11/29/2005 12:00AM

Triple Crown hopes in their blood

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Stevie Wonderboy's breeding reveals a combination of class and stamina that bodes well for him next year.

LAS VEGAS - As the calendar turns to December, it is only natural to look ahead to next year's Triple Crown, and there are many 2-year-olds who have the talent - and pedigree - to prosper at age 3. Here are the current prime candidates:

Stevie Wonderboy

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and probable juvenile champion, Stevie Wonderboy is by Stephen Got Even and his grandsire (A. P. Indy) and damsire (Summer Squall) are half-brothers, both out of the marvelous broodmare Weekend Surprise. All of that makes Stevie Wonderboy the current poster child for the RF, or Rasmussen Factor, which addresses inbreeding to a superior female within five generations through different individuals.

Inbreeding to influential broodmares intensifies the most important element of a pedigree and more often than not results in racehorses of higher quality.

In addition to this coveted pedigree pattern, Stevie Wonderboy descends from a stakes-winning and stakes-producing female family. His dam, Heat Lightning, did not win in 13 starts, but she is a half-sister to Fair Judgment, winner of the Group 2 Pacemaker International Stakes. His second dam, Mystical Mood (by stamina influence Roberto), won the 1981 Schuylerville Stakes and finished second in the Frizette and Fashion stakes and third in the Matron Stakes. His third dam, Mystery Mood (Night Invader), won the Red Bank Handicap and was third in the Frizette, while his fourth dam was Moaning Low (Loser Weeper), winner of the Marlboro Nursery Stakes and a half-sister to the 1965 Kentucky Oaks winner, Amerivan.

Thus, Stevie Wonderboy has a combination of high class and stamina, which augurs well for his chances at the Kentucky Derby's 1 1/4-mile distance.

First Samurai

Winner of the Champagne and Hopeful stakes, First Samurai was third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and has plenty of room for improvement next year. By the world's hottest young stallion, Giant's Causeway, First Samurai is out of the stakes-winning Dixieland Band mare Freddie Frisson. His second dam, Frisson, by Fappiano, was unraced, but in addition to producing Freddie Frisson, she is the dam of Sky Blue Pink (Strawberry Road), a stakes winner at 3 and 4 and the dam of allowance winner Air Marshall. First Samurai's third dam, Mavera (Reviewer), is also the dam of Verabald, the dam of stakes winner A Huevo.

Private Vow

Winner of the Futurity Stakes and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last weekend at Churchill Downs, Private Vow lost all chance in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile when his rein broke. Private Vow is from the first crop of five-time stakes winner Broken Vow, a son of Unbridled from the immediate female family that produced Canadian Horse of the Year and sire Peaks and Valleys. Private Vow is out of a Deputy Minister mare, and his female family is loaded with European influences such as Elegant Air (a son of champion stayer Shirley Heights out of a Sea-Bird mare) and Stanford (like Blushing Groom, a son of Red God). His dam, Smooth as Silk, managed only 2 thirds in 2 lifetime starts, but his second dam, Sacque, was a Grade 3 winner on turf.

Sorcerer's Stone

A lackluster sixth when he raced evenly in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 7-1, Sorcerer's Stone had minor surgery shortly after that race for removal of a bone chip in his left ankle and is expected to return to the races at Gulfstream Park in late January or early February. A son of Gulch (also the sire of Derby, Belmont, and Travers Stakes winner Thunder Gulch), Sorcerer's Stone is out of Magical Holiday (Slew o' Gold), who won just 1 race from 7 starts. Magical Holiday, however, is a full sister to Dramatic Gold, who won the Grade 1 Meadowlands Cup, as well as the Molson Million and Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap, both Grade 2 races. Dramatic Gold was also second in the Strub, San Fernando, and Swaps stakes - and finished third in the 1994 Breeders' Cup Classic, behind Concern and Tabasco Cat. Sorcerer's Stone's fourth dam, Bank of England (Buckpasser-Lady Pitt), was bred by Ogden Phipps and is a half-sister to Blitey, the dam of stakes winners Dancing Spree, Dancing All Night, Furlough, and Fantastic Find, as well as the unraced Oh What a Dance, the dam of champion Heavenly Prize. Although Gulch was best as a miler, he has sired many high-class stakes winners over a distance of ground, such as Thunder Gulch, Nayef, The Cliff's Edge, Wallenda, Mariensky, and Snowdrops. Sorcerer's Stone also gets an abundance of class from his female family.

Bluegrass Cat

Undefeated in three starts, including victories in the Nashua and Remsen Stakes, Bluegrass Cat is by the world's most successful commercial stallion, Storm Cat, and hails from one of the best female families cultivated by the Phipps family. His unraced dam, She's a Winner, is a full sister to stakes winners Daydreaming and Accelerator, and a half-sister to stakes-placed Not for Love (the leading Maryland-based stallion) and Offbeat (who ran second in the Gulfstream Park Handicap and Remsen Stakes). Bluegrass Cat's second dam, Get Lucky, is a stakes-winning full sister to 2-year-old champion and Travers winner Rhythm. His third dam, Dance Number, is yet another stakes winner and a half-sister to Private Account and Polish Numbers (who established a track record at Belmont Park at 6 1/2 furlongs). Dance Number was out of 1971 2-year-old filly champion Numbered Account.

Bob and John

Bob and John finished first in last weekend's Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park but was disqualified and placed third. By Seeking the Gold, Bob and John is out of a Deputy Minister mare who descends from the prolific female line of Too Bald. Bob and John's dam, stakes winner Minister's Melody, is out of My Song for You (Seattle Song), a three-quarter sister to Capote and half-sister to Exceller, Baldski, American Standard, and Vaguely Hidden.

Dr. Pleasure

Impressive winner of his maiden debut at Saratoga, Dr. Pleasure was second to the more seasoned sprinter He's Got Grit (Songandaprayer), in the Cowdin Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs before finishing seventh, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by sixth-place Sorcerer's Stone, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Getting plenty of stamina from his sire, Thunder Gulch, Dr. Pleasure is out of champion racemare Beautiful Pleasure (Maudlin), a full sister to multiple stakes winner Mecke. He has every right to mature into a significant 3-year-old.

Corinthian

A late-blooming son of Pulpit (who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby despite sustaining a career-ending injury), Corinthian has an attractive pedigree for 1 1/4 miles. In addition to getting stamina from his sire line (Pulpit-A.P. Indy-Seattle Slew), Corinthian is out of a mare by Easy Goer (strong stamina influence) who produced the stakes winner Desert Hero. His second dam is by Spectacular Bid, and his third dam, stakes winner Number, is a three-quarter sister to Nureyev and half-sister to Fairy Bridge, the dam of Sadler's Wells. His fifth dam, Thong, is a full sister to Lt. Stevens, Ridan and Moccasin, a champion filly and co-Horse of the Year when she was undefeated in eight starts at age 2.