2010 Belmont - Pedigree Profiles
The Belmont Stakes, run at 1 1/2 miles, is a rarity in American thoroughbred racing. None of the horses in the race have ever run this far before and very few will ever run this far again. Horses today are typically bred to excel up to a mile or 1 1/8. Every once in awhile we get a true stayer, but often times the Belmont is won in staggering fashion by the horse who is simply the least tired.
While precocity is a key to the Kentucky Derby and class crucial in the Preakness, I think the Belmont comes down to pedigree. Who has the best chance to stay the distance. As is my custom, I've put together spreadsheet detailing past Belmont winners and this year's field. One of the first factors I want to take a look at is pedigree.
Right off of the bat, if you look at Belmont winners since Affirmed, you'll see the sire power just leap off of your screen: Majestic Prince, Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Pleasant Colony, Storm Cat, Kingmambo, Unbridled, Deputy Minister, A.P. Indy & Tiznow. These are the elite sires of the breed. One thing to remember is that elite sires are bred to elite mares (think Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen), so our Belmont winners have breeding to spare.
But that's just half of the story. Even elite sires don't necessarily guarantee that a horse is capable of getting the Belmont distance. In addition to top sire power, a Belmont winner needs stamina influences. While some stamina influences are obvious (I'm looking at you, Princequillo), others are subjective - sure, Mr. Prospector sired Belmont winners, but he's not really a stamina influence. To take away some of that confusion, I looked at how many Belmont winners were in a typical Belmont winner's 5 generation pedigree. On average, it's a little over 3 - although some horses have far more. In fact, the remarkable Easy Goer, has 8 in his five generation pedigree.
Among this year's field, note that Fly Down has 11 Belmont winners in his pedigree (although, to be fair, it's really only 7 different horses as he has multiple strains of Native Dancer & Nashua). Likely favorite Ice Box has 8 Belmont winners. So, let's take a closer look at the field.
Dave In Dixie: is by an okay, not elite sire, Dixie Union and to me anyway, nothing in his pedigree shouts "stayer" to me.
Spangled Star: is by the fast miler Distorted Humor, but his broodmare sire is the stamina influence Kris S. and he's got Alysheba up close in his pedigree too. This one could go either way. If he's like his sire, I wouldn't expect much, but if he takes after his mom's side of the family, he could have a shot.
Uptowncharlybrown: has a pedigree with way more speed than stamina (and only 1 Belmont winner in the bunch). I wouldn't like him at 10 furlongs, much less 12.
Make Music For Me: has lots of Belmont winners back in his pedigree, but both his sire and broodmare sire are speedier types. He did rally well to finish 4th in the Kentucky Derby, but there's nothing, at least on paper, that makes me think he wants the Belmont distance.
Fly Down: is by A.P. Indy's Horse of the Year son Mineshaft and out of a Fly So Free mare. He's got 11 Belmont winners in his pedigree, so it's probably pretty foolish to think he couldn't duplicate their accomplishments. As a caveat though, let me point out that he comes from the speedier descendants of those Belmont winners. For example, he has Damascus in his pedigree, but it's through his speediest sons and grandsons. I'm just not sure how much real Belmontishness he has.
Ice Box: is the likely favorite. I loved his pedigree for the Kentucky Derby and while his sire Pulpit is one of the speedier sons of A.P. Indy, you can't deny a horse that a horse has stamina coming out of his ears when both of his grandsires won the Belmont and that that's just the tip of the iceberg (or Ice Box). I see no reason he can't go the distance.
Drosselmeyer: is another son of the quick Distorted Humor and like Spangled Star, he's got a lot of stamina influences on his dam's side. He's got Nijinsky, Princequillo and Seattle Slew through his excellent son Slew O'Gold. It's a solid B-.
Game On Dude: is by the good sire Awesome Again and even though there's only one Belmont winner in his pedigree, it's just full of good, honest horses. I doubt that Game On Dude is good enough to win, but I wouldn't blame his breeding for that.
Stately Victor: is by Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and out of a Dynaformer mare. Dynaformer is an excellent stamina influence, as is Relaunch, but overall I don't see a lot of reason to expect Stately Victor to get the distance.
Stay Put: is a grandson of Unbridled. Even though Unbridled didn't win his Belmont, he's certainly put his own stamp on the race as 3 of the last 7 winners descend from him in male line. Besides Unbridled, Stay Put has Le Fabuleaux, Nijinsky and Prince John in his pedigree. Again, he might not be good enough, but it's not his ancestors' fault!
First Dude: is a grandson of Belmont winner A.P. Indy and has 6 total Belmont winners in his pedigree, as well as other horses like Relaunch, Seattle Slew, Secretariat and Nodouble. I really like this pedigree for the Belmont.
Interactif: is another grandson of Unbridled and in addition to that one he's got horses like the tough Broad Brush, the great Personal Ensign and Damascus in his pedigree. This is another one should be able to get the distance.
1. First Dude
2. Ice Box
3. Stay Put
Posted by kris at June 2, 2010 05:22 PM
The trackback entry for this page is : http://www.inthehat.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1866
|# June 2nd, 2010 5:54 PM BVBigBro|
|In love with them Grade 3's, huh. |
|# June 2nd, 2010 6:43 PM kris|
|Those aren't race picks - just the pedigrees I like most. |