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On to Kentucky for Gemologist, I'll Have Another

The most recent weekend saw another pair of grade I Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps, with the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Derby on the West Coast. In New York, two of the leading Derby hopefuls, Gemologist and Alpha, had to finish in the first two to be certain of having sufficient graded earnings to make the field. In the event, they achieved that feat as Gemologist just held off Alpha to go into the Derby with an undefeated five-for-five record.

Although they are both from different sire lines and broodmare sire lines, Gemologist and Alpha do have some things in common. In addition to being by a pair of stallions for whom the 10-furlong trip held no terrors—Tiznow (TrueNicks,SRO) and Bernardini (TrueNicks,SRO)—they are also unusual in that they are out of mares whose broodmare sires, Mr. Prospector (a foal of 1970) and Nijinsky II (a foal of 1967), are virtual anachronisms, at least in terms of appearing that close up in current pedigrees.

Not surprisingly, Tiznow has seen relatively few daughters of Mr. Prospector in his time at stud, and there are only 13 foals of racing age bred on the cross. Of these, nine have started, and Gemologist (TrueNicks A++) is joined as a stakes winner by the grade II scorer Tizaqueena. Tiznow also has six stakes winners from 84 starters out of mares by sons of Mr. Prospector (two apiece out of daughters of Woodman and Gone West, one out of a mare by Seeking the Gold—who is bred on the same cross as Woodman—and one out of a mare by Carson City). He is also sire of three stakes winners from 44 starters out of mares by grandsons of Mr. Prospector, including grade I winner Bullsbay (TrueNicks,SRO) (dam by Lord Carson, a son of Carson City).

Gemologist’s dam, Crystal Shard, never ran, but she is a sister to Withallprobability, a three-time graded scorer who also took the runner-up spot in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Withallprobablity is now the dam of grade II winner With Ability, and granddam of the Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) victress Summer Colony. Bradmante, a Roberto half sister to Crystal Shard and Withallprobability, appears as dam of Japanese champion 3-year-old filly Still In Love. Their three-parts-sister Color Of Gold (by Seeking the Gold) produced Japanese Oaks victress Robe Decollete. Gemologist’s granddam, Sulemeif, is a graded stakes winner by Northern Dancer out of Barely Even, a prolific black-type scorer whose triumphs included the Ashland Stakes.

From the pedigree pattern standpoint, it’s interesting that Tiznow’s second dam, Lonely Dancer, is bred on a similar Northern Dancer/Olympia cross to Gemologist’s second dam, Sulemeif. Combining Tiznow with Storm Cat, another genetic relative to Lonely Dancer, has often provided dividends, and it will be interesting to see how Gemologist does with Storm Cat-influenced mares when he retires to stud.

Gemologist is owned by WinStar Farm, and a few hours after his victory, I’ll Have Another, a grandson of WinStar sire Distorted Humor (TrueNicks,SRO), repelled the Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO) colt Creative Cause to take the Santa Anita Derby. I’ll Have Another is from the second crop of Travers Stakes (gr. I) victor Flower Alley (TrueNicks,SRO)—who had the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) heroine Lilacs and Lace in his first crop—and this was the third recent classic trial taken by the offspring of a young son of Distorted Humor, following the victories of Hero of Order (second crop of Sharp Humor) in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and Princess Arabella (first crop of Any Given Saturday (TrueNicks,SRO)) in the Sunland Park Oaks.

I’ll Have Another looks unlikely to be found wanting on the score of stamina, as his dam is by Arch (TrueNicks,SRO) out a mare by Pleasant Colony, and the next two dams are by Nijinsky II’s son Caucasus (a grade I winner at 14 furlongs), out of a mare by the immortal Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe captor Sea-Bird II.

I’ll Have Another is rated A by TrueNicks and is a product of the Distorted Humor/Roberto cross that has produced five stakes winners from 50 starters, the best previoiusly being Regal Ransom (TrueNicks,SRO), successful in the UAE Derby (gr. II) and Super Derby (gr. II). In addition to the strong cross, the pedigree also presents some interesting patterns, with multiples of various Northern Dancer/Raise a Native pairings. The combination of Flower Alley’s grandsire, Forty Niner, with Pleasant Colony (in the dam of I’ll Have Another) is also interesting, as Forty Niner’s dam had Ribot/Double Jay/Nasrullah close up in her pedigree, while Pleasant Colony is by a son of Ribot and out of a mare bred on a Double Jay/Nasrullah cross. Distorted Humor has actually already sired at least four stakes winners out of mares carrying Pleasant Colony, so that affinity has also demonstrated its potential.

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