New King of the Derby Trail

It seems year after year, the Derby trail has been dominated by horses from the A.P. Indy sire line, and this year that line once again makes a powerful presence, especially through his son Pulpit and Pulpit’s son Tapit.

But so far, A.P. Indy’s sire-line influence has been a bit overshadowed by that of Fappiano, mainly through his son Unbridled. In fact, the presence of this line has been nothing short of extraordinary as the 3-year-olds prepare to embark on the 2014 Derby trail.

Although the name of John Nerud will always been associated with the legendary Dr. Fager, it was Fappiano, a grandson of Dr. Fager, that made Nerud a wealthy man, admittedly paying for his stately Long Island home.

Fappiano’s influence has reached new heights this year. At present, there are 24 highly rated horses on the Derby trail who trace to Fappiano, mainly through his sire line and mainly through his son Unbridled.

Following is the breakdown by horses (all of them impressive winners, stakes winners, or stakes-placed horses) and their connection to Fappiano.

Cairo Prince – Fappiano – Unbridled – Empire Maker – Pioneerof the Nile (sire line)
Candy Boy – Fappiano – Cryptoclearance – Ride the Rails – Candy Ride (sire line)
Conquest Titan – Fappiano – Unbridled – Grindstone – Birdstone (sire line)
Cool Samurai – Fappiano – tail female line of sire First Samurai
Giancarlo –Fappiano – Roy – Zenith (tail female sire line)
Gold Hawk – Fappiano – Unbridled – Empire Maker (sire line)
Havana – Fappiano – Unbridled – Unbridled’s Song – Dunkirk (sire line)
Intense Holiday – Fappiano – Unbridled – Unbridled’s Song – Intensify (brood sire line)
Mexikoma -- Fappiano – Unbridled – Grindstone – Birdstone (sire line)
Midnight Hawk – Fappiano – Quiet American – Real Quiet – Midnight Lute (sire line)
Misconnect – Fappiano – Unbridled – Unbridled’s Song (sire line)
Mr. Speaker – Fappiano – Unbridled – Salute (broodmare sire line)
Exit Stage Left -- Fappiano -- Unbridled -- Unbridled's Song -- Noonmark (sire line)                                                                                                                                                       Rise Up – Fappiano – Unbridled – Unbridled’s Song—Rockport Harbor (sire line)
Roman Unbridled – Fappiano – Unbridled – Unbridled’s Song (broodmare sire line)
Shared Belief – Fappiano – Cryptoclearance – Ride the Rails – Candy Ride (sire line)
Uncle Sigh – Fappiano – tail female line

Through Tapit, whose broodmare sire is Unbridled, by Fappiano

Coup de Grace
Tap It Rich

Through Bernardini, whose broodmare sire is Quiet American, by Fappiano

Unknown Road

As shown above, among those from Fappiano’s sire line are successful sires, both young and older, such as Empire Maker, Midnight Lute, Candy Ride, Unbridled’s Song, Dunkirk, Pioneerof the Nile, and Birdstone.

Breaking down this impressive group of 3-year-olds, you have the winner of the Champagne Stakes (Havana), the one-two finishers of the CashCall Futurity (Shared Belief and Candy Boy), winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (Tapiture), winner of the Delta Downs Jackpot (Rise Up), winner of the Sham Stakes (Midnight Hawk), winner of the Dania Beach Stakes (Mr Speaker), winner of the Gold Rush Stakes (Exit Stage Left), winner of the Big Drama Stakes (Roman Unbridled), winner of the Swynford Stakes (Conquest Titan), and the runners-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Havana) and Remsen Stakes (Cairo Prince). There’s also the fourth-place finisher of the Remsen and Nashua Stakes (Intense Holiday), as well as impressive allowance winners Conquest Titan, Gold Hawk, and Coup de Grace.

It should be no surprise that Fappiano proved to be such a dominant sire, being by Mr. Prospector, out of the Dr. Fager mare Killaloe, who produced five black-type horses and seven horses who earned over $100,000. Killaloe’s dam, Grand Splendor, a daughter of Tartan Stable’s foundation mare Cequillo, also produced Gonfalon, the dam of the brilliant Ogygian.

In addition to Grand Splendor, Cequilllo produced Man o’ War Stakes winner Ruffled Feathers; Hot Dust, who won or placed in 16 stakes, including the Travers, Widener Handicap, and Fountain of Youth; Quiet Charm, the granddam of Quiet American; multiple stakes winner Tequillo, and Expectancy, the dam of Dr. Patches, the champion sprinter of 1978 who won the Meadowlands Cup at 1 1/4 miles and the Vosburgh at seven furlongs, and who upset Seattle Slew in the Paterson Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. Dr. Patches also equaled the track record at Belmont for a mile and set a new track record at 1 ¼ miles at the Meadowlands. Expectancy also produced Who’s for Dinner, who won or placed in 12 stakes, including the grade I Arlington  Handicap and United Nations Handicap twice.

As for Fappiano, he won the Metropolitan Handicap at a mile, the Forego Handicap at seven furlongs, and the Discovery Handicap at 1 1/8 miles.

When he retired, Nerud, realizing his amazing potential as a sire, syndicated him for $300,000 a share. Who knows what the extent of his influence would have been had he not died of laminitis at the young age of 13.

The Keyword is ‘If’

In this initial look at the Derby picture, we’re going to throw some “ifs” around in preparation for the first Derby Dozen, which will not be an easy task this year (Is it ever?).

If Conquest Titan can duplicate his allowance victory in the Holy Bull Stakes, he is going to give Cairo Prince and everyone else more than they can handle. As it is, he is a Top 5 contender right now, based on his electrifying turn of foot and powerhouse move between and around horses in the allowance race. It was the first time they’ve taken him far back off the pace after his unsuccessful attempts at being a speed horse. He has the mind and the raw talent to be any kind. Wynn had him at 85-1 and the Holy Bull could make those odds look like the bargain of the year.

If Mr Speaker can handle dirt (and he sure is bred for it) in the Holy Bull the way he’s handled grass, the sky’s the limit for this regally bred colt by Pulpit, out of Salute, who has shown the kind of acceleration and willingness to go through tight spots you want to see in a young horse. The ideal scenario in the Holy Bull is for both him and Conquest Titan colts to move forward and establish themselves as legitimate Derby contenders. Shug McGaughey also has Honor Code, who is the most magnificent physical specimen we’ve seen so far from this group, but don’t forget about Top Billing, who has a bright future, as well.

If we’re bold enough to put Wicked Strong ahead of Shared Belief, Honor Code, Havana, and the other top Derby horses, we could have a live 50-1 shot (at Wynn) at the top of the list. Everything about his maiden score and his third in the Remsen, in which he closed into blazing final fractions and was just getting in gear in the final 70 yards, indicates this is major talent who is only going to get better. He still has learning to do, as he shied from the whip on three occasions in the stretch, but is in the capable hands of Jimmy Jerkens.

If Gold Hawk can come close to duplicating his first two races in his stakes debut in the LeComte Stakes, in which he looked brilliant and displayed a beautiful way of going, Steve Asmussen could actually have a better shot at the Derby than he did with the very lightly raced Curlin. For all the RF (Rasmussen Factor) followers (me being one), this colt is inbred to the Tartan Stable mare Grand Splendor through her daughters Killaloe, dam of Fappiano, and Gonfalon, dam of Ogygian.

If Mexikoma continues to work steadily at Palm Meadows, he should return with a vengeance following a less-than-ideal trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and should stamp himself as a leading Derby contender right off the bat. That maiden romp at Delaware Park was just too good a race from a visual standpoint.

If Shared Belief handles the dirt and stays sound (no more minor setbacks), he looks like The Big Hoss; it’s as simple as that. No one has come close to duplicating what he accomplished last year and good how he looked doing it. He’s just a flat-out talented horse with a killer turn of foot. But all his starts have been on a synthetic surface. From the side, you have to love the way he drops his shoulder and covers ground down the stretch. But the only nagging little thing is his stride from a head-on view. He has a tendency to angle his body in and doesn’t get his legs under him the way you’d like to see, especially the way he paddles his left front leg. This won’t affect his performance and could mean absolutely nothing in the long run, and his connections are unconcerned.

If Havana looks like anything like a Derby horse in his return and gives any indication he wants to go a distance of ground, he’s as brilliant as any of them, and his credentials of winning the Champagne and finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile were as impressive as any 2-year-old. Remember, his sire, Dunkirk, ran huge to finish second in the Belmont Stakes and his broodmare sire, Kyle’s Our Man, is from a stout Darby Dan family.

If Bob Baffert can keep his army intact this year, he should hold a powerful hand, even with the loss of New Year’s Day. Midnight Hawk still has improving to do, but his Sham score was a big step forward, as he did most of it on his own.

So, consider this just a teaser as the first Derby Dozen approaches.


Leave a Comment:


We must remember that all these hopefuls are from the Native Dancer 'sire line'....he still lives thru all his MANY MANY MANY amazing descendants!

13 Jan 2014 9:04 PM
White Plains Eric

Appreciate the pre-Derby Dozen list, Steve.  I have my eye on Vicar's in Trouble who may be going in the Lecomte this weekend.  May make it onto your list if he starts.  I think he's 200-1 in Vegas.  

13 Jan 2014 9:30 PM

Super duper,Steve, as usual.looking forward to the Derby Dozen. also hope Noble Moon has a shot.

13 Jan 2014 10:05 PM

Ahh, a little teaser works for me, fever has gone down a bit.  Glad to see 4 of my long list so far made this list.  I'm watching Rise Up, Gold Hawk, Havana and Cairo Prince.  I'm looking at Empire Maker's and Rockport Harbor colts this year.

13 Jan 2014 10:11 PM
Mister Frisky

Unbridled was another great sire who died much too young and was on the way to being the next Storm Cat.Got an up close look at him summer 91 at Del Mar backside.He was as impressive a specimen as they come.

13 Jan 2014 10:47 PM
Arch the phoneman

Thanks Steve. Looking forward to the Derby Dozen and the chatter that it inspires. I appreciate your great work.

13 Jan 2014 11:13 PM

Conquest Titan caught my attention heading into the BCJ. I was surprised to see a Birdstone colt leading the likes of Havana, strong Mandate and company.  

He has some similarities to Mine That Bird. They both won the Swynford Stakes in Canada and went on to finish last in the Breeders Cup juvenile.

Both horses are small and were produced from unraced mares.

Both horses seem to perform at their best when covered up and asked to run late. Conquest Titan made a Mine That Bird Derby type move to sweep by all and won going away in his last race. He was last following fractions of 22, 45, 1:10 to win in a final time of 1:35.27.

The Holy Bull should certainly give some indication of whether or not he is a serious Derby contender.

13 Jan 2014 11:13 PM

Did not like that 13 1/5 (last eighth) that Midnight Hawk turned in.

Don't think he is a very good horse.


...because the horse he beat (AKA: "Kristo") is not very good either

14 Jan 2014 2:15 AM

Thanks again Ben for a great piece on another great horse.

14 Jan 2014 8:02 AM

Love the analysis.  AP Indy and Unbridled were contemporaries, and since you expanded your examples to Unbridled's sire, maybe the same should be done for AP Indy's sire, Seattle Slew?  Including Bernardini's offspring is a bit double sworded, as he was sired by AP Indy.    

14 Jan 2014 8:50 AM
Proud Acres

hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, derby fever!  I love this time of year!

14 Jan 2014 9:00 AM


Midnight Hawk was not under a strong drive to the line. He could have gone faster. Nice Colt.

14 Jan 2014 10:25 AM


Midnight Hawk's dam was sired by Wolf Power who hails from the Round Table sire line. His mares re rarely seen in Derby contenders.

In 2006 Steppenwolfer finished 3rd in the Derby won by Barbaro. His dam was sire by Wolf Power.

There have been two Derby winners whose dams were sired by a stallion from the Round Table line. The dams of Seattle Slew and Silver Charm were sired by Poker a son of Round Table.

Midnight Hawk's dam sire line does have some Derby history and I would not be too dismissive of this colt.  

14 Jan 2014 10:42 AM
Shelby's Best Pal

Just reading the words "Derby Dozen" put a smile on my face.  Bring it.

14 Jan 2014 10:49 AM

My love affair with the Mr. Prospector sire line is well documented. In 2013 the line recorded its 40th win in Triple Crown races with Palace Malice‘s victory in the Belmont. It should be noted that Curlin became the 10th grandson of Mr. Prospector to sire the winner of a TC race. He joined Cryptoclerance, Quiet American, Unbridled, Thunder Gulch, Elusive Quality, Street Cry, Roman Ruler, Distorted Humor and Northern Afleet. Five of his grandsons have sired Derby winners.

Clearly Mr. Prospector most successful male-line descendents as stallions are his grandsons. They have sired 13 horses that have won 18 TC races. Nine of his sons sired 11 horses that have won 14 TC races. Mr. Prospector sired 3 horses that won 3 TC races. His great grandsons and beyond have sired 4 horses that have won 5 TC races.

Of the 40 TC races won by the sire line, great grandsons and beyond have sired horses that account for 5 or 12.5% of the victories.  

What does all this data proves? Nothing when it comes on to the Derby. From the list compiled by Mr. Haskin only Top Billing was sired by a grandson of Mr. Prospector. Unless Ride On Curlin is off the Derby trail, he should have been part of the list by virtue of his 3rd place finish in the G1 Champagne. Subject to correction he is the only 2YO to have set a NTR.

Conquest Titan, Mr Speaker, Gold Hawk, Mexikoma, Shared Belief, Havana, Midnight Hawk, Cairo Prince, Candy Boy, Misconnect and Rise Up are all nice horses. However, their sires fall into an historic category that has had marginal success at best in the Derby in particular and Triple Crown in general. Top Billing and Ride On Curlin have positive history on their sides.

14 Jan 2014 12:10 PM

Great Job Steve...I am particularly interested in the Tapit line and I find him the emerging sire king.  Your comments on Dr. Patches in the  Meadowlands Cup and his upset of Seattle Slew in the Paterson Handicap brought back memories as being a Jersey boy I was present at the Big M both nights

14 Jan 2014 12:56 PM

So sad that Fappiano and Dr. Fager both died way too young. Good thing Native Dancer was around a while though, almost every horse running in the Derby decade after decade has his blood running through their veins.

14 Jan 2014 1:01 PM

Cris - the incomparable Native Dancer died young at only 17.  Imagine his influence if he would have lived a longer life....!   Cold Facts, why don't we call the "Mr Prospector" sire line what is really is - the "Native Dancer" sire line, since is it he who was the All Time Great that deserves some credit...?  :-)

14 Jan 2014 3:38 PM
Greg R

Even more reason for excitement about all these Fappiano line colts (especially through Unbridled):  Most of these have not run at Churchill Downs yet, but it has always seemed to me that Unbridleds and Unbridled-line horses favor Churchill, ie., they show an above-average affinity for Churchill.  Admittedly, this is an impression, and someone may be able to prove me wrong.  But if had a top mare prospect and wanted a Derby winner, I would breed her to a son of Unbridled.  Which reminds me, you didn't mention Broken Vow, did you?  What does that tell us?

14 Jan 2014 4:38 PM

Yay! Derby!

If I win one of the lotteries before May, I will get a big box and invite all the bloggers -- it will be fun to see everyone, and I mean everyone -- Ted, will you have birds on your hat?  Linda in Texas, will it be a pink Stetson with feathers?  Paula Higgins, will it be a quiet, classy hat with a swooping brim? Pedigree Ann and Sceptre, will you have various 5cross pedigrees spangled across a bowler?  -- I can dream.

Anyways, what about my usual comment: FILLIES!  I am looking forward to Ria Antonia and her run to the Roses!

14 Jan 2014 6:28 PM

Another great post Steve. I have long liked the Unbridled progeny. I love it when a stallion or mare passes on their greatness to successive generations long after they have left us. While I am not real fond of Tapit (too long in the back for my tastes), he does throw beautiful babies. Zenyatta's colt by him in 2013 is just about one of the prettiest foals born last year. It remains to be seen if he has racing talent, but from this gene pool, he should have! Bernardini seems to throw beautiful fillies. Both LaVille Rouge's filly and Rachel's were really fine. Would love to see one or both in the Triple Crown a few years from now. So Steve, please humor we ladies who adore you and include some reviews on the girls for 2014!

14 Jan 2014 8:26 PM

i don't understand all excitement over Midnight Hawk. He beat some very average horses and only 5 or 6 in race.Is he ready for 20 horse Derby Field (I think not).He might be a prospect for California racing but outside of California looks very average. Improvement needed.

14 Jan 2014 8:42 PM

You can thank Cequillo by Princequillo for Fappiano's success.  The tail side of Fappiano's pedigree is replete with stamina.  Again the sire is as great as the mare he is bred to.  I'm just tired of reading about the sire, with little regard for the mare.

14 Jan 2014 8:45 PM
Paula Higgins

MZ, LOL I will take the "quiet classy hat with the swooping brim?" Also, a few mint juleps to go. If I win the lottery, back at you. O.k., I like Gold Hawk and Shared Belief. I am hoping it will be a great year in racing. Horse racing makes my world happier and more interesting. I even have my husband on board. On a much sadder note, I just saw the news about St. Nicholas Abbey. Absolutely, heartbreaking.

14 Jan 2014 9:03 PM
Jean Chodkowski

I've been touting Fappiano as "the" Derby sire for years now, to the point where I used him as an example when explaining pedigrees in my book The Anatomy of Horse Race Handicapping - check it out at

14 Jan 2014 9:53 PM
Drinks from a glass !!

the fillies    still love sweet reason........

the boys ... honor code and wicked strong for sure...

14 Jan 2014 10:37 PM

Great opening salvo, Steve.  The Fappiano angle is very insightful. Conquest Titan and Cairo Prince are the cream of the ones you named in my view.  Its going to be another very interesting Triple Crown season.

As far the Kentucky Derby is concerned, Honor Code is the one they'll all have to beat in spite of having A P Indy as his sire and Storm Cat as his broodmare sire. The Remsen was nothing more than a very good exercise gallop for a colt that is not supposed to be so good so soon, therefore watch out. I'm resolved to be more conservative this season and not be too bullish about Honor Code so early but his future seems awfully bright from my vantage point (glad to be one of the first ones on his bandwaggon, spotting him as my Derby horse after the Champagne/ before the Remsen) as I'm determined to pick the Derby winner this year.

Shared Belief is impressive but will need to answer the stamina and dirt questions convincingly. More anon.  

15 Jan 2014 12:30 AM
Mike Relva


Really? Are you serious?

15 Jan 2014 1:46 AM

I'm anxious to see Exit Stage Left's next race, he's currently number one on my list...the "other" Jerry horse.  I think he'll take to dirt much better than Shared Belief, his papa seemed to love Churchill Downs.  I'm pretty sure he'll be Jerry's El Camino Real horse but I'm hoping they'll take him to Fair Grounds, use the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby trail.

15 Jan 2014 3:14 AM

Mr. Speaker:

He is a physically imposing and obviously talented colt. I first caught sight of him just before they entered the gates for the Diana Beach. Without knowing details of his past performances and connections I placed a small wager and was happy with the 10-1 return on investment.

Thereafter, I mentioned the colt to colleague and he specified that he was at Belmont Park for the colt’s 2nd start. He was curious as to why a colt with an overwhelmingly dirt pedigree was entered in a turf race. During the post parade he observed that the colt had extremely big hooves. Assuming collages assessment was correct, could this be the reason for the colt’s 4 starts on turf. Are horses with big hooves better on turf? The hove issue could be meaningless as the colt experienced and brilliants trainer should know best.

The dam sire of the 2013 Derby winner Orb was Unbridled. He is also the dam sire of Mr. Speaker. What are the prospects of him being the dam sire of successive Derby winners? Is this one of those insurmountable historic Derby hurdle?  It could be!

Very rarely do successive Derby winners have either the same sire or broodmare sire. With 130 plus years of Derby history it is very likely that this has occurred but certainly not in the last 50 years. In recent times Dixieland Band has been the closest to achieving the feat. In 2009 He was the dam sire of Derby winner Street Sense and in 2010 he was also the dam sire of the ill-fated Derby runner up Eight Belles. She had no chance of beating Big Brown but was a winner for effort.

Dixieland Band has been the most successful Derby broodmare sire in the last 15 years. Monachos, Street Sense and Eight Belles were all produced from mares sire by him. Unbridled is a close second. Orb, Shackleford and Dennis Of Cork were all produced from mares sire by him.

Unbridled has been and continues to be a major influence. Although Derby history is against Mr. Speaker being the next Derby winner, his dam sire is so influential that he is always positioned to unbridle history.

15 Jan 2014 7:56 AM


“The mare contributes so much more genetic material to her foals than the sire.”

While watching the DNA testimony in the George Zimmerman Trial, the DNA expert specified that the composition of a child is 50% of its mother and 50% of its father. I am no DNA expert but I imagine it is the same with horses. It is otherwise kindly pardon my ignorance.

“By the way, you tend to dwell on sire line pedigrees; you do know that there is a tail side to every horse's pedigree”

Immediately following the above quote, was LOL! Clearly you were amused by what you perceived to be my ignorance. Well anyone that has viewed the pedigrees of horses would be aware of the same. The fact that I chosen to focus on stallion lines does not render non-existent or meaningless tail lines.

Stallions that trace back to Native Dancer's most influential grandson Mr. Prospector have sired 28 horses that have won 37 Triple Crown races. Are you aware that Storm Cat has more sons as stallions than Mr. Prospector? How many winners of Triple Crown races have the stallions that trace back to Storm Cat sired? A grand total of one!

Obviously the pedigrees of the stallions that trace back to Storm Cat have tail sides just as those that trace back to Mr. Prospector.  Why the 37 to 1 ratio?  

Storm Cat stallions bred mares from some of the same lines as the Mr. Prospector stallion and have produced only one winner of a TC race.

How many winners of TC races have the stallions that trace back to Secretariat, Damascus, Buckpasser, Spectacular Bid, A P Indy, and Deputy Minister to name a few nave sired? Secretariat (0) Deputy Minister (1) Spectacular Bid (0) A P Indy (1) Buckpasser (2) Damascus (1)

To what do you attribute the overwhelming success of the Mr. Prospector line stallions? To what do you attribute the minimal and zero success of the stallion lines mentioned above?

The common denominator in the 28 horses that won the 37 Triple Crown races is they all trace back to Mr. Prospector. I focus on what I consider to fuel success. It might not be practical or right but in the absence of a better explanation, I will continue my focus.

15 Jan 2014 9:45 AM
Rusty Weisner

Derby Dozen! Derby Dozen!

Now I'm ready to get back in the game.

15 Jan 2014 10:51 AM
Rusty Weisner


Congratulations on your great tri in the BCC.  You had the last laugh last year.

15 Jan 2014 10:51 AM
Rusty Weisner


Thanks for that note about the track record by Ride On Curlin'.  I did not know that!

15 Jan 2014 11:08 AM
Saratoga AJ

Informative article on the early Derby trail. Got to love this time of year.

Glad you mentioned Wicked Strong, whose Remsen effort indicated he could be a major player down the road. I liked what I saw down the stretch and I believe he wins that race easily if it was a furlong longer...the Derby distance. He's a closer who was compromised by the snail like early fractions, and yet closed into a blazing final 1/16 of a mile or so as you pointed out


15 Jan 2014 11:54 AM
Linda in Texas

Hi Steve - In light of the fact that i usually am off topic, please allow me to be consistent and start the new year out by noting that beginning January 31, 2014 and going thru February 18, 2015, in The Chinese Zodiac this is known as The Year of The Horse. I think that fact is close enough to the sport of horses that we all love, to make mention of it. I hope the rest of the year is kind to the horses, so i don't start my day by reading about the loss of anymore horses way before their time. Thanks Steve this list is a start for me to study up!

15 Jan 2014 12:45 PM


Did I just read that you are touting a son of A P Indy to win the Derby? It appears you have abandoned the Late Development Syndrome theory as it relates to A P Indy and his line of stallions.

Is Honor Cope a likely Derby winner? A P Indy and Storm Cat retired without siring a Derby winner. They were bred to some of the best mares America had to offer. They are now expected to combine for a Derby winner? Interesting!

The KDFP #1 that closed at the end of November contained 24 betting interests. The dams of four of the betting interests were sired by Storm Cat i.e., Coup de Grace, Honor Code, Ride On Curlin and Shared Belief. I have seen other 3YOs that reflect Storm Cat as dam sire. Storm Cat is certainly well repented in 2013.

History reflects that with so many horses with Storm Cat mares on the Derby Trail, a Derby winner is unlikely to emerge. Is this bad news? No!

Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat was sired by Storm Cat and was out od a A.P. Indy mare. Derby runner-up aptitude was sired by A P Indy and was out of a Northern Dancer mare. Rags To Riches was a product the A P Indy/Northern Dancer cross.

The A P Indy/Northern Dancer cross has been fairly successful. Your only worry should be the 11 betting interests contained in the KDFP #1 who are from the Mr. Prospector sire line.

15 Jan 2014 3:34 PM

It would be fitting to have Honor Code win the Derby for, arguably, the two most influential sires over the past 2 decades. His is only fooling around at present, and what presence. Mind you, there are some very talented Tapits, Pulpits, and other A.P. Indys he will have to beat.

15 Jan 2014 3:44 PM

Coldfacts: Regarding your question "Did I just read that you are touting a son of A P Indy to win the Derby?" I have to say that your memory is beginning to age because I addressed my post to you last year in which I picked Honor code as my Derby horse and wrote that I fancied Shug McGaughey to score back to back Derby victories. Anyway, I see Honor Code as an exceptional talent and an exception to the late development syndrome "rule" in the A P Indy colts that has denied Derby success to date. I think that Honor Code is so good that even though he will really blossom later, his ability during the Derby season will be good enough. Having Storm Cat so close up in his pedigree is a concern in terms of the stamina limitation influence of that broodmare sire but Honor Code acts like he unaffected and wants a distance of ground.

Steve's brilliant parsing of the RAN/Mr Prospector sire line to reveal the dominance of Fappiano should be lauded by you. Fappiano is the strongest paternal influence of that sire line on Derby winners Unbriddled, Grindstone and Mine That Bird.

The Derby trail has only just begun and already the "Todd squad" has begun to expose its arsenal in that eyecatching performance of the Tapit colt, Constituton. Look out for the Tapit offsprings to become stronger, as he started out with covering modest mares but will from hereon be showing what he can produce with the elite broodmare bands that he's been covering. His progeny should be staying further than 9 furlongs from now on and he has showe the potential to throw "special ones".

There are a few unheralded, nicely bred colts that I'll be watching that potentially could have "special" qualities: Awesome Sky and Gambler's Ghost are among them never knows but the speculation is great fun.

Rusty Weisner: Happy New Year. Yes I certainly enjoyed being vindicated in my Breeders Cup Classic analysis and predictions.  You didn't do too badly yourself. Now its unto the Dery preps. Who do you like in the Holy Bull?


15 Jan 2014 8:14 PM
Pedigree Ann

Coldfacts - Wolf Power was basically a miler who outclassed a field at 10f; his sire Flirting Around was a sprinter/miler, whose best win was the 5f King's Stand S(G1), while his dam was by John's Joy, a good blue-collar source of sprint/mile speed. With Midnight Lute's own questionable distance proclivities, it is hard to see where the Derby stamina would come from in Midnight Hawk.

Round Table was a fish-and-foul mating - a staying sire with a staying pedigree and a sprinting mare with a sprinting pedigree. He was that rare perfect synthesis of the two, while his full sister Monarchy took after mom. At stud, Round Table could throw either way - the fast, distance-limited early maturer or the distance-loving, later maturing sort. The son who sired the dams of two Derby winners, Poker, was one of the staying types, while the most of those who made a name as stallions were the first type - Baldric II (in Australia), Apalachee, Tell, King's Bishop, Targowice (in France), Take Your Place, Brahms, Artaius, et. al. Just to remind you that not all sons of a stallion are equivalent and have to be evaluated on their own talents and accomplishments, not their sire's.

15 Jan 2014 8:31 PM
Pedigree Ann

Wicked Strong is one I have my eye on. Despite the trotting-horse pace early in the race, he was able to close significant ground on the lead horses in the stretch. And he has a better staying pedigree than most - Turkoman, Charismatic, Summer Squall, With Approval in the first three generations, all on top of a Fred Hooper-developed female family.

15 Jan 2014 8:43 PM

Coldfacts: It could be that the stars will align and beautiful Honor Code will be the next TC winner. He certainly has the pedigree and the look in his eye of a champion. I have felt for years that the next TC winner will carry the blood of my beloved Secretariat.

16 Jan 2014 3:44 PM
Carlos in Cali


I agree.


My stubborn,'the-world-is-flat,what dinosaurs?'.. thinking brethren!

Your "theory" regarding AP Indy and his progeny should've been laid to rest the second he won the Hollywood Futurity as a 2yo AND especially when Pulpit,from his 1st crop,did what he did...

16 Jan 2014 5:34 PM
Jean in Chicago


I didn't see Mary's comment that you quoted (the dam contributing more genetic material than the sire) so I can't respond directly to her.   Yes, the male and female each contribute 50% of the genetic material (not withstanding the Jockey Club's weird definitions of siblings), but it turns out that some genes are repressed while others are expressed.  New research has shown that the stallion is responsible for the formation of the placenta and that this may be the explanation of the broodmare sire effect.  The research is from Cornell and published in : Proc Nat Acad Sci, 2013 June 25; 110(26); 10705-10.  A nice recap is in The Horse, Sept 22, 2013.

We do pay attention to the tail line and personally, just going by percentages, I'd rather someone give me the foal of a great broodmare like Somethingroyal or Urban Sea than pretty much any stallion.  Although, I sure wouldn't say no to any of Galileo's babies.

16 Jan 2014 6:06 PM

Day of Fury will be unveiled Friday at Santa Anita in the 5th race..................

16 Jan 2014 6:40 PM

Sorry I meant the 6th race............

16 Jan 2014 6:41 PM

Jean in Chicago,

“The mare contributes so much more genetic material to her foals than the sire.”

I have seen the above statement posted on many occasions. The obvious question has to be, how much more? If a foal is 50% of its dam and 50% of its sire, what measures are used to determine the extent of the dam’s greater genetic material input? Conversely, what measures are used to determine the extent of the sire’s lesser genetic material input? Is there a verification test?

In the absence of acceptable answers to the above questions, I cannot buy into something that cannot be substantiated.

Despite the litany of G1 winning mares in the last 40 years that have transitioned to broodmares, none have produced a Kentucky Derby winner. This is despite being bred to some of the best stallions in the US. Do mares selectively determine when they provide the greater genetic input? Is it to be assumed that some mares do not provide greater genetic material when the resulting race horse is moderate?

Something Royal the dam of Secretariat produced a full sibling to the great horse that could not get out of its own way. Did she withhold her greater proportion of genetic material on that occasion?

Unraced mares are amongst the best producers of champion thoroughbreds. In fact, unraced mares have produced more Derby winners than G1 wining mares in the last 40 years. G1 wining mares have race records and consequently their abilities are known. Unraced mares do not and consequently they are unknown quantities outside of their pedigrees. Does racing inhibit a mare’s capacity to provide this greater proportion of genetic material?

In many instances a mare will produce one possibly two exceptional horses despite being bred to several stallions. Is it safe to assume that moderate horses are victims of the absence of their dams grater genetic material?

Some brilliant race mares turnout to be disappointing broodmares. Why? They like all other mares provide a greater proportion of genetic material for foals.

16 Jan 2014 11:43 PM

Carlos in Cali: I should've guessed that Honor Code would pull you out of your hiatus (LOL). Well it seems we might not have much to rumble about this Triple crown season ...only be cautious because an A P Indy offspring is yet to land the Kentucky Derby.  My theory still holds (not my wish, just clear evidence). Honor Code appears to be an exception to the rule. Let's pray that he stays free from injury/setbacks.

17 Jan 2014 12:03 AM

Well, in 1873, in the US, the American studbook was created which catalogued the sires of the leading horses. It marked the beginning of the rationalization of the business of horseracing. A stallion named Lexington emerged as the leading sire and he would continue to lead for 14 years as owners of broodmares from far and wide, looking for a competitive advantage, sent him their mares. The studbook propagated the idea that genetic inheritance rested with the male. Stud service became big business leading to more and more stallions from around the world being imported to North America.

Suddenly, females stopped running against males. Almost all races became segregated by gender and the entrants in the big open stakes races were mostly male. Female ability didn't decline, as the new sires were producing offspring of both sexes, but these races became significant in establishing potential sires. It was why many of these races were created at all. They were showcases for future sires and built the illusion that the significant talent that would give you an edge came from males. Fillies beating up on colts is simply bad for business.As modern horseracing took shape, sexist attitudes developed about fillies. They should avoid these races because after all, they aren't as good as males. They have their own little races with smaller purse money. The reading I did at Humber was like stepping back in time. The views of female horses were adapted from the most reactionary judgements of humans. Females are temperamental I read, sulky, especially when menstruating. Unlike males, you can't hit them. They are weaker and frailer. Train them easier than males. And on and on. It suggested a self-fulfilling prophecy. Theories to explain the genetic superiority of males were nonsense.

17 Jan 2014 12:40 AM
Rusty Weisner


You are sorely mistaken - I did terribly in the BC, ate chalk.

Don't know about the Holy Bull - that's next weekend.  I'm trying the Lecomte this weekend, first bets since the BC.  I'll try Vicar's In Trouble and will take him over Golden Hawk.  Races 7,8, 9 are all good and this circuit was the top one last year.  There's a big 3-yo filly prospect in R7, Unbridled Forever.  

17 Jan 2014 3:05 PM

After Tamarando beats up on more Cal breeds, Jerry will send him to Turfway to win the Spiral and off to Churchill.  Breed to love going longer on his female side and Churchill will be great for his running style.

17 Jan 2014 7:46 PM

Rusty Weisner: in the LeComte I'll go along with you with Vicar's in Trouble but I like Smarty's Echo for the exactor.

The Holy Bull a week away is shaping up nicely. So far I fancy Almost Famous ahead of Cairo Prince and Conquest Titan ...we'll see.

18 Jan 2014 7:53 AM

Exit Stage Left won the Cal Derby today on the lead, not sure I liked the way he ran the race.  I do like the fact that he repelled the 1 horse and was actually pulling away in the end.  Now I'm really anxious to see him on dirt, I'm confident he'll be a lot better on it.   I hope Jerry takes him to Fair Grounds, since he has Shared Belief and Tamarando here.

19 Jan 2014 12:43 AM

Steve, Dance Card's younger brother, Hartford, was extremely impressive in his debut but I thought Tonalist, another exciting Tapit colt, was as equally impressive in winning at Gulfstream Park.

As for the Eclipse Awards, why not eliminate the human factor - points given to major races so that a racehorse's body of achievement, throughout the year, is truly appreciated. Oxbow, as an example, may as well not even run yet has a superior race record over the Eclipse winner.

19 Jan 2014 2:07 AM
Jean in Chicago


I'm not arguing with you, I'm just saying that breeding a great horse is a whole lot more complicated than anybody has yet figured out. The old saying 'breed the best to the best and hope for the best' may sum it up, with the 'hope for the best' being the most important part.  

Somethingroyal certainly was not a highly raced mare (1 race, unplaced) and she produced Sir Gaylord and Secretariat from 2 different sires.  The repeat breeding to Bold Ruler obviously did not produce a second Secretariat.  Urban Sea had a great racing career and, before her untimely death, produced My Typhoon, Sea the Stars and Galileo.

 Beyond the obvious fact that a foal spends the first 11 months of its life inside the mare and therefore her physical condition may have an effect, I have no idea what produces top notch offspring.  The years of planning that lead John Nerud to Fappiano could have failed at any point along the way.  Its another one of those situations where everything has to go right and nothing can go wrong.

But hope springs eternal in horse racing.  That's the reason buyers paid astonishing prices for Galileo's offspring this past year and the only sure thing about these horses is that some of them will never race and some of them will never win.  But people wrote those gigantic checks hoping that the one they bought will be the next Frankel.  And if that happens, we still won't know whether to give the 'credit' to the mare or the sire.  

19 Jan 2014 3:25 PM

Davids : I don't think Oxbow's record comes anywhere near WTC's record this year.    I'm not sure what you mean by he has a superior record than WTC...

WTC : 2 Grade 1 wins, 2 Grade 2 wins.

Oxbow : 1 Grade 1 win and 1 Grade 3 win

Unless you're arguing for a head to head record between the two.

19 Jan 2014 3:59 PM

JayJay, that is correct - head to head - that's the record not a jaundice view by a turf writer. Apart from Steve, naturally, and a handful of others.

I preferred the results of The Blood-Horse polls but I have my bias' as well.

20 Jan 2014 3:36 PM

Davids : Fair enough, but if you're going to do a head to head comparison, you can't leave out Palace Malice who beat Oxbow in the Belmont and placed higher in the Risen Star.  Oxbow did place higher in the KY Derby.

20 Jan 2014 9:59 PM

Hey does anyone know anything about Barbaro's siblings?

Of course we all know for whatever reason they were moved from Mike Matz' training barn. Since they are Dynaformer progeny interested to know what they're up to.

22 Jan 2014 3:23 PM

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