10/26/2005 11:00PM

Can they go long? It's all in the breeding

Email
Horsephotos
Diamond Omi is a half-sister to 1996 Juvenile Fillies winner Storm Song.

LAS VEGAS - Many handicappers think pedigree is useful only for handcapping maiden races, but it has, in fact, pointed the way to some lucrative Breeders' Cup paydays, notably in the two juvenile races, as would be expected. Pedigree handicapping has also helped to decipher how European turf horses will handle dirt.

Chilukki was 6-5 in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies off her victories at shorter distances, but was vulnerable at 1 1/16 miles. Although she ran her heart out, Chilukki was no match that day for exquisitely bred Cash Run (32-1), who had also shown flashes of brilliance earlier in the year. Surfside (5-2), the daughter of A.P. Indy and 1994 Juvenile Fillies winner Flanders, finished third and probably would have won if not for a horrific trip.

Timber Country won as the 2-1 favorite in the 1994 Juvenile, but running second in his U.S. debut was Eltish at 16-1. Eltish had raced competitively against top company in Europe on grass, which made him attractive since he was not particularly bred for turf. By Cox's Ridge, he was bred to be most effective on dirt at middle distances, and the Juvenile fit him perfectly. The Timber Country-Eltish exacta returned $132.60.

Anees (by Unbridled and 30-1 in 1999) and Action This Day (by Kris S. and 27-1 in 2003) had similar pedigree patterns. Both were bred to enjoy more distance than their contemporaries, and more importantly, both faced opponents who were precociously bred for high speed but were vulnerable at 1 1/16 miles.

The flashy 2-year-old colts who took all the money in Anees's Juvenile were favorite Forest Camp (2-1), Dixie Union (4-1), and Chief Seattle (4-1). Only the late-developing Chief Seattle made a run, but Anees flew by the entire field in late stretch.

The same scenario presented itself four years later at Santa Anita. Cuvee (Carson City) and Chapel Royal (Montbrook) sizzled in the summer and were the early favorites in a race that lost its luster after the winners of the Champagne (Birdstone), Lane's End Futurity (Eurosilver), Norfolk (Ruler's Court), and Hopeful (Silver Wagon) bypassed the race. Not only was Cuvee ill-suited to races longer than one mile, he was stuck in post 12 with a short run to the first turn.

Action This Day, who developed rapidly in the fall for Richard Mandella, was the beneficiary. His stablemate Minister Eric (Old Trieste) looked like a winner in midstretch before Action This Day roared by the weak field. Chapel Royal gamely held on for third, by a nose over Tiger Hunt, another Kris S. colt who was bred for distance.

Juvenile Fillies

It comes down to Folklore, Adieu, Original Spin, Wild Fit, and Diamond Omi. Folklore (Tiznow) and Adieu (El Corredor) are by freshman sires who got off to fast starts at stud. In addition to her exciting young sire, Folklore descends from La Troienne and the female branch that produced Smarty Jones. With Sensation and She Says It Best assuring a fast pace, the race sets up for the closers. Midwest heroine Original Spin is by Distorted Humor, who seems to be getting top-class runners in every crop , including Funny Cide and Flower Alley.

Longshot special? Diamond Omi, who would not let Wild Fit go by her in the Oak Leaf Stakes. By Giant's Causeway, Diamond Omi is a half-sister to 1996 Juvenile Fillies winner and 2-year-old champion Storm Song and has a ton of upside.

Pedigree picks: Folklore, Diamond Omi, Adieu, Originial Spin

Juvenile

This year's renewal is a doozy, with four legitimate colts (First Samurai, Sorcerer's Stone, Stevie Wonderboy, Private Vow), a talented sprinter who will try to wire the field (Henny Hughes), a lightly raced colt who is bred to be a star (Dr. Pleasure), a colt who is a stakes winner on dirt and turf (Stream Cat), a full brother to Belmont Stakes runner-up Andromeda's Hero who actually has speed (Superfly), and a colt related to two Breeders' Cup winners (Ivan Denisovich).

Undefeated in four starts, First Samurai is the first runner by Giant's Causeway to show top-class form on dirt. Although he is unquestionably the one to beat, he has more to worry about than just Henny Hughes this time. Sorcerer's Stone is also undefeated and has the running style and pedigree to go far. By Gulch, Sorcerer's Stone is a three-quarter brother to stakes-placed Holiday Thunder and is out of a full sister to Dramatic Gold. Stevie Wonderboy raced well against the lightning-quick What a Song earlier in the year, even though he is not bred to be precocious at 2. By Stephen Got Even, Stevie Wonderboy will get a sizzling pace to chase and should love the distance. Private Vow is from the first crop of stakes winner Broken Vow (Unbridled), and his only loss was a fast-closing second to Sorcerer's Stone in their 4 1/2-furlong maiden debuts last July.

Ivan Denisovich has a pedigree to drool over, but keep in mind that runners by the late international superstar sire Danehill are questionable on dirt. A half-brother to 2000 Mile winner War Chant and out of 1993 Distaff winner Hollywood Wildcat, Ivan Denisovich would be a smarter play in the Mile next year at 3.

My longshot special who may have the most potential is Dr. Pleasure, who won his maiden debut in eye-opening fashion and then finished a rallying second in the Cowdin to a runaway sprinter. By Thunder Gulch, Dr. Pleasure is out of 1999 Distaff winner and champion Beautiful Pleasure, and the sky is the limit.

Pedigree picks: Sorcerer's Stone, First Samurai, Stevie Wonderboy, Private Vow.

Longshot play: Dr. Pleasure