire of 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist. She has had three winners from four foals to race, including Japanese stakes-placed A Shin Gold, who never raced at a distance shorter than 1 1/8 miles and won four of eight starts.

4. Frammento
(Midshipman – Ginger Bay, by Golden Missile)

Frammento is from the first crop of champion Midshipman, whose career was highlighted by his score in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The son of Unbridled’s Song has sired three stakes winners to date. Midshipman is also from the female family of one of this year’s Kentucky Derby contenders, Wood Memorial winner Frosted. Ginger Bay had a maximum winning distance of six furlongs.

5. American Pharoah
(Pioneerof the Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman)

Pioneerof the Nile, also a Zayat Stables homebred trained by Bob Baffert, scored all his victories at 1 1/16 miles or beyond, including the Santa Anita Derby; he finished second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The sire’s representatives have included Cairo Prince and Vinceremos, both graded stakes winners on the 2014 Triple Crown trail; and Social Inclusion, third in last year’s Preakness Stakes. Pioneerof the Nile is by 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, one of three American classic winners sired by Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled. The latter stallion’s classic ability has been ably passed on through his sons and grandsons. His Kentucky Derby winner, Grindstone, sired Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, who in turn sired Derby winner Mine That Bird and Belmont winner Summer Bird. Dam Littleprincessemma is a half-sister to graded stakes-winning sprinters Storm Wolf and Misty Rosette. Thus, balance has been key for champion American Pharoah, with classic influences on the top side of his pedigree and speed influences in his female family. Both his stamina and his tactical abilities will be called into service in his bid for the Triple Crown.

6. Frosted
(Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister)

Tapit, a son of Pulpit, is looking to land a second consecutive Belmont Stakes after siring 2014 winner Tonalist. Reigning leading sire Tapit established a single-season record for progeny earnings last year, fueled by Tonalist, who also captured the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Eclipse Award winner Untapable, who won the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Tapit himself a Grade 1 winner, sports a classic pedigree; an A.P. Indy-line stallion out of an Unbridled mare, he is from the family of Belmont Stakes winner and champion Summer Bird, as well as champion sprinter Rubiano. The versatile Fast Cookie, who is from the family of champion Midshipman, won on turf and dirt and at sprint and route distances, highlighted by a win in the Grade 2 Cotillion Handicap. The notable winners as a broodmare sire for Deputy Minister include classic winners and champions Curlin and Rags to Riches. Frosted is well-equipped with classic influences on both sides of the family.

7. Keen Ice
(Curlin – Medomak, by Awesome Again)

Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin is injecting stamina into his offspring, as the Smart Strike horse’s top runners have excelled at a mile or longer. Curlin has had a representative on the Triple Crown trail from each of his first two crops, as Palace Malice won the 2013 Belmont Stakes and Ride On Curlin finished second in the 2014 Preakness Stakes. Keen Ice is from his third crop. Medomak comes comes from a productive family, with relatives including champion Queena, Grade 1 winners Verrazano and Chic Shirine, and graded stakes winners Coal Play, Tara Roma, and El Padrino. Keen Ice has demonstrated classic ability on both sides of his pedigree and may relish the added ground of the Belmont. 

8. Materiality
(Afleet Alex—Wildwood Flower, by Langfuhr)

Afleet Alex was a length away from winning the Triple Crown in 2005, finishing third to Giacomo in the Kentucky Derby, then winning the Preakness by 4 ¾ lengths and the Belmont by seven lengths in his final start. His distance credentials at stud are apparent in Travers Stakes winner Afleet Express and Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Afleet Again, and are further bolstered by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red and Grade 1 winner Iotapa. Wildwood Flower, a Grade 2-placed stakes-winning Langfuhr mare is the dam of five winners from as many runners, also including My Miss Sophia, a Grade 2 winner who finished second in last year’s Kentucky Oaks.