04/05/2017 8:36AM

Kentucky Derby pedigree analysis: Iliad

Barbara D. Livingston
Santa Anita Derby favorite Iliad is a son of Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.


Ghostzapper-Little Swoon, by You and I

($285,000 purchase by Bob Baffert, agent, at 2016 OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training)

A quarter of the way into 2017, Ghostzapper is having a career year, sitting near the top of the North American sire list. Ghostzapper has two prominent sons on the Kentucky Derby trail, with Iliad running in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby and McCraken putting his unbeaten record on the line in the Blue Grass Stakes.

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Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, by Awesome Again, won from six furlongs to 1 1/4 miles with sheer brilliance that he could carry a distance. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 128 for romping in the Philip H. Iselin at Monmouth, outdueled eventual Horse of the Year Saint Liam to win the Woodward Stakes, and easily held off eventual Dubai World Cup winner Roses in May and defending race winner Pleasantly Perfect to win the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic with a 124 Beyer. For good measure, he added a win the following spring in the Metropolitan Handicap.

Ghostzapper’s progeny were expected to inherit speed, and they have, at many distances. He is the sire of Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner and champion Judy the Beauty; Grade 1 winner Better Lucky, second to Judy the Beauty in the Filly and Mare Sprint; Grade 1-winning sprinter Contested; and Paulassilverlining, an Eclipse Award finalist in the female sprint division last year.

But Ghostzapper is also the sire of route runners, including Shaman Ghost. A Canadian classic winner, he captured the Woodward Stakes and 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn Invitational last year. After finishing second to Arrogate in the Pegasus World Cup, earning a career-high 112 Beyer, Shaman Ghost won the Santa Anita Handicap.

Ghostzapper is also the sire of Whitney Handicap winner Moreno, second in both the Travers and Santa Anita Handicap; Canadian champion Hunters Bay; and Grade 1 winners Molly Morgan and Stately Victor.

Iliad’s dam, Little Swoon, never won beyond six furlongs, but she produced the long-winded Melmich, by another son of Awesome Again in Wilko. Racing on Woodbine’s Polytrack, Melmich won the Dominion Day Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, an allowance at 1 5/8 miles, and the Valedictory Stakes at 1 3/4 miles.