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Kentucky Derby contenders: Pedigree profiles
A full field of 20, headed by favored Orb and unbeaten Verrazano, will contest the Grade 1, $2 million Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Below is a closer look at the individual pedigrees and backgrounds of this year's entrants, in post position order.
The sales history of Spiral winner Black Onyx is one of the more unique and appealing of this year’s Kentucky Derby contenders, as owner Sam Herzberg (Sterling Racing) bought the striking dark bay or brown Rock Hard Ten colt for $125,000 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale—his first purchase at auction. Black Onyx was consigned at the sale by his breeder, John Sykes’ Cloverleaf Farms II.
Rock Hard Ten, runner-up in the 2004 Preakness, earned over $1.8 million over two seasons of racing. He initially stood at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., before being sold to the Korean Racing Authority last fall. In addition to Black Onyx, his top runners include Grade 1 winner Nereid and Grade 2 winners Doubles Partner and Capital Plan.
Black Onyx is out of the winning Cape Town mare Kalahari Cat. He is a half-brother to stakes winner Francois and Grade 2-placed Quality Council. Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Desert Stormer and Group 1 winner White Moonstone are notable family members.
Oxbow, who will attempt to carry Calumet Farm's name back into Kentucky Derby prominence, is bred on the same cross that has produced several high-level runners in recent history.
The son of Adena Springs stallion Awesome Again is out of the unraced Cee's Tizzy mare Tizamazing, making him a full brother to stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Awesome Patriot.
Tizamazing is a full sister to 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow, the only two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic. Other full siblings include Grade 2 winners Budroyale, runner-up in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic; Grade 2 winner Tizdubai; and stakes winner Tizbud.
Tizamazing is also a full sister to productive broodmare Tizso, dam of 2012 Haskell Invitational winner and Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter; Grade 3 winner Tiz West; and stakes winner Tizakitty.
Bred by Colts Neck Stables, Oxbow was a $250,000 purchase by Brad Kelley, who races under the famed Calumet Farm banner after assuming control of the historic property last year, at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
Revolutionary, dk. b or br., c., War Pass - Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy
Breeder: W.S. Farish (Ky.)
Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary is the latest product of a deep family that has produced several Grade 1 winners, stakes producing mares, and top sires.
The colt is the first stakes winner out of 1997 Alabama Stakes heroine Runup the Colors, a daughter of A.P. Indy who had already produced Grade 2-placed winners Tafaseel and Ice Road.
Runup the Colors is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Prospectors Delite, the dam of 2003 Horse of the Year and sire Mineshaft and Tomisue's Delight, a Grade 1 winner and producer. She is also a half-sister to Italian Group 1 winner Flagbird, dam of three stakes horses and several other stakes producers; her daughters include stakes-placed Dubai Belle, dam of Grade 1 winner Little Belle.
Runup the Colors is also a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Top Account; stakes winners Allied Flag and Fold the Flag; and stakes winner and producer Long View.
Revolutionary is from the first of just two crops by 2007 champion juvenile War Pass, who died suddenly in December 2010, a day after returning from shuttle duty. The Cherokee Run horse, who stood at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky., before his death, won five of seven career starts, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Champagne Stakes. War Pass is also represented in the Derby by Blue Grass Stakes winner Java's War.
WinStar Farm, seeking its second Kentucky Derby win, purchased Revolutionary for $235,000 out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Golden Soul, one of the final horses to make the Kentucky Derby field based on the qualifying points system, gives owner-breeder Charles Fipke a second homebred in the race, joining Java's War.
The colt is a son of Perfect Soul, a homebred who Fipke campaigned to a Sovereign Award as Canada's champion grass male. He now stands at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Ky.
Golden Soul's dam Hollywood Gold—by Mr. Prospector and out of the Group 1 winner Lady in Silver—is the dam of six winners from eight to start. Those include Grade 2 winner Quinton's Gold Rush, a 2004 Kentucky Derby starter.
Wood Memorial runner-up Normandy Invasion will look to give popular young commercial sire Tapit a breakout first classic victory, and perhaps a prominent son to carry his banner.
Among the top four general sires in North America in each of the last two years, Tapit is the sire of 2011 champion 2-year-old male Hansen and 2012 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar. However, he is becoming best known as an outstanding young sire of fillies. In addition to 2-year-old champion Stardom Bound, he is the sire of Grade 1 winners Careless Jewel, Tapitsfly, Laragh, Zazu, and Dance Card.
Normandy Invasion, who was purchased by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm for $230,000 out of the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training, is out of the Boston Harbor mare Boston Lady, a half-sister to Group 1-placed Cordoba and stakes producers Stormy Gal and Margarita Miss.
Louisiana Derby runner-up Mylute was purchased by T. Paul Buhlman’s GoldMark Farm for $150,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale. The prominent Ocala, Fl.-based training and rehabilitation center, managed by Todd Quast, has produced horses such as Shackleford, Dullahan, and Pluck, among others, in recent years.
Texas-based Mike Rutherford bred Mylute. The Midnight Lute colt is out of the stakes-winning Valid Expectations mare Stage Stop and is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner She Digs Me. Other family members include stakes winners Winning Move, Valid Move, Addy’s Appeal, and Smoke Mountain.
Midnight Lute, champion sprinter in 2007 and winner of back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Sprints in ’07 and ’08, is one of 2013’s top second-crop sires. He is represented by Kentucky Oaks starter Midnight Lucky, Grade 2 winner Shakin It Up, Grade 3 winner Govenor Charlie, and stakes winner Midnight Ballet in addition to Mylute. Midnight Lute stands at John G. Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Lexington, Ky., for $15,000.
Graded stakes-placed Giant Finish, the final horse into the Kentucky Derby field based on points, is a son of Frost Giant, one of several first-crop sires represented in the field.
Frost Giant, a Grade 1-winning son of Giant's Causeway who stands at Keane Stud in New York, had a breakout season last year, leading the state in juvenile earnings, freshman earnings, and juvenile average earnings per runner. He set a record for earnings by a freshman sire in the state.
Out of the Hickman Creek mare Apocalyptic, Giant Finish is a half-brother to stakes producer Apocalyptical. It is the family of Grade 2 winner and sire Screen King and Grade 2 winner Crafty C. T.
Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents is one of two Kentucky Derby entrants by second-crop sire Into Mischief, who stands at B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky., for $20,000. Into Mischief made a late move up the North American freshman sire rankings last fall when Into Mischief and New York-based Vyjack both emerged as stakes winners. The 8-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday won the 1 1/16-mile CashCall Futurity as a juvenile but only raced three times at 3 before retiring. He is also represented by Sittin At the Bar, a three-time stakes-winning filly, from his first crop.
Goldencents was bred by Charles and Lyra Miller’s Rosecrest Farm in Paris, Ky., and Karen Pirrello. The Millers became involved with the Thoroughbred industry during the 1980s and began operating Rosecrest in 2005. Goldencents is out of the winning Banker’s Gold mare Golden Works, and his female family tree through two generations is comprised largely of Assiniboia Downs-based stakes winners.
With a modest pedigree and by an unproven sire, it was not surprising when Goldencents sold for a mere $5,500 to Webb Carroll, as agent, at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale. Carroll broke the colt at his St. Matthews, S.C., training center and sold him the following summer for $62,000 to Dennis O’Neill, brother of 2012 Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill. Less than a year later, Goldencents enters the Kentucky Derby having earned $1.25 million and as the morning-line third betting choice.
Overanalyze, b., c., Dixie Union - Unacloud, by Unaccounted For
Breeder: Diamond A. Racing Corp (Ky.)
Overanalyze is from the penultimate crop of Grade 1 winner Dixie Union, who stood at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., until his death in July 2010. Last year, the sire was represented on the Triple Crown trail by Union Rags, who won the Belmont Stakes in his final career start.
Overanalyze is one of six winners from eight starters out of the unraced Unaccounted For mare Unacloud, whose other runners include Grade 1 winner Meadow Breeze.
The mare sold as a weanling for $14,000 at the 1997 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, then fetched $17,500 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. She was offered as a broodmare prospect at the 2001 Keeneland November sale but was bought back with a final bid of $17,000. After Meadow Breeze became a Grade 1 winner, Unacloud once again went through the ring at the 2006 Keeneland November sale, this time selling to Diamond A Farm for $400,000.
Overanalyze has been Unacloud’s biggest auction success, selling to owner Mike Repole for $380,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September sale.
Palace Malice, who earned his way into the Kentucky Derby with a runner-up effort in the Blue Grass Stakes, is from the first crop of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, one of several first-crop sires with horses in the field.
Curlin, the all-time leading money winner in North America, captured eight Grade 1 events during his racing career, including the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic and Preakness Stakes and 2008 Dubai World Cup. He entered stud in 2009 at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky.
Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable purchased Palace Malice for $200,000 out of the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Palace Malice is out of the stakes-winning Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor, a half-sister to two other stakes winners. It is the family of Rail Trip, who established a track record in winning the Hollywood Gold Cup.
Although he has spent the bulk of his career racing overseas, U.A.E. Derby winner Lines of Battle's roots are firmly planted in Kentucky.
The colt, bred by Joseph Allen and a private purchase by the Coolmore team, is a product of Claiborne Farm bloodlines. He is a son of the farm's popular young commercial sire War Front, and is out of stakes winner Black Speck, whose sire Arch also stands at the Paris, Ky., farm.
Black Speck is the dam of five winners from as many starters, including Group 2 winner Homebound, stakes winner Blue Exit, and Group 1-placed Battle Paint.
The mare is a half-sister to the late elite sire Dynaformer. She is also a half-sister to stakes winner White Bridle; stakes-placed Triple Elvis; Alvear, dam of Grade 1 winner Offlee Wild and Grade 2 winner Sangrita; and My Annette, dam of stakes winner and sire U S Ranger.
It is the family of Grade 2 winner and sire Darby Creek Road and Kentucky Derby winner and sire Monarchos.
Arch, a son of late Claiborne sire Pulpit, has developed into a successful young broodmare sire. The stallion's daughters have produced dual classic winner and champion I'll Have Another; champion juvenile Uncle Mo; multiple Grade 1 winner Contested; and Canadian Horse of the Year Uncaptured.
Itsmyluckyday, dk. b. or br., c., Lawyer Ron—Viva La Slew, by Doneraile Court
Breeders: Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm (Ky.)
Holy Bull winner Itsmyluckyday is a product of the successful breeding partnership comprising Jim and Pam Robinson’s Brandywine Farm and Rob Whiteley’s Liberation Farm. The Robinsons and Whiteley divide up responsibilities with their jointly-owned broodmare band, with Whiteley concentrating largely on breeding and the Robinsons on selling the offspring. Liberation and Brandywine sold Itsmyluckyday at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale to Nick Hines, as agent, for $47,000, and Florida-based trainer Eddie Plesa, as agent, bought the colt for $110,000 the following March at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. select 2-year-olds in training auction.
Lawyer Ron, champion older male of 2007, was euthanized after colic surgery in 2009. His two crops from his brief sire career at Stonewall Farm Stallions in Versailles, Ky., has yielded seven other stakes winners to date besides Itsmyluckyday, including Grade 1 winner Drill and Grade 3 winner Stealcase.
Itsmyluckyday is out of the stakes-placed Doneraile Court Viva La Slew mare and is from the family of Florida Derby winner and sire Vicar and French 2,000 Guineas winner and sire Astronomer Royal, among several other stakes winners.
Sam F. Davis winner Falling Sky was bought by his current owners, Newtown Anner Stud (Maurice and Samantha Regan), James Covello, and Joseph Bulger, for $425,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. January mixed sale through agent Justin Casse. Off the Hook, as agent, consigned Falling Sky at OBS and initially purchased the Lion Heart colt as agent for Calixto Armas for $16,000 as a weanling at the 2010 Keeneland November mixed sale.
Lion Heart, runner-up to Smarty Jones in the 2004 Derby and a multiple Grade 1 winner, was sold by Coolmore Stud to the Jockey Club of Turkey early in 2010. The 12-year-old Tale of the Cat horse is also the sire of Uncaptured, a two-time graded stakes winner at Churchill as a juvenile last fall who won the Sovereign Award as Canada's Horse of the Year and was strongly considered for the Kentucky Derby until early April. His other top progeny include Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Dangerous Midge, Arkansas Derby winner Line of David, and Super Derby winner Bourbon Courage.
Falling Sky, bred in Pennsylvania by Copper Penny Stables, is out of the stakes-placed Sea Hero mare Sea Dragoness and is from the family of stakes winners All Giving, War Native, Song of Jove, Silent Roberto, and Sea Pleasure.
Verrazano's appearance in the Kentucky Derby will be something of a family affair. Jim Scatuorchio campaigned the colt's sire, Grade 1-winning sprinter More Than Ready, who finished fourth in the 2000 Kentucky Derby. Jim's son, Kevin Scatuorchio, and Bryan Sullivan campaigned 2012 Kentucky Derby starter El Padrino, who finished 13th in the classic, under the name of their Let's Go Stable.
Now, Let's Go Stable, in partnership with Coolmore, will send out El Padrino's half brother Verrazano, who arrives at the Kentucky Derby unbeaten and off a win in the Wood Memorial. The outfit purchased the colt, out of the Giant's Causeway mare Enchanted Rock, for $250,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
More Than Ready, a son of Southern Halo, moved to WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., for this season after standing at Vinery in Lexington, Ky., since entering stud in 2001. His top runners include Breeders' Cup winners Pluck, More Than Real, and Regally Ready. A leading shuttle sire in Australia, he has also produced Southern Hemisphere champions More Joyous, Phelan Ready, and Sebring.
Verrazano's notable family members include champion Queena, Grade 1 winner Chic Shirine and Serra Lake, and multiple graded stakes winner Cappuchino, Hungry Island, Somali Lemonade, and Al Khali.
Kentucky-based owner-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey enter the spring meeting at Churchill Downs looking to keep their momentum rolling after setting a record for wins by an owner during the Keeneland Race Course spring meet. Many of their winners at that meet were homebreds by their most famed horse, Kitten's Joy, who could be represented in the Kentucky Derby by two starters if also-eligible Fear the Kitten draws in.
Kitten's Joy, a son of El Prado, earned the Eclipse Award as 2004's champion turf male for a season in which he won six graded stakes races, including the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes and Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes. He also was runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Turf and the following year's Arlington Million.
Kitten's Joy retired with over $2 million in earnings and entered stud in 2006 at Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky. Among his top performers is Stephanie's Kitten, who carried the Ramseys' colors to victory in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Charming Kitten is a full sibling to Queen'splatekitten, a Grade 3-placed stakes winner for the Ramseys.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and the Phipps Stable have teamed up with legends such as Personal Ensign and Easy Goer. However, they've never had a winner in the Kentucky Derby. They will look to change that Saturday with Florida Derby winner Orb, the race's morning-line favorite.
The Malibu Moon colt, who runs as a homebred for Stuart S. Janney and the Phipps Stable, is one of two winners from three starters out of the winning Unbridled mare Lady Liberty, who in turn was produced by the Grade 2-winning Cox's Ridge mare Mesabi Maiden.
Third dam Steel Maiden was a half sister to four stakes winners, including Grade 1 winner Private Terms, who went on to sire unbeaten champion Personal Ensign for the Phipps Stable.
It is the family of Argentinean champion and U.S. Grade 1 winner Suggestive Boy.
Will Take Charge is one of three entrants in this year's Kentucky Derby field who are half-brothers to previous Derby starters.
The Unbridled's Song colt is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Dehere mare Take Charge Lady, dam of four winners from five starters. Her offspring include 2012 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy, who finished unplaced while suffering an injury in last year's Kentucky Derby.
Out of the unraced Rubiano mare Felicita, Take Charge Lady is a half-sister to stakes winner Commendation; stakes winner Eventail, dam of Grade 2 winner Straight Story; and Jessi Take Charge, dam of Grade 2-placed Northern Giant.
It is the family of Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge.
Owner Willis D. Horton purchased Will Take Charge for $425,000 out of the Keeneland September yearling sale, tying him with Falling Sky as the most expensive horse in the Derby field.
Arkansas Derby runner-up Frac Daddy comes into the Kentucky Derby without a stakes win but with a strong performance at Churchill—a second in last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes—under his belt, and with a good amount of buzz on the backstretch as a potential live longshot. The Scat Daddy colt, bred by the Nancy M. Leonard Family Trust, was purchased by owner Magic City Thoroughbreds for $50,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. Magic City comprises Billings, Mont., natives Carter Stewart and Kent Schlenker, who campaign last year’s Travers Stakes dead-heat winner Golden Ticket.
Scat Daddy, who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., for $30,000, edged out Hard Spun as leading North American freshman sire in 2011. The 7-year-old Johannesburg horse and 2007 Florida Derby winner is the sire of multiple Group 2 winner Daddy Long Legs, last in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, Grade 1 winner Lady of Shamrock, and Grade 2 winner Handsome Mike among several other recent notables.
Frac Daddy is out of the stakes-placed Skip Away mare Skipper’s Mate, and his second dam is Grade 3 winner Power Play. Power Play, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Gala Spinaway, also produced stakes winner Vegas Play and stakes-placed Southern Charmer in addition to Skipper’s Mate.
Java's War, b., c., War Pass - Java, by Rainbow Quest
Breeder: Charles Fipke (Ky.)
Fipke purchased Java's War's dam, the winning Rainbow Quest mare Java, for $350,000 out of the 2009 Keeneland November breeding stock sale; she was carrying the colt at the time. The mare has produced four winners from as many starters, including stakes-placed Coffee Bar.
Out of the Grade 1-placed stakes-winning Explodent mare Island Jamboree, Java is a full sister to champion grass mare Fiji, who has gone on to become a solid producer herself. The multiple Grade 1 winner is the dam of French classic-placed Marcus Andronicus and stakes producer Lady Indy. Java and Fiji are also half-sisters to Group 3 winner Capri.
It is the family of Grade 1 winners Careless Jewel, Subordination, and Fabulous Notion, the latter of whom produced Grade 1 winner Fabulously Fast.
Java's War is from the first of just two crops by 2007 champion juvenile War Pass, who died suddenly in December 2010. The sire is also represented on this year's Triple Crown trail by Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary.
Vyjack is the other Kentucky Derby starter, besides Goldencents, to come from the first crop of promising Spendthrift Farm stallion Into Mischief. The gelding was purchased by Al and Sally Pike’s Pike Racing for $45,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale in 2011, and then pinhooked for $100,000 to entrepreneur David Wilkenfeld’s Pick Six Racing at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale. He enters the Derby with four wins and one third from five starts, including wins in the Grade 2 Jerome and Grade 3 Gotham.
Machmer Hall was established by Craig and Carrie Brogden and Carrie’s mother Sandy Willwerth in 2001 in Paris, Ky., and named after a building dedicated to Carrie’s father at the University of Massachusetts, where he served as dean. The operation has had several notable successes, including breeding multiple Grade 1 winner Premium Tap in partnership with Will Farish’s Lane’s End.
Vyjack, by the unraced Stravinsky mare Life Happened, is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes-placed Prime Cut. Life Happened is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner and solid New York sire Disco Rico. Multiple graded stakes winner and $500,000 earner Miss Slewpy is another notable family member.
Java's War nails them all at the wire...
No matter how much information you receive, picking the winner is still uncertain at best! Not even the Horses, Jockeys or Owners know until after the race.
NOW IM MORE COSFUSED THAN EVER-LOLK-2-ALL-ds
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