NYQUIST – Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle by Foestry – Undefeated Champion Two-Year-Old, Nyquist appeared to have improved over winter, taking the seven furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) in 1:20.71, with a 101 Beyer Speedfigure and he confirmed that impression with a victory in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
Nyquist’s is from the first crop of another Champion Two-Year-Old Uncle Mo. Last year’s Leading Sire of Two-Year-Olds and Leading Freshman Sire, Uncle Mo is turning into a prolific black-type sire, and he already has 22 first crop black-type horses, 12 stakes winners, four graded, with a number having made their presence in early classic preps. It’s easy to overlook –
since, due to illness, Uncle Mo’s second season was something of an anti-climax following his sensational two-year-old campaign – but Uncle Mo absolutely train on as witnessed by his 118 Beyer achieved while beating older horses in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II). We think Uncle Mo was really a natural miler type, and he’s likely to be more of an influence for speed than stamina, although that won’t preclude him getting two turn types out of mares with stamina.
It doesn’t appear, however, that stamina is the long-suit of Nyquist’s family. His dam, Seeking Gabrielle, is a six furlong winner by the sprinter/miler Forestry, also sire of sprint stakes winners Smokin Forest out of sister to the dam of Seeking Gabrielle. The second dam, Seeking Regina, won the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at two, and she is dam of Seeking the Sky (three-quarters sister to the dam of Nyquist), a graded stakes winning sprinter, who herself produced grade one winning sprinter/miler Sahara Sky to stamina influence Pleasant Tap.
This is the pedigree of a sprinter/miler type. Most top-class versions of these are good enough to beat their own age group at 8½ furlongs at two, and the very best can stretch out against their own age group in the spring, if they still have a maturity/class advantage. Nyquist’s Beyer dropped backed to a 94 in the Florida Derby, which may not have taken much winning when Mohaymen failed to fire. He may well be the best horse in the race, but there is a strong chance that ten furlongs won’t be his ideal trip, the question is will he still have enough in hand of his contemporaries for this to matter?
GUN RUNNER – Candy Ride – Quiet Giant by Giant’s Causeway – He’s a winner of four of five, including the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), and last out, the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), and his only defeat was a fourth over a wet-track in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II).
Candy Ride proved his chops at ten furlongs when winning the Pacific Classic (gr. I) in a new track record. Numerous of his offspring have won major stakes at nine furlongs and up, with Shared Belief and and Misremembered winning grade ones at ten.
The dam, Quiet Giant, is a daughter of stamina influence, Giant’s Causeway, and was a grade two winner who earned black-type at nine furlongs. Quiet Giant is half-sister to Champion Older Horse and Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Saint Liam, three-quarters to nine furlongs graded winner Congressionalhonor, and to the dam of of Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) scorer Buster’s Ready. The granddam, Quiet Dance, is by Quiet American out of a three-quarters sister to Champion Irish Two-Year-Old Filly Minstrella, going back to the great runner and tap-root mare, Gallorette. Gun Runner appeared to be tiring late in the Risen Star, but that may have been a function of being close to a strong pace, and on pedigree his chances of getting ten furlongs are good.
DESTIN – Giant’s Causeway – Dream of Summer by Siberian Summer – Disappointing in the LeComte Stakes (gr. III), on his seasonal debut, Destin woke up next time out to take the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) in good style. He followed up by running down his pace-setting stablemate, Outwork to take the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) setting a new track-record in the process. Giant’s Causeway, who was a grade one winner at 10½ furlongs, is generally an influence for stamina, albeit more frequently on turf. His best shot of classic glory in the U.S. would have probably been Eskendereya had that one not got injured prior to the race, and he’s also had Carpe Diem, who won the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), but was injured in last year’s Derby.
Destin’s dam, Dream of Summer was a top-class mare who was a graded winner from 6½ to 8½ furlongs, including the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I), and was second in the Santa Margarita Invitational (gr. I) at nine furlongs. She is also dam of Destin’s brother, Creative Cause, who won the Best Pal (gr. II) and Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) at two, and who at three added the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), was beaten a nose in the nine furlong Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) by I’ll Have Another, and finished third to that horse in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
BRODY’S CAUSE – Giant’s Causeway – Sweet Breanna by Sahm – Along with Destin, Brody’s Cause forms what looks at strong one-two punch for Giant’s Causeway. He took the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) and finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at two. Brody’s Cause failed to fire in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) first out this year, but impressed with a last-to-first victory in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) in his final prep. The dam, Sweet Breanna, is by Sahm, a nine furlong turf winner by Mr. Prospector out of Salsabil (a three-time classic winner who conquered colts in the Irish Derby (gr. I)). Sweet Breana was a stakes winner at 8½ furlongs, and is half-sister to stakes winner Jah, who was successful at up to 11 furlongs. The granddam, Sweet Roberta won the Selima Stakes (gr. II) and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). She’s by Epsom Derby (gr. I) winner Roberto and her dam, a Majestic Light half-sister to Cure the Blues, goes back to a three-quarters sister to Secretariat. The distance shouldn’t hold any fears here.
EXAGGERATOR – Curlin – Dawn Raid by Vindication – Enjoyed a good season at two, with wins in the Saratoga Special (gr. II) and the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (gr. III), a second in the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) and a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) after a rough trip. He proved he’d wintered well with a good second to Nyquist in the San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), but tired late after a big middle move from the rear in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II). In the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), run in the slop, he lingered way off a suicidal pace, then stormed through to score by 6¼ lengths. A look at the fractions indicates that contrary to the visual impression, Exaggerator merely slowed down less than his rivals, which leaves us to wonder whether he really relished the added distance or just benefitted from a shrewd ride on a wet surface, which he’s already shown he likes.
Exaggerator is by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who had no trouble with ten furlongs himself, and whose first three crops include Palace Malice, who took a Belmont Stakes (gr. I); Keen Ice, who ran down American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes (gr. I); Curalina, a grade one winner at nine furlongs; and Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Stellar Wind.
Exaggerator’s dam, Dawn Raid, a daughter of Champion Two-Year-Old Vindication, was stakes placed at two, when she won at 5 and 5½ furlongs. She is half-sister to Champion Canadian Older Mare Embur’s Song (a graded winner at up to 8½ furlongs) and sprint stakes winner Ten Flat. The granddam, Embur Sunshine (by Bold Ruckus) as a stakes placed sprinter, who never won beyond 5 furlongs. The third dam, who is by 1½ mile classic winner The Minstrel, is a three-quarters sister to Eternal Search, Champion Sprinter and Champion Older Mare in Canada.
There are lots of names associated with stamina in the pedigree, but the female line has tended to throw speed. We did think he was a stretching out miler, but the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) win at least raises the possibility that he could get the Derby trip.
MOHAYMEN – Tapit – Justwhistledixie by Dixie Union – The top-priced yearling at the 2014 Keeneland September Sales, at $2,200,000, Mohaymen started his career going five-for-five, four of those races coming in graded stakes, the Nashua Stakes (gr. II), Remsen Stakes (gr. II), Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) and Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). However, he ran way below form last out in the Florida Derby (gr. I), which may have been a consequence of being fairly consistently in action since early last fall, a humid day, or a wet track. He’s worked impressively since arriving at Churchill Downs, so perhaps he can rebound, in which case he would be a real threat.
His sire Tapit has been Leading Sire for the past two years. He took a Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at nine furlongs, and while a lot of his top runners have been best at 8½ or nine furlongs, he has no trouble getting horses who stay further out of mares with stamina, and in the last two years has had a Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner, Tonalist, and runner-up, Frosted. The dam won five straight at up nine furlongs, four stakes, including the Davona Dale (gr. II) and Bonnie Miss (gr. II), then finished second in the Acorn (gr. I). She would have started second favorite to Rachel Alexandra for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) but for being sidelined by injury. Her first foal was Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) captor, New Year’s Day. Justwhistledixie is half-sister to the Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II) winner Chace City. The fourth dam, Tiy, is ancestress of numerous stakes winners, including Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. I) scorer Shared Account. Mohaymen has an intriguing pedigree pattern, as Tapit is by Pulpit, a Seattle Slew/Mr. Prospector cross, and the dam of the broodmare, Dixie Union is also a Seattle Slew/Mr. Prospector cross. Meanwhile Tapit’s granddam is by a son of Northern Dancer out of a sister to Relaunch, where the dam of Mohaymen is a Northern Dancer/Relaunch cross. Mohaymen is isn’t guaranteed to get the 1¼ miles, but the potential is clearly there.
OUTWORK – Uncle Mo – Nonna Mia by Empire Maker – After forcing Destin to a track-record in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. I) Outwork became Uncle Mo’s third grade one winner, narrowly prevailing over the maiden Trojan Nation in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I). This was Outwork’s third win in four starts. Outwork is out of Nonna Mia, a three-quarters sister to a one-time Derby favorite, Cairo Prince – who missed the race through injury – and is a daughter of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) second and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner, Empire Maker (an example of Uncle Mo’s affinity for Fappiano in particular and Tartan/Genter strains in general). The second dam (by Holy Bull, another Tartan/Genter influenced pedigree), was a sprint stakes winner, and Nonna Mia who was grade one placed at two, proved to be a rare sprinting daughter of her sire. Although it’s to Outwork’s credit that he gutted out the Wood Memorial victory after battling through near-suicidal early fractions over a muddy track, his final furlong of :14.02, which was preceded by a quarter in :26:59 does little to convince that Outwork will benefit from additional distance.
CREATOR – Tapit – Morena by Privately Held – As odds-on favorite Cupid was fading from the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) fray, another, Creator, was coming from 15 lengths off the pace to take the win. Cupid is out of the Derby having been found to be suffering from an entrapped epiglottis after the race, but Creator will head to Churchill Downs with a solid shot. His dam, the Peruvian-bred Morena (by Chimes of Freedom’s staying brother, Privately Held, a son of Priave Account), was a champion in her native country, where she was a grade one winner at 1½ miles, and she was also grade one placed at ten furlongs in the U.S. The second dam is by the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) scorer, Summing, and the family goes back to a half-sister to Brown Bud, who won the 1927 Travers Stakes, and is sire of the third dam of Secretariat. Distance is going to be no problem for Creator, although he may need a strong pace to run into.
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS – Mineshaft – Uchitel by Afleet Alex – Broke onto the scene when coming from the clouds for a 2¾ lengths triumph in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III). Had a rough trip when trying to rally from thirteenth in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II), but was closing fast behind Creator in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). The sire, Horse of the Year Mineshaft, relished ten furlongs. He’s been a solid, rather than outstanding sire, but he’d tend towards being a stamina influence, and his offspring include ten furlong grade one winner Effinex, and nine furlong grade one wnners It’s Tricky and Dialed In.
The dam, Uchitel, is a daughter of Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex. She is out of graded winning and grade one placed Party Cited, a daughter of the long-winded Alleged. Uchitel is half-sister to nine furlong grded scorer Ready Set, and to Composure, who won the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), and is dam of nine furlong graded winner Penwith, who is by a son of A.P. Indy, like Suddenbreakingnews. Whether he is good enough or not remains to be seen, but Suddenbreakingnews looks as if ten furlongs will suit him well.
MOR SPIRIT – Eskendereya – Ima Dixie Girl by Dixie Union – Winner of 3 of 7 starts, including the Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) and Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III), and a staying second in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in his final prep. He’s from the second crop of Eskendereya (Giant’s Causeway), who would have started favorite for the 2010 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), had if not been for an injury, having scored dominating victories in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I). Eskendereya started slowly, and is now in Japan. He does now hove two first crop stakes winners, the best of which is grade two winner Isabella Springs. Mor Spirit is one of three stakes winners so far from his second crop.
The dam, Ima Dixie Girl, was a pure sprinter, winning from 4½-6 furlongs, including a pair of two-year-old stakes. She’s out of prolific regional stakes winner Im Out First, a daughter of speed influence, Allen’s Prospect, also the dam of First Ascent , a minor stakes winner at a mile. Im Out First is half-sister to nine furlong stakes winner Zenith, in turn dam of Great Hunter, successful in the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) and Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II), and to the dam of last year’s Champion Three-Year-Old Stellar Wind.
Mor Spirit is bred on an extended version of the cross that produced First Samurai (Giant’s Causeway/Dixieland Band). Both Eskendereya, and the broodmare sire, Dixie Union, are Northern Dancer/Seattle Slew crosses, and their dams are both Seattle Slew/Raise a Native (through Alydar in Eskendereya, and the similarly-bred Mr. Prospector in Dixie Union). The dam has a double of the influential mare Change Water. By U.S. standards, Mor Spirit is virtually a product of extremes. As we’ve said the dam was a pure sprinter, but there is little doubt that Eskendereya would have relished ten furlongs had he had the opportunity. On running style, the balance appears more in favor of Mor Spirit being his father’s son.
DANZING CANDY – Twirling Candy – Talkin and Singing by Songandaprayer – Winning three straight, Danzing Candy was starting to looked a bit like this year’s version of Firing Line or Dortmund – go out fast and don’t come back – when winning the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II). In the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), however, he went just too fast for his own good – although his jockey said Danzing Candy failed to handle the sloppy track – ending up a distant fourth after setting early fractions of :22.15 and 45.24.
Danzing Candy is from the first crop of Twirling Candy (Candy Ride), who we had down as a sleeper to watch at the end of last year, when he had no stakes winners, but nine stakes placed first crop two-year-olds. He now has two stakes winners and 11 total stakes horses. Twirling Candy is by a ten furlong grade one winner, out of a mare by a ten furlong grade one winner. He broke the track-record when winning the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs, but was also a graded winner at nine furlongs, and missed by a nose to Champion Acclamation in the ten furlong Pacific Classic (gr. I). Danzing Candy’s dam, Talkin and Singing is by Songandaprayer, who did win the Fountain of Youth Stakes (then gr. 1) at 8½ furlongs, but who imploded in the Kentucky Derby after setting the fastest early fractions on record. Talkin and Singing never won, but did place second over 8½ furlongs. The second dam, Bendita, by Nijinsky II’s speedy son, Baldski, was stakes placed at 8½ furlongs, and she is also half-sister to the turf standout, Better Talk Now, a horse who had no problems with 1½ miles. The next dam, the French-bred Bonne Note, is from a stout European family that also produced Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Stage Door Johnny. Like Candy Ride son, Gun Runner, Danzing Candy is inbred to Fappiano through Cryptoclearance and Unbridled. On pedigree the Derby distance is certainly a possibility, but not with the run style he’s displayed on his last two starts.
MO TOM – Uncle Mo – Caroni by Rubiano – Another of the legion of talented first crop three-year-olds by Uncle Mo. Won three of six, including the LeComte Stakes (gr. III), and finished well for third in the Risen Star (gr. III) after a rough trip, and was trying to close when charting a horrible course in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
The dam is by Champion Sprinter Rubiano, and has produced mile stakes winner Bella Castani (by Big Brown), and Beautician, a Dehere daughter who is a sprint stakes winner who also took second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The dam is half-sister to sprint graded stakes winner Kashatreya. He’s finished up well at 9 furlongs, but the pedigree is still a big question mark at the Derby distance.
MY MAN SAM – Trappe Shot – Lauren Byrd by Arch – My Man Sam, has only a maiden win in four start, but finished like the proverbial train to takes second in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on his most recent outing. He’s from the first crop of Trappe Shot (Tapit), who won the Long Branch Stakes at 8½ furlongs, was second in the Haskell (gr. I) at nine furlongs at three, but who did his best work as a sprinter the following year, when he won two stakes at six furlongs, and missed by a nose in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I). The dam, by Arch, was stakes placed at 8 ½ furlongs, and is half-sister Hudson Steele, a grade two winner at nine furlongs. It’s not exactly a conventional classic pedigree, but given his running style, he could just be a long-shot to watch.
SHAGAF – Bernardini – Muhaawara by Unbridled’s Song – The only survivor of what once looked a formidable Bernardini strike-force, Shagaf retained his unbeaten record with a grinding win over Laoban (another Uncle Mo) in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), but failed to fire after getting far back early on a wet track in the Wood Memorial. He is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare, Muhaawara, winner of the Sky Beauty Stakes. Muhaawara is half-sister to a long-winded son of Bernardini’s sire, A.P. Indy, in Eldaafer, whose 13 victories including the Breeders’ Cup Marathon Stakes (gr. III), Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), Greenwood Cup (gr. III) and Turfway Park Fall Championship Stakes (gr. III). Muhaawara and Eldaafer are out of the Tabasco Cat mare, Habibti, who won Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) and Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I) as a juvenile. She didn’t win at three, but did demonstrate that she had trained on with seconds in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) and Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) and a third in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). There is a further Kentucky Oaks connection in Habibti’s pedigree, as her dam, Miss Sobriety, is half-sister to the Gal In a Ruckus (by Bold Ruckus, from the same Boldnesian sire line as Bernardini’s grandsire, Seattle Slew), who took that race in 1995. As an aside, Gal in a Ruckus’s sister, Rambuckus, is third dam of another 2016 A.P. Indy line classic hopeful in Venus Valentine (by Congrats), upset winner of the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. II). Habibti’s third dam, Quillopoly, is also granddam of No Class, from whom descend such as Smart Strike, Dance Smartly, Sky Classic and Regal Classic. Shagaf is also interesting for being inbred to Fappiano through Bernardini’s broodmare sire, Quiet American, and through Unbridled, that pair having very similar Tartan/Genter influenced pedigrees. Shagaf looks one who is sure to stay, although he needs to improve significantly if he’s going to play a part in the Derby.
LANI – Tapit – Heavenly Romance by Sunday Silence. Japanese-trained Lani earned his way into the potential Kentucky Derby line-up with a last-to-first win in the UAE Derby (gr. II). Another Tapit, Lani is out of Heavenly Romance, who upset a top-class field to win the Autumn Tenno Sho (the Emperor’s Cup) over ten furlongs. She has previously been represented by Awardee, a graded winner at 11 furlongs, and Amour Briller, a stakes winner at 12 1/2 furlongs. The granddam, First Act, is a Sadler’s Wells three-quarters sister to Irish St. Leger (gr. I) scorer, Dark Lomond. First Act is out of Ribot’s daughter, Arkadina, who placed in the English and Irish Oaks (both gr. I), and who was a sister to Blood Royal, a group winner at two miles, and three-quarters sister to Gregorian, who was grade one placed at 12 furlongs. Arkadina’s dam, Natashka, won the Alabama Stakes (gr. I), and is from a branch of the Frizette family. Lani shouldn’t have problems with the distance if he appears at Churchill Downs, in fact he’s a staying type who might depend on a fast-pace to be really effective.
TOM’S READY – More Than Ready – Goodbye Stranger by Broad Brush – Tom’s Ready’s only win in nine starts has come in a maiden at Churchill Downs at two, but he’s also finished second in the LeComte Stakes (gr. III) and completed his Derby preparation with a closing second in the Louisiana Derby (gr. I). The sire, More Than Ready, did finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby, but shortened up to score his grade one win in the King’s Bishop Stakes, and has generally been an influence for speed more than stamina. Tom’s Ready is a brother to a stakes placed sprinter, but he does have some stamina on the distaff side with a first three dams by Broad Brush, Deputy Minister and Sham. The fourth dam, What A Treat, was Champion Three-Year-Old Filly of 1965. She’s probably most familiar in pedigrees these days through her European sire son, Be My Guest. She’s also third dam of ten furlong grade one winner Victory Speech (by Deputy Minister, and so closely related to Tom’s Ready’s granddam) and ancestress of the previously mentioned My Man Sam.
WHITMORE – Pleasantly Perfect – Melody’s Spirit by Scat Daddy – Winner of a maiden at Churchill Downs at two, and an allowance this year, Whitmore has been consistent since with seconds in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) and Rebel Stakes (gr. II) and a third in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I). He’s by Pleasantly Perfect, who won a Dubai World Cup (gr. I), Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and Pacific Classic (gr. I) at ten furlongs, and who is generally a stamina influence. There is no black-type in the first three dams, but the dam, who was unraced, does have an interesting pedigree as she is by Scat Daddy out of a mare by Tale of the Cat, a close relative to Scat Daddy’s sire, Johannesburg. The third dam is by Seattle Slew, and the fourth dam, a daughter of Forty Niner, is half-sister to three stakes winners, one of who produced the precocious Swiss Yodeler, later a good speed sire in California. Although the pedigree would give him a shot at getting the distance, his run style seems to be to make a move and then flatten late, looking more like a closing miler. Even if he is effective at the trip, he’s going to have to improve to play a part at Churchill Downs.
MAJESTO – Tiznow – Unacloud by Unaccounted For – Took five tries to complete his maiden, which he accomplished at Gulfstream Park at the end of February, but came right back to finish a staying on second in the Florida Derby (gr. I). He’s by veteran sire, Tiznow, hero of back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Classics (gr. I) and a proven stamina source. The dam, Unacloud, is by the stoutly-bred Unaccounted For, winner of the Whitney Stakes at nine furlongs, and beaten just a length by Cigar in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at ten.
Unacloud has previously produced Matron Stakes (gr. I) scorer Meadow Breeze (by speed influence Meadowlake), and the Dixie Union colt, Overanalyze, who took the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) by 4½ lengths. He’s got some improvement to find, but the distance shouldn’t be a problem.
OSCAR NOMINATED – Kitten’s Joy – Devine Actress by Theatrical – Winner of a maiden claimer at two, Oscar Nominated took the Black Gold Overnight Stakes at 7½ furlongs on the turf and then raced his way into the Derby field with a score in the Spiral Stakes (gr. III) on the all-weather at Turfway Park (the race that propelled Animal Kingdom, a Kentucky Derby winner on his dirt debut, into the classic field).
His sire, Kitten’s Joy, was a Champion Turf Horse, and won at 12 furlongs on that surface. He’s general an influence for middle-distance ability on grass. The dam is an 8½ furlong stakes winner on the all-weather, and is by another Champion Turf Horse in Theatrical. The granddam is by Mr. Prosepctor out of a half-sister to middle-distance grade one winner Dramatic Gold. Oscar Nominated should not have problems with the distance, and turf horses have often handled the Churchill Downs dirt, but even with both of those caveats, he has a lot to find to get into the picture.
TROJAN NATION – Street Cry – Storm Song by Summer Squall – Trojan Nation will be bidding to become the first maiden to take the “Run for the Roses” since Brokers Tip defeated Head Play in the “fighting finish” of 1933. He has so far run six times, and the first time he has been as near as second was when charging up the rail to miss by a head-bob in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I). It does have to be pointed out, however, that this was the slowest Wood on record, and that it took over 40 seconds for the final three furlongs.
Trojan Nation does at least appear to be headed in the right direction, and he has more than enough pedigree as he’s by the same sire as Derby winner Street Sense, out of Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Storm Song, also granddam of Order of St. George, who earned an official ranking as top stayer on last year’s World Thoroughbred Rankings after running away with the Irish St. Leger (gr .I) 14 furlongs. Order of St. George’s Ghostzapper half-sister, Angel Terrace, is a stakes winner in the U.S. at 10½ furlongs. Trojan Nation should cope with the Derby distance, but he’s going to need to find considerable improvement if he’s going to cause what would be one of the biggest upsets in living memory.