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  • 2011 Kentucky Derby - Contender Pedigrees

       April 27, 2011

    (see all of our 2011 Kentucky Derby articles)

    With the field of Derby contenders mostly set, it's time to check out who has the blue blood necessary to win the race. Last year, my two favorite pedigrees ran 1-2. Lets see who has that same kind of pedigree power this year.

    Animal Kingdom is by turf runner Leroidesanimaux and out of a mare by Acatenango, another turf runner. His pedigree is full of great turf influences like Blushing Groom, Dancing Brave, Lyphard and Northern Dancer. Unfortunately, the Kentucky Derby is run on dirt. Just sayin'.

    Anthony's Cross is by Indian Charlie out of an Unbridled mare. Indian Charlie is generally a speed influence and Unbridled imparts stamina, so this is a nice mixture, which also includes one of my all-time favorite horses, 1983 Belmont Stakes winner Caveat. This really isn't a very flashy pedigree, but I like it and I can see how it could produce a colt who can run a classic distance.

    Archarcharch is a son of Smarty Jones. No, just kidding, he's really a son of Arch out of a Woodman mare. First, a note about the name. Before you complain that it's stupid and not fitting for an important horse, I'd like to introduce you to Pot8os, who resides in the pedigree of nearly every modern thoroughbred. So anyway, Archarcharch has another nice distance pedigree. In addition to Arch (also the sire of last year's Breeders Cup Classic winner Blame), he's got a fine female side including horses like Hollywood Oaks winner Pattern Step as a grandam. This is really one of the best pedigrees in the race.

    The optimistically named Brilliant Speed is a son of Dynaformer (also the sire of Barbaro) out of a Gone West mare. Brilliant Speed frankly has a dynamite pedigree. Dynaformer was produced from years of careful breeding at famed Darby Dan Farm and his female side has produced more than their fair share of outstanding individuals, including 1997 Belmont winner Touch Gold. One of the knocks on Brilliant Speed is that he doesn't have any dirt form, but from a pedigree perspective, I wouldn't be shocked to see him succeed on that surface. Maybe not on Derby day, but some day.

    Comma To The Top is a son of Bwana Charlie out of a Stormy Atlantic mare. It's a pretty speed oriented pedigree, but I want to point out two things. First, Stormy Atlantic himself descends from this amazing Claiborne Farm female family that has produced champion after champion. Second, Comma To The Top is a tail-female line descendant of La Troienne. She's one of the greatest broodmares in history and her pedigree power can jump up generations later in seemingly modest pedigrees like this one or, for example, with a horse like Smarty Jones or last year's Derby winner Super Saver. Dismiss the descendants of La Troienne at your own risk.

    Decisive Moment is by With Distinction out of a Dehere mare. With Distinction was a sprinter and I think Dehere typically gets speedier types, so I don't like this pedigree for the Derby at all. To me, it looks more like a horse who'd like 7 furlongs to a mile.

    Derby Kitten is by turf star Kitten's Joy out of a Menifee mare. The top of this pedigree is pretty "turfy" to me, but the bottom is interesting. Both Menifee and his half-brother, Desert Wine, finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and there's just a lot of nice stamina influences like Halo & the great mare Alluvial back in the pedigree. I still think he's turf-first, but he should be able to run all day.

    Dialed In is by A.P. Indy's Horse of the Year son Mineshaft out of a Storm Cat mare. Thus, he has my favorite pedigree cross, which is A.P. Indy/Storm Cat, as it doubles up on Secretariat through his two top producing daughters, Weekend Surprise and Terlingua. As if that wasn't enough to love, Dialed In's grandam is 1992 champion juvenile filly Eliza, who herself is a half sister to the fabulous Santa Anita Derby winner Dinard. I love, love, love this pedigree. Way more than I actually like the horse it produced.

    Master Of Hounds may be coming over from Europe for the Derby, but, after looking at this pedigree I have to recommend that he stay on his side of the pond. This is a pedigree absolutely full of turf influences: Kingmambo, Miesque, Sadler's Wells, Lyphard, Northern Dancer, Irish River. I mean, it's a fabulous pedigree, but for the English Derby, not the Kentucky Derby.

    Midnight Interlude is by Breeders Cup Mile winner War Chant out of a New Zealand-bred Groom Dancer mare. At first glance, this is kind of a turf pedigree, although War Chant's mom was a champion on dirt, but, Midnight Interlude has already had success over Santa Anita's new dirt track, so I guess it shouldn't be much of a concern. Overall, I think it's a decent pedigree. I tend to like horses with Southern Hemisphere blood on their female side, so yeah, he's got potential.

    Mucho Macho Man is a son of Macho Uno out of a Ponche mare. This seems like a typical Florida pedigree to me, which means that it's going to produce tough horses more oriented to speed than stamina. I think that's exactly what you've got with this colt.

    Nehro is another son of Mineshaft, out of an Afleet mare. This is another nice mix of speed and stamina. His female family isn't as nice as Dialed In's distaff side, but he shouldn't have any problems with the Derby distance.

    Pants On Fire is yet another grandson of A.P. Indy, this time through his son Jump Start. He's out of a Cape Town mare. This is an interesting pedigree. Jump Start is a product of my beloved A.P. Indy/Storm Cat cross and then on the dam side he gets some big time quality from Seeking The Gold and Broodmare of the Year Kamar (mother of, among others, the wonderful filly Gorgeous). Not only that, but Pants On Fire descends in tail-female from the great Gallorette. Just a star-studded pedigree.

    Santiva is a son of the courageous champion Giant's Causeway out of half sister to the champion sprinter Safely Kept. I have a few distance concerns about Santiva, but I don't question his heart. I like this pedigree, but I can't fully endorse it for the Derby distance.

    Shackleford is by Forestry out of an Unbridled mare. The Forestry makes me think "speed", but Unbridled says "stamina". Given Shackleford's front-running style, I have to question his ability to stay the Derby distance, but it's certainly not out of the question.

    Soldat is by the speedy War Front out of a Coronado's Quest mare. Ruffian fans: note that Coronado's Quest comes from Ruffian's female family. Anyway, this pedigree has too many sprinters like War Front and Rubiano and even with gritty horses like Forty Niner in there, I can't see Soldat going the distance.

    Stay Thirsty is by Bernardini out of a Storm Bird mare. He's a half brother to Belmont Stakes runner up Andromeda's Hero, so distance shouldn't be an issue. Also interesting is that he descends in tail-female line to Masda, Man O'War's wild older sister. It's always fun to see names like that pop up in a pedigree.

    Toby's Corner is by Bellamy Road out of a Mister Frisky mare.'s cool to see Mister Frisky! This really isn't the most distinguished pedigree around, although there are some nice horses like Chief's Crown and Cozzene in there. It feels like a hard knocking kind of horse's pedigree.

    Twice The Appeal is by Successful Appeal out of a Cormorant mare. This is the classic speed on top/stamina on the bottom pedigree. Cormorant is responsible for good distance runners like 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin and Saratoga Dew.

    Twinspired is by Harlan's Holiday out of an El Prado mare. I dunno, I'm just completely uninspired by this pedigree. It's not terrible, it's just not very interesting.

    Uncle Mo is by Indian Charlie out of an Arch mare. Again, we have the speed on top/stamina on the bottom theory in action. A lot has been written about Indian Charlie and his lack of distance runners outside of the mare Fleet Indian, but it doesn't seem impossible to me that, matched with Arch, he could produce a Derby horse. What's probably most interesting about Mo's pedigree is that it's completely free of Mr. Prospector, which is pretty unusual in this day and age.

    Watch Me Go is a son of West Acre (an unraced son of Forty Niner from a top Claiborne Farm female family) out of a Deputy Minister mare. On paper, this is a really nice pedigree, although it's hard to judge what kind of a horse West Acre really was.

    I'd rank my top five pedigrees as:

    1. Dialed In
    2. Pants On Fire
    3. Archarcharch
    4. Brilliant Speed
    5. Stay Thirsty

    Posted by kris at April 27, 2011 03:05 PM

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    #  April 28th, 2011 11:05 AM      kris
    Interesting notes:

    1. Every horse in the prospective field has a Triple Crown winner in their pedigree.

    2. 12 horses have Secretariat in their pedigree.

    3. 14 horses have Mr. Prospector.

    4. Only two horses have neither Secretariat nor Mr. P in their pedigree: Animal Kingdom with his European turfy pedigree and....Uncle Mo. Huh. Mo is certainly intriguing as a breeding prospect with his kinda weird pedigree.  
    #  April 28th, 2011 6:16 PM      kris
    All of the horses except for Mucho Macho Man and Twice The Appeal descend in tail-male to the 1913 stallion Phalaris.

    All of the horses except for Twice The Appeal descend from the Darley Arabian. Twice The Appeal comes from the Godolphin Arabian via Man O'War (yay!)  



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