03/05/2015 10:53AM

Kentucky Derby pedigree profiles: Ocean Knight

Barbara D. Livingston
Ocean Knight gives two-time Horse of the Year Curlin another classics contender.

Ocean Knight
Colt by Curlin–Ocean Goddess, by Stormy Atlantic
(Bred in Kentucky by Thor-Bred Stables; $320,000 purchase by Stonestreet Stables at 2014 OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training)

Ocean Knight changed course this week to point for Saturday’s Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. The colt posted a victory in the local prep, the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes in January, successfully stretching out to 1 1/16 miles to remain unbeaten in two starts.

Ocean Knight is by Curlin, who is clearly injecting some stamina into his offspring. Of the Smart Strike horse’s 16 career stakes winners, 15 posted their victories at a mile or longer – most recently Stellar Wind, who placed herself into Kentucky Oaks contention with a win in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes last weekend. 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.

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Of course, 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 en route to two Horse of the Year titles and more than $10.5 million in career earnings.

Curlin’s presence is thus far balancing out an immediate female family that seems more slanted toward speed. Ocean Knight is the first foal out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Ocean Goddess, who posted her three career wins at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Out of the unraced War mare War Goddess, she is a half-sister to four other winners, led by Libby’s Halo, the winner of the Polly’s Jet Stakes at five furlongs on turf, and the stakes-placed Mister Alimony, whose maximum winning distance was a mile. Two other half-siblings, War Image and Maid for War, did not win beyond seven furlongs.

There is additional distance capability under Ocean Knight’s third dam, Gallant Libby, a stakes winner at a mile. The productive broodmare turned out nine winners from as many starters, led by the hard-knocking Winter Melody, whose nine career stakes wins included the Grade 3 Long Look Breeders’ Cup Handicap, two editions of the Obeah Stakes, and the Marlboro Handicap, all at 1 1/8 miles. Gallant Libby also produced Gallant Garrick and Gallant Snowman, both stakes winners at two turns, and the Grade 3-winning sprinter Godmother.