05/18/2013 6:00AM

Preakness Stakes pedigree analysis: Who is bred for the distance?

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Barbara D. Livingston
Oxbow is among the Preakness Stakes contenders whose pedigree suggests he will relish the distance.

While the Kentucky Derby was the longest distance test for many of the horses coming back for the Preakness Stakes, the mile and three-sixteenths at Pimlico will be the second-longest challenge they have faced up to this point.

When analyzing contenders who have little or no on-track form at longer distances to base an opinion on, examining pedigrees can go a long way in helping separate horses from the pack.

In the Kentucky Derby, Perfect Soul, the sire of Golden Soul, ranked a close second among the 18 sires whose foals were entered in the race with an average progeny winning distance of 7.48 furlongs, meaning the average distance of a race won by a Perfect Soul-sired racehorse is almost exactly between seven furlongs and a mile. Golden Soul, among the least heralded entries in the field, moved up in the stretch to finish second at odds of 34.50-to-1.

In examining the average progeny winning distances for the sires and dams of the Preakness Stakes entrants, three competitors stand out above the rest, including Kentucky Derby winner Orb.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Live updates and live video from Pimlico]

The son of Malibu Moon is out of the winning Unbridled mare Lady Liberty, who led all Preakness broodmares with an average progeny winning distance of 9.19 furlongs—just over 1 1/8 miles—from three foals to race.

Of course, Orb himself went a long way in establishing that mark for his dam, having won a pair of races at 1 1/8 miles as well as the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. However, Lady Liberty’s other winning foal, Cause of Freedom, won at distances of 1 1/8 miles or longer in all three of his victories, which suggests that the dam instills stamina into her foals.

Orb’s sire Malibu Moon finished fifth among the eight sires with Preakness Stakes entrants with an average progeny winning distance of 7.05 furlongs.

Departing, who many consider to be the greatest threat to Orb’s Triple Crown chase in the Preakness, also fared well in regards to his parents’ average progeny winning distances. His dam, the Pulpit mare Leave, was the second-best broodmare in the category, with an average winning distance of 8.08 furlongs.

Departing actually helped bring down his dam’s average, as the gelding is the only one of Leave’s three winning foals to win a race at a distance under a mile, breaking his maiden in a six-furlong race as a 2-year-old at Fair Grounds. He made up for it by winning the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby.

War Front, Departing’s sire, ranked fourth among the Preakness stallions with an average progeny winning distance of 7.09 furlongs.

Also rating well was Oxbow, whose sire and dam’s combined rank in the field left him on the same footing as favorites Orb and Departing. The colt is by Awesome Again, who owns the field’s second-best average winning distance at 7.42 furlongs, only trailing Tiznow, sire of longshot Titletown Five, at 7.57 furlongs.

Oxbow’s dam, the Cee’s Tizzy mare Tizamazing, also has done well putting distance capability into her foals, with an average winning distance of 7.9 furlongs from three winners.

An important factor to consider when analyzing these figures is the sample size available for each sire and dam. Many of the horses represented in this year’s Preakness Stakes field are in the early stages of their breeding careers, and as a result, most of their foals have not yet matured to the handicap levels. This means their opportunities to race around two turns to date are not as plentiful as runners from veteran sires.

Naturally, there are always horses capable of outrunning their pedigrees, and Mylute has proven himself to be a prime example, just missing by a neck in the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby and finishing a respectable fifth in the Kentucky Derby. The Midnight Lute colt ranked last among the Preakness contenders by average winning distance on both his sire and dam’s side, but his ability to compete at two turns has never been questioned.

As with any angle used to analyze a race, there is no such thing as an exact science.
 

Stallion Horses in Preakness Crops of
racing age
Avg. Racing
Distance
Avg. Winning
Distance
Tiznow Titletown Five 8 7.47 7.57
Awesome Again Oxbow 12 7.39 7.42
Unbridled's Song Will Take Charge 14 7.27 7.15
War Front Departing 4 6.92 7.09
Malibu Moon Orb 11 7.06 7.05
Lawyer Ron Itsmyluckyday 2 7.18 7.03
Into Mischief Goldencents 2 6.5 6.86
Midnight Lute Mylute
Govenor Charlie
2 6.93 6.65
         
* All distances in furlongs      

 

Mare Horses in Preakness Starters Winners Avg. winning
 distance
Lady Liberty Orb 3 2 9.19
Leave Departing 3 3 8.08
Viva La Slew Itsmyluckyday 2 1 7.96
Tizamazing Oxbow 3 3 7.9
Take Charge Lady Will Take Charge 5 4 7.72
Silverbulletway Govenor Charlie 3 2 7.25
Golden Works Goldencents 2 2 7
D'Wildcat Speed Titletown Five 2 2 6.17
Stage Stop Mylute 2 2 6.06
*All distances in furlongs      

 

Horse Stallion rank Mare rank Total score Combined rank
Oxbow 2 4 6 1
Orb 5 1 6 1
Departing 4 2 6 1
Will Take Charge 3 5 8 2
Itsmyluckyday 6 3 9 3
Titletown Five 1 8 9 3
Govenor Charlie 8 6 14 4
Goldencents 7 7 14 4
Mylute 8 9 17 5

 

Lise McLain More than 1 year ago
Hi! Enjoyed reading the pedigree analysis of the horses for the Preakness. Will take this into consideration when I purchase my tickets tomorrow. Thank you! Lise from Maine
jttf More than 1 year ago
bernardini and shackleford have proven that orb has no breeding problem for the preakness.
Mooch J More than 1 year ago
By reading the form you can tell who can go the distance, and Oxbow, Titletown Five, Mylute do not want to go. Play Oxbow as a late running sprinter, if they keep routing him he will break down
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
If OXBOW is 15-1 or more, that's insane.
kwtalk More than 1 year ago
Orb has some awesome lineage on both sides. Not just the names we recognize like Unbridled, A.P. Indy, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, etc., but back just a bit is Swaps on both sides, Princequillo on both sides, and Man-O-War on both sides. Just interesting trivia, mho.
Fred Colon More than 1 year ago
Hummmmmmmmmmmm, I see you've been doing some reading also.
Ann Ferland More than 1 year ago
They ALL go back to Man o' War. Goldencents has 11 crosses, Titletown Five has 12, Departing has 14, and so on. Man o' War is part of the background, part of what defines the American TB and the vast majority, may all, US TBs 'go back' to him multiple times. Man o' War lived nearly 100 years ago, 10-11 or more horse generations.
Bereaver More than 1 year ago
A takeaway from this piece: the Preakness speed horses will not only have to outrun the shape of the race, but their pedigree as well.