ANOTHER DERBY SHOT FOR FLOWER ALLEY

In the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Flower Alley was making very promising forward progress, when his momentum was halted by the imploding front-runner, Spanish Chestnut. Winner of the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) and runner-up to Afleet Alex in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) going into the race, Flower Alley, was unable to recover, and finished ninth. Flower Alley sidestepped the next two legs of the Triple Crown, but returned to show himself to be one of the best of his generation with wins in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) and by running an excellent second to Horse of the Year Saint Liam in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).

The blazing fractions established by Spanish Chestnut –  :22.28; :45.38 and 1:09.59 – set up the 2005 Derby for the closer Giacomo, who gained some redemption for the disappointing  Kentucky Derby effort by his sire, Holy Bull, who started favorite 1994 Run for the Roses. It’s somewhat appropriate then, that similarly wicked fractions established by Bodemeister, set up this year’s renewal for Flower Alley’s son, I’ll Have Another. It’s also the second time a descendent of Distorted Humor has thwarted the Empire Maker (sire of Bodemeister) line, Distorted Humor’s son, Funny Cide, beating Empire Maker himself in 2003.

I’ll Have Another is a member of Flower Alley’s second crop, and his first crop included the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) and California Oaks victress Lilacs and Lace; Bouquet Booth, victorious in the Delta Downs Princess Stakes (gr. III) and Silverbulletday Stakes; Jam’n Jackson, who took the K.L.A.Q. Handicap at Sunland Park, and stakes placed Sassy’s Dream and Desert Alley. I’ll Have Another was preceeded as a stakes winner from Flower Alley’s second crop by My Wandy’s Girl, a black-type scorer in Puerto Rico, and he has at least a couple of other recent three-year-old maiden winners that are worth watching.

Out of the Arch mare, Arch’s Gal Edith, I’ll Have Another is TrueNIcks rated a very solid B+ on the basis of the Distorted Humor/Kris S. cross, and Distorted Humor has done quite well with Roberto (sire of Kris S.) in general, getting another Derby winner – albeit the UAE (gr. II) version – in Regal Ransom, and several other stakes winners on the cross.

I’ll Have Another traces to an historic family, that of the Doncaster Cup winner, Galopade, who was imported to the U.S. in 1835, and wielded a tremendous influence in the breed, her descendents including outstanding four mile heat runner Lecompte (for whom one of the early Louisiana Derby trials is still named); the great racehorse and sire Domino; the major runner and sire Hamburg; the magnificent weight-carrier Discovery (the broodmare sire of Bold Ruler and Native Dancer), who comes from the same branch as I’ll Have Another; and  the Triple Crown winner Affirmed.

In more recent generations, the cross gives some interesting patterns. Distorted Humor and Princess Olivia – the sire and dam of Flower Alley – are both Raise a Native/Northern Dancer crosses, as is Lycius the sire of Princess Olivia. Aurora, the dam of I’ll Have Another’s broodmare sire, Arch, is a Northern Dancer/Raise a Native cross. In Flower Alley the Raise a Native is through Mr. Prospector, in Arch, it is through Alydar, a horse with a very similar pedigree background to Mr. Prospector (Alydar is in the dams of at least five Distorted Humor stakes winners, and is sire of the second dam of Flower Alley’s other grade one winner Lilacs and Lace). And, in both Distorted Humor and Aurora, the Northern Dancer is represented through Danzig.

It’s also worth  noting addition to coming up with I’ll Have Another, who is is a grandson of Forty Niner, the branch of the family descending from I’ll Have Another’s fifth dam, Patelin, has done very well with Pleasant Colony the cross producing grade one winner Roanoke (a very close relative to I’ll Have Another’s granddam, Force Five Gal), Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Pleasant Stage, and graded winners Stage Colony and Colony Play, as well as several good producers. Perhaps it’s not coincidence that Forty Niner’s dam had Ribot/Double Jay/Nasrullah close up in her pedigree, while Pleasant Colony is by a son of Ribot, out of a mare bred on a Double Jay/Nasrullah cross. In addition to I’ll Have Another by a son of Distorted Humor with a second dam by a son of Pleasant Colonty, there are also at least four other stakes winners by Distorted Humor out of mares carrying Pleasant Colony, so that affinity has clearly established its potential.

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