03/01/2017 12:20PM

Kentucky Derby pedigree analysis: Irish War Cry

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Barbara D. Livingston
Irish War Cry, winning the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream, gets stamina through his sire, Curlin.

Irish War Cry

Curlin-Irish Sovereign, by Polish Numbers

(Bred in New Jersey by Isabelle de Tomaso)

Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who retired as North America’s leading money winner, was a force at classic distances throughout his racing career, winning the Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Dubai World Cup. His offspring have followed closely in his footsteps.

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Already proven as a classic sire, Curlin is alive on the Triple Crown trail with Irish War Cry, who runs Saturday in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Curlin produced a runner who won or finished among the top three in the Triple Crown series in each of his first four crops. After launching his career with 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice, he followed up with Ride On Curlin, second to California Chrome in the 2014 Preakness. Keen Ice finished third to American Pharoah in the 2015 Belmont, then turned the tables on the Triple Crown winner in the Travers Stakes. Last year, Curlin’s son Exaggerator won three Grade 1 events, including the Preakness Stakes. He also was the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby.

Other Grade 1 winners at a mile or longer pointing to Curlin’s abilities as a source of stamina include champion Stellar Wind, Curalina, Connect, and Off the Tracks. He is also the sire of graded route winners Texas Ryano, the late Diversy Harbor, Moulin de Mougin, Terra Promessa, and, most recently, Curlin’s Approval, who stretched out to win the Grade 2 Royal Delta at Gulfstream.

Curlin may help balance out liabilities on the bottom half of Irish War Cry’s pedigree. His first two dams, Irish Sovereign and Irish Genius, never won beyond six furlongs; the colt is the first of Irish Sovereign’s foals to win beyond 1 1/16 miles. Half-brother Irish Strait, a Grade 3-placed winner at 1 1/16 miles, is by English Channel, who, like Curlin, is a son of the late classic sire Smart Strike.

Irish War Cry is the only graded stakes winner under his first three dams, but farther back, the family has roots in the European classics. Extended family members include Epsom Derby winner and champion Psidium and French 2000 Guineas winner Thymus.