Before we devote any serious time to handicapping the race for possible pace setups and trips, let’s take a look at the pedigrees of a few horses who I have yet to discuss much in previous entries. I’ve already spent considerable time detailing why Union Rags and Alpha will get the Derby distance here:
So now let’s look at a few other contenders. We’ll start with Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Bodemeister and Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner I’ll Have Another and then take a look at three sleepers that you may not have originally considered putting on your tickets.
When it comes to finding sires that produce progeny that can get the distance of a mile and a quarter, you can’t do much better than Bodemeister’s sire, Empire Maker. Empire Maker himself finished second to Funny Cide in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, but later got his revenge by running down that rival in the Belmont Stakes. He is a son of Derby winner Unbridled and out of a dam, Toussaud, who produced no less than four group or grade one winners, three of which earned those victories at 1 1/4 miles or beyond.
Bodemeister’s dam, Untouched Talent, really lived up to her name since she was not raced past October of her two-year-old season. Yet she did enough during her short career to show that she did have quite a bit of ability. After winning her career debut in a listed stakes race, she went on to take Del Mar’s Sorrento Stakes (G3). That was to be her final win, although she did go on to run two more times, finishing good seconds in both the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Alcibiades (G2). Bodemeister is her first foal to make it to the races.
Untouched Talent is a daughter of the great Storm Cat, but she gets plenty of stamina from her female family. Her dam, Parade Queen, is by A.P. Indy, and she excelled going two turns on the turf. Her biggest win came in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G3) going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs. She also placed in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (G2) and Suwanee River Handicap (G3) over similar trips to tally up career totals of 6 wins from 16 starts and earnings of $419,000.
Parade Queen is out of Spanish Parade, a daughter of Roberto, who, just like her daughter, also won the Mrs. Revere Stakes and placed in the Jenny Wiley Stakes. She is out of Nijit, a daughter of the great stamina influence Nijinksy, who was pretty unexceptional on the racetrack, but did produce 10 other winners besides Spanish Parade.
This is a female family that is absolutely loaded with stamina influences. Although Bodemeister’s dam, Untouched Talent, never got a chance to show how far she could run during her racing career, she is inbred 3×4 to Secretariat through her sire, Storm Cat, and broodmare sire, A.P. Indy. Throw in the names Roberto and Nijinsky, both Epsom Derby winners, and you have a horse that should have no trouble handling the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby.
I’ll Have Another
While I’ll Have Another is not as regally bred as Bodemeister, he does have just as many solid stamina influences. He is by Flower Alley, winner of the Travers Stakes (G1) and runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Despite being a solid 10 furlong runner, Flower Alley perhaps did not get the respect he deserved during his three-year-old campaign since he did his best racing after Afleet Alex had essentially locked up a championship during the Triple Crown series. And Although Flower Alley has not gotten off to the quickest start as a sire, he has passed on his high stamina to his best progeny with most of them blossoming when stretched out around two turns.
I’ll Have Another is out of Arch’s Gal Edith, a mare who only made it to the races one time, taking a six furlong maiden special weight race at Belmont Park. Although she hasn’t been bred to any elite stallions, Arch’s Gal Edith has produced three multiple winners. Her first foal, Those Wer the Days, by Thunder Gulch, has been plagued by physical issues but has still managed to compile a record of 5 wins from 6 starts with one second. He has only been tried around two turns once, winning a 1 1/16 miles turf race by five lengths. Her one other foal, When Willy Win, by Soto, has won six of 14 races on a lesser circuit.
Much like Bodemeister’s dam, Arch’s Gal Edith was never given a chance to show the stamina that she possesses on the racetrack. She is, of course, a daughter of Arch, who became a graded stakes winner at a mile and a quarter when he took the Super Derby (G2) as a three-year-old. Arch is also the sire of such top runners as Blame, Pine Island, and Hymn Book and is the broodmare sire of Uncle Mo. Arch’s Gal Edith is out of Force Five Gal, who was campaigned in Canada and placed in one stakes race, the Border Cup Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
Force Five Gal is a daughter of Pleasant Tap, another multiple graded stakes winner at the distance of a mile and a quarter, taking the 1992 Suburban Handicap and Jockey Club Gold Cup as well as finishing second to A. P. Indy in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. Digging just a couple of generations deeper, I’ll Have Another’s third dam is Last Cause, who was also stakes-placed once in Belmont’s Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Last Cause is a daughter of Caucasus, a turf marathoner who won the 1 3/4 miles Irish St. Leger before coming to the United States to win or place in the San Luis Rey, Hollywood Gold Cup, and San Juan Capistrano Stakes. Finally, Last Cause’s broodmare sire is the European great Sea Bird, who is to this day rated as one of the top horses of the last century over the distance of 1 1/2 miles.
While there are not too many flashy names in this pedigree, the stamina is undeniable and it traces back many generations. I have no doubt that I’ll Have Another will love every bit of the ten furlongs of this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Three Derby Sleepers
Lastly, I’m going to take a quick glance at three longshots for this year’s Derby who have the pedigrees to handle the distance and may be worth including at big prices to round out exactas and trifectas:
This horse is by Derby and Belmont runner-up Bluegrass Cat and is out of a dam, Miner’s Blessing, who hails from a long line of Stuart Janney, Jr. bred horses. Miner’s Blessing herself was unraced, but is by another Derby runner-up, Forty Niner, and out of Bless You, which makes her a half-sister to 1995 Ashland Stakes and Black Eyed Susan second place finisher Conquistadoress. Bless You is out of Wedding Party, who was a multiple stakes winner of eight of 21 races and is one of the Janney family’s foundation mares. She is the dam of Deputation, who won the Pimlico Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G3) and was second in the Hempstead Handicap (G1). Deputation is the dam of three stakes-placed runners and the ancestress of such top Janney runners as Carriage Trail, winner of the Spinster Stakes (G1), and Criminologist, a four-time Grade 3 winner. You can actually trace this female line all the way back directly to La Troienne, who is Sabercat’s eighth dam and the most important mare of the last century to stand in the United States (not to mention the namesake of a stakes race on the Oaks undercard).
Went the Day Well
While many don’t regard Proud Citizen as a sire of classic distance runners, keep in mind that he did finish second in the Kentucky Derby and has sired Proud Spell, who won the Kentucky Oaks and Alabama Stakes over 10 furlongs. Proud Citizen is just an incredibly versatile sire who seems to throw sprinters and routers as well as horses who can run on dirt, turf, or synthetic. A quick glance at the past performances of Went the Day Well reveals that surface really doesn’t matter for him since he seems to run on anything. Also, based on his female family, distance should not be a problem either. Went the Day Well is the first foal out of Tiz Mae’s Day, an unraced daughter of Tiznow. Tiznow is a very good modern stamina influence, having sired such top runners as Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed, Travers Stakes winner Colonel John, and Whitney Handicap winner Tizway. Tiz Mae’s Day is out of Sweet Roberta, by Roberto, and she is best known for finishing second in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies won by Go For Wand. Although Sweet Roberta didn’t go on to do much after her two-year-old campaign, she did produce a few decent horses during her career as a broodmare. Her top earner, Sweet Breanna, did not win a stakes race, but was runner-up in the Woodbine Oaks and Bison City Stakes at Woodbine. Sweet Roberta also produced Jah, a daughter of Relaunch, whose biggest win came in the Street Dancer Stakes over 1 3/8 miles at Del Mar. One other foal, Rihan, a daughter of the sprinter Dayjur, won only one minor race from seven starts, but produced Duke of Venice, who won the Queen’s Vase, a group 2 race in England run over 2 miles.
Went the Day Well has more than enough solid stamina influences close up on the female side of his pedigree to suggest that the mile and a quarter of the Derby should be no problem.
Although Liaison, is a son of Indian Charlie, the sire of last year’s early Derby favorite, Uncle Mo, he has far more stamina on his dam’s side than the 2010 two-year-old champion. His dam, Galloping Gal, is by a Belmont Stakes winner, Victory Gallop, and out of the daughter of another Belmont Stakes winner, A. P. Indy. Galloping Gal herself was best routing on the turf and she won the Jessamine Stakes and Edgewood Stakes, both over 1 1/16 miles. She was also runner-up in the Alcibiades as a two-year-old and the Virginia Oaks over 9 furlongs as a three-year-old. Galloping Gal’s one other foal to make it to the races, One Last Dance, is a minor stakes winner going two turns on the dirt. Galloping Gal is out of Indy Flash, whose broodmare sire is Gleaming. Gleaming was a turf marathoner who twice won the Hialeah Turf Cup over 1 1/2 miles in the early 1970s.
Most people are wondering why Liaison is even in the Kentucky Derby let alone considering using him in their wagers. Yet despite his spotty three-year-old form, he is a horse who figures to improve with distance, and, if Bob Baffert is correct in his assertion that Liaison just did not handle Santa Anita’s main track, he may have a chance to be around at the finish at a huge price.