04/06/2005 11:00PM

Trio in Wood field boast exceptional bloodlines

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Going Wild, by Golden Missile, has plenty of distance breeding.

LAS VEGAS - Now it gets serious for those 3-year-olds aiming for the Kentucky Derby. The big four prep races at nine furlongs for the Kentucky Derby - the Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, Arkansas Derby, and Blue Grass Stakes - will be contested over the next two weekends and hopefully will clarify what is now viewed as a wide-open Derby.

The Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby, and Illinois Derby take center stage this Saturday, but unless a colt turns in a War Emblem-type performance in the Illinois Derby, that race should have little bearing on the Kentucky Derby this year. The Wood drew a field of eight; the Santa Anita Derby 11.

A victory in the Santa Anita Derby by last year's 2-year-old champion filly, Sweet Catomine, might send her to Louisville as the favorite. But I expect big performances from both a healthy Wilko and a fast-developing Don't Get Mad.

The Wood features three colts with pedigree power: Going Wild, Bellamy Road, and Survivalist.

Going Wild is from the first crop of Golden Missile, a son of A.P. Indy who reached his full stride as an older racehorse. Golden Missile won the Widener Handicap and Skip Away Stakes, and finished third behind Cat Thief and Budroyale in the Breeders' Cup Classic at 4. He had an even better season at 5, winning the Pimlico Special and Stephen Foster Handicap, and placing in the Donn, Kentucky Cup Classic, Westchester, and Hawthorne Gold Cup handicaps.

His dam, Pola, is by Strawberry Road, who adds stamina to any pedigree, and his second dam, Nureyev's Best, won a listed stakes and placed in a Group 3 stakes in France. By the very classy Nureyev, Nureyev's Best is out of the unraced Meadow Blue, a full sister to 1969 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Majestic Prince, as well as Crowned Prince, a champion in Europe. Meadow Blue underscores that an unraced filly - if well bred - can be as valuable as a broodmare as a champion racemare.

Meadow Blue's other foals include Mangala (by Sharpen Up), who produced stakes winner Allied Forces, and, most importantly, Really Blue (Believe It), the dam of 1998 Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet. Really Blue is also the dam of Mining My Business (Mining) and Worth Every Penny (Spend a Buck). Mining My Business is the dam of stakes winner Real Cozzy, while Worth Every Penny is the dam of the exciting 3-year-old filly Yankee Penny (Quiet American).

While Golden Missile was a major winner at classic distances, some of those who are among his first crop have, surprisingly, shown high speed, such as Inspiring, In the Gold, and Going Wild.

Going Wild has a world of talent and will be dangerous in the Wood if his natural speed can be harnessed.

Bellamy Road is owned by George Steinbrenner, who also campaigned Bellamy Road's sire, Concerto, an unheralded stallion. A stakes winner by Chief's Crown, Concerto is a half-brother to stakes winner Illusioned (Woodman) and a full brother to Wondertross, who finished second in the 1999 Florida Derby behind Vicar, beating Cat Thief. Bred to a modest book of mares, Concerto got off to a successful start. His first crop yielded 31 winners from 35 starters, including five stakes winners. Bellamy Road is proof that given the opportunity to breed to higher quality mares, stallions such as Concerto are capable of getting a major racehorse.

Class in the dam's tail-female family (dam, dam's dam, granddam, etc.) is the most important ingredient in a pedigree. This "class" can skip a generation or two, especially depending on the choice of stallions, but inevitably shows itself, and Bellamy Road is a prime example.

His dam, Hurry Home Hillary (Deputed Testamony) was a modest winner, and his second dam, Ten Cents a Turn (Cozzene), won only 3 of 17 starts. But his third dam, the unraced Rub al Khali (Mr. Prospector), was a half-sister to stakes winners Lead Kindly Light (Majestic Light), Out of Place (Cox's Ridge), and stakes-placed Frolic (Cox's Ridge). Bellamy Road's fourth dam is Arabian Dancer, who placed in the Matron Stakes. His fifth dam, stakes-placed Ten Cents a Dance, was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stokes and was purchased by Cynthia Phipps. In addition to Arabian Dancer, Ten Cents a Dance produced stakes winners Versailles Treaty (dam of Saarland), On Retainer, and For Kicks.

Like Going Wild, Bellamy Road is bred to appreciate middle distances, but must learn to rate if he has any chance at 10 furlongs.

Survivalist, who won the Gotham Stakes, is the latest stakes winner by Danzig bred by the Phipps Stable. The Phippses had extraordinary success with the stallion Danzig, who was pensioned last year, and their homebred stakes winners by him include Defer, Versailles Treaty, Polish Navy, Dispute, Adjudicating, Strolling Along, Easy Now, Soar to the Stars, and Polish Treaty.

Survivalist is out of Miner's Game. Miner's Game won just 2 of 10 starts, but she was retained by the Phippses because, in addition to being a full sister to Seeking the Gold, her second dam is a half-sister to Ogden Phipps's 1967 2-year-old filly champion, Queen of the Stage, and her full brother Reviewer.