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Kentucky Derby: Pedigree profiles
By Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo
A closer look at the pedigrees of the entrants for the 141st running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby, to be contested Saturday at Churchill Downs.
1. Ocho Ocho Ocho
(Street Sense – Winner, by Horse Chestnut)
Street Sense won the 2006 Breeders; Cup Juvenile and followed up by taking the 2007 Kentucky Derby, making him the only horse to land that double. Although he excelled at classic distances – also winning the Travers Stakes and finishing second in the Preakness – many of his top runners have excelled at shorter distances. Those include Grade 1 winners Sweet Reason and Aubby K., both of whom scored major victories on wet tracks. Ocho Ocho Ocho represents one of the most prolific families in modern breeding, as his third dam is unbeaten champion and blue hen Personal Ensign.
2. Carpe Diem
(Giant’s Causeway – Rebridled Dreams, by Unbridled’s Song)
Perennial leading sire Giant’s Causeway has yet to sire an American classic winner, with his best finish in the Triple Crown series a third by Creative Cause in the 2012 Preakness Stakes. However, as his top runners have certainly shown the distance aptitude needed – albeit, with some of that success coming on turf. Giant’s Causeway is the sire of European classic winner Shamardal and Canadian classic winner Irish Mission. More recently, his first Eclipse Award champion, Take Charge Brandi, won four consecutive stakes at a mile or longer to establish herself atop her class before being sidelined by injury. Stakes winner Rebridled Dreams is also the dam of Grade 1 winner J. B.’s Thunder.
(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. Grade 2-placed stakes winner Wildwood Flower is the dam My Miss Sophia, a Grade 2 winner who finished second in last year’s Kentucky Oaks.
(Warrior’s Reward—Still Secret, by Hennessey)
Tencendur hails from the first crop of Warrior’s Reward, joining stakes winner Strawberry Baby and Grade 2-placed Bad Read Sanchez. Warrior’s Reward was largely a sprinter during his own on-track career, winning the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at seven furlongs. However, three of his five graded stakes placings came at 1 1/16 miles or longer. Still Secret is the dam of four winners from five foals to race, also including Mother Russia, a multiple Grade 3-placed six-time stakes winner whose wins ranged from 5 ½ furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth. The dam’s remaining three winners never finished first past a mile.
5. Danzig Moon
(Malibu Moon—Leaveminthedust, by Danzig)
Malibu Moon is the sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, making him the only sire of this year’s Derby field to hold that prestige. His own career was cut short due to injury, breaking his maiden at five furlongs in his second and final start. Leaveminthedust went winless in three starts, with her best effort coming in a runner-up finish on the Saratoga turf going a mile and an eighth. Danzig Moon is a half sibling to Global Express, who has wins at distances from 1 3/8 miles to 1 ½ miles, and Horseshoe Hill, who broke his maiden at a mile and a sixteenth.
(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. Pennegale never raced at a distance shorter than 1 ¼ miles in nine career starts in France. She is the dam of Lily of the Valley, Europe’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, and multiple French stakes winner Calbuco.
7. El Kabeir
(Scat Daddy – Great Venue, by Unbridled’s Song)
Scat Daddy was a prominent player on the 2007 Triple Crown trail, winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Florida Derby en route to an unplaced effort in the Kentucky Derby, his final career start. The son of Johannesburg has become popular worldwide as a hidden turf sire. El Kabeir is the first foal out of unraced Great Venue – a daughter of Unbridled’s Song, also represented as a broodmare sire in this Derby by Carpe Diem. It is the family of Grade 2-winning sprinter Too Much Bling, but a few relatives have also won minor stakes at route distances.
(Big Brown – Our Josephina, by Tale of the Cat)
Like Dortmund, Big Brown also arrived at the Kentucky Derby undefeated, and won both that and the Preakness Stakes before faltering in the Belmont Stakes. Despite his own classic ability, Big Brown’s progeny have an average winning distance of less than a mile. Dortmund is the sire’s first graded stakes winner on dirt; his turf standouts include Group 3 winner Darwin. Dortmund’s extended female family includes champion Lakeville Miss.
(Temple City—Aspen Mountain, by Chief Seattle)
Bolo hails from Temple City’s first crop, which also includes Grade 2 winner Startup Nation and stakes winners Saratoga Heater and Papacoolpapacool. The sire was himself a turf and synthetic specialist, but raced all but one of his 15 starts at a mile or longer, inclding a win in the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap at a mile and a half. Aspen Mountain raced twice, placing at 6 ½ furlongs. She has four foals to race with three winners, including Sequoya Mountain who won at a mile and 70 yards. Aspen Mountain is a half sister to Mining My Own, who is the dam of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and multiple Grade 1 winner Dullahan.
10. Firing Line
(Line of David – Sister Girl Blues, by Hold For Gold)
Late-developing Line of David won the Arkansas Derby prior to an unplaced effort in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, his final career start. Firing Line is a first-crop representative for the son of Lion Heart – a brilliant individual who carried his speed well enough to finish second in the 2004 Derby. Grade 1-placed Sister Girl Blues debuted at age 3 and scored both wins at a mile or longer. There’s an extreme amount of class deep in Firing Line’s family. His fourth dam is a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner and blue hen Seaside Attraction, Canadian classic winner and champion Key to the Moon, and multiple Grade 1 winner Gorgeous. Others with ties to the family include European champion Swain and multiple Grade 1 winners Alpha, Turbulent Descent, and Flashing.
(Malibu Moon—Rosy Humor, by Distorted Humor)
Malibu Moon is the sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, and he enters this year’s race as the only stallion with a Derby winner already his belt. His own career was cut short due to injury, breaking his maiden at five furlongs in his second and final start. Rosy Humor went unplaced in three starts at six furlongs or shorter. Her first foal, Tapitoes, is unplaced in one start at 6 ½ furlongs. Second dam Show Me The Roses is a half sister to champion Johannesburg, and Grade 2-winning sprinter and prominent sire Tale of the Cat is in the extended family.
12. International Star
(Fusaichi Pegasus – Parlez, by French Deputy)
Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus has not yet sired a classic winner. However, a handful of colts from his first crop were prominent on the 2005 Triple Crown trail, with Bandini winning the Blue Grass and Andromeda’s Hero finishing second in the Belmont Stakes. Another member of that crop, Haskell Invitational winner Roman Ruler, sired 2011 Belmont winner Ruler On Ice.
Parlez, who scored all of her wins at a mile or longer, has produced three stakes winners in International Star, Fools in Love, and D C Dancer – all bred on a Mr. Prospector-line cross.
(Lemon Drop Kid—Stormy B, by Cherokee Run)
All but four of Lemon Drop Kid’s 24 career starts came at 1 1/16 miles or longer, including wins in the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes and the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at a mile and a quarter. His offspring’s best work has come on the turf and synthetic, but his dirt resume includes Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, Grade 2 winner Charitable Man, and Grade 3 winners Kid Cruz and Code West. Stormy B broke her maiden over a mile for her only career victory. Her foals include Storm Power, who is a three-time stakes winner in Arizona from six furlongs to a mile, and Equilateral, a maiden winner at 6 ½ furlongs.
14. Keen Ice
(Curlin – Medomak, by Awesome Again)
Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin is injecting stamina into his offspring. Of the Smart Strike horse’s 16 career stakes winners, 15 posted their victories at a mile or longer – including standout Kentucky Oaks contender Stellar Wind. 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. Curlin himself was no stranger to success at classic distances, posting victories in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup, two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Preakness Stakes for two championship seasons and more than $10.5 million in career earnings. Medomak is a half-sister to Coal Play, winner of the Grade 3 Salvator Mile and second in the Haskell Invitational. Their second dam, Tara Roma, won the Grade 2 Ladies Handicap, while the next dam is Ashland Stakes winner Chic Shirine, a full sister to champion Queena. It is the family that in recent years has been represented on the classics trail by multiple Grade 1 winner Verrazano and Grade 2 winner El Padrino.
(Tapit – Fast Cookie, by Deputy Minister)
Sire: The Wood Memorial winner looks to add another feather to the cap of reigning leading sire Tapit, who established a single-season record for progeny earnings last year, fueled by runners such as Tonalist, who captured the Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Eclipse Award winner Untapable, who won the Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The versatile Fast Cookie won on turf and dirt and at sprint and route distances, highlighted by a win in the Grade 2 Cotillion Handicap. She is the dam of three winners from as many starters. It is the family of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and champion Midshipman and Italian Oaks winner and champion Carnauba.
16. War Story
(Northern Afleet—Belle Watling, by Pulpit)
Northern Afleet is the sire of dual classic winner Afleet Alex, who finished third in the 2005 Kentucky Derby. However, many of his successful runners have been sprinters, including champion Amazombie and Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Big City Man. War Story is the second foal to race out of Belle Watling, following Draw Two, a turf specialist whose three career wins have come at distances between 1 1/16 miles and a mile and a half. The dam herself was winless in five starts, placing third in a pair of races at a mile and 70 yards and longer.
17. Mr. Z
(Malibu Moon – Stormy Bear, by Storm Cat)
Malibu Moon is the sire of Orb, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track. The A.P. Indy horse is the only stallion among this year’s hopefuls to have previously sired a Derby winner, and he is represented in this class by Danzig Moon and Stanford. Mr. Z’s half-brother Ibn Al Nafis is stakes-placed in Dubai at 1 ¼ miles. It is the family of Canadian Horse of the Year Chief Bearhart; Grade 1 Hollywood Derby winner Explosive Red; stakes winner Ruby Ransom, dam of graded stakes winner Strut the Stage; stakes winner and influential sire Mr. Prospector; Grade 1 winner and promising young sire Line of David; and Grade 1 winner Private Zone.
18. 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 young sire’s representatives have included Cairo Prince and Vinceremos, both graded stakes winners on the 2014 Triple Crown trail. He was also represented by Social Inclusion, third in the Preakness Stakes. Pioneerof the Nile is by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, one of three American classic winners sired by Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled. Littleprincessemma’s only other starter is Xixixi, who scored both career wins at six furlongs. The mare is a half-sister to graded stakes-winning sprinters Storm Wolf and Misty Rosette.
(Flatter – Party Silks, by Touch Gold)
Graded stakes placed Flatter, a full brother to graded stakes winner and sire Congrats, won up to 1 1/8 miles. Some of his top progeny have displayed both brilliance and the ability to carry it a distance – such as millionaire Flat Out, a two-time winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup but also a Grade 1 winner at a mile. However, the average winning distance of Flatter’s progeny is slightly less than seven furlongs, and indeed, some of his other top runners have excelled at sprint distances – including graded stakes winners Tar Heel Mom and Taris.
20. Far Right
(Notional – Zindi, by Vindication)
Far Right is the only graded stakes winner to date by multiple graded stakes winner Notional, whose progeny have an average winning distance just shy of 6 1/2 furlongs. Far Right is one of two winners from as many starters out of unraced Zindi, who is out of a half sister to Big Jag, third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. It is the extended family of champion Cascapedia, whose performances at route distances included a win in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap and a runner-up effort in the Hollywood Gold Cup; Acey Deucey, the winner of the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes; Exotic Wood, a Grade 1 winner at both sprint and route distances; and multiple graded stakes winner and track record holder Reneesgotzip, twice placed in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
(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.
AE. Tale of Verve
(Tale of Ekati—Verve, by Unbridled)
Tale of Ekati’s first runners are 3-year-olds of 2015, led by Grade 2 winner Ekati’s Phaeton. Tale of Ekati won in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at a mile and an eighth, and the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap and finished fourth in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Verve, a placed daughter of Unbridled, never raced at a distance shorter than a mile and 70 yards in 11 career starts. She is the dam of five winners from as many runners, from Pie Town, who won at 2 ½ miles over jumps and 1 1/16 miles over the flat, to sprinters Soul of Verve and Soul Patch. The dam is a half sister to Grade 1 winner Zoftig, who produced Grade 1 winner Zaftig.
Mubtaahib, Frosted, Dortmund.