Going the Derby Distance 2016
By Valerie Grash, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
More so this year than in any year of recent memory (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015), the 10-furlong (1 1/4 miles) Kentucky Derby field is absolutely loaded with stamina potential, so it will take a wily bettor to look beyond the obvious factors like current form to find possible longshot plays.
Obviously, the handicapper must consider which Derby entrants blend the right combination of speed (usually from the sire) and stamina (proven through the damline). Furthermore, given that two recent Kentucky Derby winners, Animal Kingdom and I’ll Have Another, boasted terrific stamina damlines proven on turf, no longer can those “turf only” pedigrees be ignored.
With that in mind, let’s break down this year’s contenders into four categories:
Hands down, based solely on pedigree, these five contenders appear best qualified to get the Derby distance (in alphabetical order):
(Tapit, out of Morena by Privately Held)
It took six tries before Creator broke his maiden; he followed up that performance with a late-closing third-place finish in the 1 1/16-miles Grade 2 Rebel. While Creator lacks the class of many Derby contenders, his breeding suggests that he will only get better the longer the race. Certainly his sire Tapit has proven his mettle as a stamina influence by producing 12-furlong Belmont winner Tonalist and Belmont runner-up Frosted. So too have many horses in Creator’s damline, beginning with his damsire Privately Held, who won on dirt and turf as far as 1 3/16 miles, and who ran second in the 11-furlong (1 3/8 miles) Meadowlands Endurance Stakes. Creator’s second damsire is 12-furlong Grade 1 Belmont winner Summing. His multiple graded stakes-winning dam Morena was twice Grade 1-placed at 12-furlongs (1 1/2 miles) in Peru before coming to the U.S. where she was five-times graded stakes placed behind the likes of Canadian Champion Older Mare Serenading and Horse of the Year (and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee) Rachel Alexandra.
Gun Runner – SHOW (3rd)
(Candy Ride, out of Quiet Giant by Giant’s Causeway)
Stylish winner of the 9-furlong Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Gun Runner is beautifully bred for both speed and stamina. His undefeated sire culminated his brief six-race career with a victory in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Pacific Classic over Medaglia d’Oro. As a sire, Candy Ride has already proven to be a stamina-influence standout, with two-time 10-furlong Grade 1 winner Shared Belief, two-time 10-furlong Grade 1 runner-up Clubhouse Ride, 10-furlong Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap victor Misremembered and 10-furlong Grade 1 Pacific Classic runner-ups Twirling Candy and Kettle Corn. That stamina is definitely echoed in Gun Runner’s damline, with his damsire being 10-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Giant’s Causeway, his second damsire being 10-furlong Grade 1 Strub runner-up Quiet American, and his third damsire being 11-furlong French Group 2 winner Lyphard. Gun Runner’s Grade 2 winning dam Quiet Giant also captured the 9-furlong non-graded Rare Treat Stakes by 9 lengths before a narrow runner-up finish in the 9-furlong listed Ladies Handicap. Among her siblings are 9-furlong Grade 3 Bay Meadows Derby winner Congressionalhonor, 10-furlong Grade 1 Alabama third-place finisher Miss Besilu, and Quiet Now, the dam of 14-furlong Birdstone Stakes runner-up Irsaal. Those noteworthy up-close stamina performers are surpassed by Quiet Giant’s most successful sibling, her four-time Grade 1 winning half-brother Saint Liam who captured the 10-furlong Breeders’ Cup Classic in his career finale.
(Tapit, out of Heavenly Romance by Sunday Silence)
As winner of the 9 1/2 furlong (1 3/16 miles) Group 2 UAE Derby, Lani has successfully run farther than any other Derby contender thus far. That makes him a dangerous challenger if this mostly Japanese-raced colt can adapt to the American style of racing. Both his sireline and damline are resplendent with stamina, something his connections obviously recognized early on given that his first juvenile start was going the Derby’s 10-furlong distance, albeit on turf. His damsire Sunday Silence was a three-time 10-furlong Grade 1 winner (Kentucky Derby, Super Derby, Breeders’ Cup Classic); his second damsire Sadler’s Wells was not only a three-time Group 1 winner (twice at 10 furlongs), but also twice a Group 1 runner-up at 12 furlongs. His third damsire is undefeated legend Ribot, two-time 12-furlong Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victor and winner of the 15-furlong Gran Premio di Milano. That stamina-rich pedigree manifested itself nicely in Lani’s dam Heavenly Romance. Winner of the prestigious 10-furlong Japanese Group 1 Tenno Sho, as a broodmare she’s produced two other Japanese stakes winners between 10 and 11 furlongs. Also found among the many extreme stayers in Lani’s immediate damline are 14-furlong Group 1 Irish St. Leger victress Dark Lomond, and 18-furlong (2 1/4 miles) Japanese Group 3 winner Sage Wells. Since his sire Tapit has already produced 12-furlong Belmont winner Tonalist and Belmont runner-up Frosted, there should be no concern whatsoever about Lani’s stamina.
(Bernardini, out of Muhaawara by Unbridled’s Song)
If ever there was a “slam-dunk” horse in terms of dirt stamina pedigree, it is Shagaf. His sire Bernardini was twice a 10-furlong Grade 1 winner (Travers, Jockey Club Gold Cup); as a sire, his progeny include 12-furlong (1 1/2 miles) Grade 1 Belmont runner-up Stay Thirsty and 10-furlong Grade 1 Travers winner Alpha. Shagaf’s damline is equally impressive, as both his second damsire Tabasco Cat and his third damsire Temperence Hill won the Belmont Stakes. Shagaf’s two-time juvenile Grade 1-winning second dam Habibti, runner-up in the 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, finished third in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. As a broodmare, she’s produced two notable half-brothers to Muhaawara. Raced exclusively on turf in England, Elkaayed (by Distorted Humor) has won three times, once at 10 furlongs and twice at 10 1/2 furlongs. A three-time graded stakes winner at 12 furlongs, Shagaf’s other half-brother Eldaafer (by A.P. Indy) won the 14-furlong (1 3/4 miles) Grade 3 Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
(Street Cry, out of Storm Song by Summer Squall)
A maiden still, 9-furlong Grade 1 Wood Memorial runner-up Trojan Nation actually possesses an excellent stamina pedigree, beginning with his sire Street Cry, winner of 10-furlong Grade 1 Dubai World Cup. Among Street Cry’s best progeny: Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and 10-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic victress Zenyatta. Trojan Nation’s damsire is 1 3/16 miles Grade 1 Preakness winner and 10-furlong Kentucky Derby runner-up Summer Squall, while his third damsire is The Minstrel, a three-time Group 1 winner at 12 furlongs. One doesn’t have to go that far back, though, to recognize stamina performance in his damline. His two-time Grade 1 winning dam Storm Song, whose victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies propelled her to being named Eclipse champion 2-year-old filly in 1996, came back to finish third in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. As a broodmare, she’s produced a half-brother to Trojan Nation called Balladry (by Unbridled’s Song) who finished third in the 12-furlong (1 1/2 miles) Grade 3 Cougar II. Additionally, one half-sister to Trojan Nation has produced 11-furlong Grade 1 Singapore Gold Cup winner Better Life, while another has produced 10-furlong Group 2 Japanese Oaks Trial winner Midsummer Fair. An unraced half-sister to Storm Song, Happy Tune is the dam of both 9-furlong Grade 2 Ohio Derby runner-up High Cotton and 12-furlong Grade 3 Carleton F. Burke Handicap winner Symphony Sid.
There’s an awful lot to like about these contenders in terms of stamina (in alphabetical order):
(Giant’s Causeway, out of Sweet Breanna by Sahm)
A three-time Group 1 turf winner between 10 and 10 1/2 furlongs, Giant’s Causeway is often recognized by horseplayers as simply a stamina-rich turf sire. And yet in his career finale he finished a mere neck behind Tiznow in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. The wily handicapper also remembers that among his quality dirt progeny are 1 1/16 miles Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies victress Take Charge Brandi, 9-furlong Grade 1 Blue Grass winner Carpe Diem, 10-furlong Grade 2 Delaware Oaks victress Swift Temper, and two-time Grade 1 winner Giant Oak who finished third in the 14-furlong (1 3/4 miles) Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Now we have 9-furlong Grade 1 Blue Grass winner Brody’s Cause. On his damside, Brody’s Cause also possesses a number of positive stamina indicators, beginning with his dam Sweet Breanna, runner-up in the 9-furlong Woodbine Oaks. She’s produced a stakes-placed older half-sister to Brody’s Cause, Midnight Sweetie, who broke her maiden at 1 1/16 miles. Sweet Roberta, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up second dam of Brody’s Cause, also produced a half-sister to Sweet Breanna named Jah that not only won on dirt, but also handily captured an 11-furlong (1 3/8 miles) non-graded turf stakes race at Del Mar. Also among Sweet Breanna’s half-siblings are the dams of 9-furlong Grade 3 Spiral winner Went The Day Well and 16-furlong (2 miles) English Group 3 Queen’s Vase winner Duke of Venice. Really digging into his past, one finds that the fifth dam of Brody’s Cause is a half-sister to the dam of Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
(Giant’s Causeway, out of Dream of Summer by Siberian Summer)
The other Derby runner for sire Giant’s Causeway, 1 1/16-miles Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby winner Destin appears equally blessed with stamina through his dam Dream of Summer. In addition to capturing the 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 Apple Blossom, she twice ran second in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Santa Margarita. She’s also produced a Grade 1-winning full-brother to Destin, 1 1/16-miles Norfolk winner and 9-furlong Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby runner-up Creative Cause, who finished third in the 1 3/16-miles Grade 1 Preakness. Destin’s second damsire Skywalker won the 10-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic; his third damsire Properantes captured the 14-furlong Grade 1 San Juan Capistrano.
Exaggerator – PLACE (2nd)
(Curlin, out of Dawn Raid by Vindication)
At a glance, it may appear that virtually all of Exaggerator’s stamina comes from his sire, 12-furlong (1 1/2 miles) Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Curlin, and for the most part, that’s true. Up close, his damline is laden with sprinters, beginning with his juvenile stakes-placed dam Dawn Raid and her half-brother, 7-furlong Grade 3 Swynford runner-up Ten Flat. Yet Dawn Raid’s half-sister Embur’s Song not only twice won Grade 3 events at 1 1/16 miles, but she also set the pace in the 9-furlong Woodbine Oaks, ultimately failing to hold on and finish third. Stamina is even more evident the further back one looks in Exaggerator’s damline. His third dam’s half-sister is Canadian champion sprinter Eternal Search who, in a surprising twist, once captured the 10-furlong Maple Leaf Stakes on dirt. Perhaps it wasn’t a fluke, though. Their stakes-placed half-sister Savethelastdance produced both 10-furlong Queen’s Plate victor Niigon and the unraced Sue’s Last Dance, dam of 10-furlong Grade 2 Delaware Handicap victress and 9-furlong Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Island Sand. Like Niigon, Exaggerator’s sire Curlin also hails from the Mr. Prospector line. As if that’s not promising enough, Exaggerator’s damsire (Vindication) and second damsire (Bold Ruckus) may be known for speedy sprinters, but his third damsire The Minstrel captured three Group 1 races at 12 furlongs: the Irish Derby and the English Derby, as well as the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. Exaggerator’s fourth damsire Ruritania, runner-up to Hall of Famer Riva Ridge in the Belmont, captured the 11-furlong Manhattan Handicap.
(Tiznow, out of Unacloud by Unaccounted For)
It took five attempts before Majesto broke his maiden. In his next start, he ran an impressive second behind undefeated Nyquist in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Florida Derby. While he may not have the necessary seasoning or back class relative to other Derby starters, Majesto does possess a more than adequate stamina pedigree. His sire Tiznow was a four-time 10-furlong Grade 1 winner, including back-to-back editions of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. His damsire Unaccounted For not only won the 9-furlong Grade 1 Whitney, but also twice placed behind the great Cigar in 10-furlong Grade 1 events (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Breeders’ Cup Classic). In addition to 7-furlong Grade 1 Matron victress Meadow Breeze, Majesto’s unraced dam Unacloud has also produced a half-brother to Majesto, 9-furlong Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Overanalyze (by Dixie Union).
Mohaymen – FOURTH
(Tapit, out of Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union)
Closing out his undefeated three-race juvenile campaign by winning the 9-furlong Grade 2 Remsen, Mohaymen appeared to be one of the better Derby contenders, a fact seemingly affirmed when he began his 2016 campaign by capturing both the Grade 2 Holy Bull and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Then came his inexplicably bad performance in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Florida Derby where he finished fourth, more than eight lengths back of Nyquist. Since he had previously won at the 1 1/8-miles distance, it’s unlikely that stamina was the issue. His sire Tapit’s stamina influence is unquestionable, while his damsire Dixie Union has produced 12-furlong Grade 1 Belmont winner Union Rags. Mohaymen’s Grade 1 runner-up dam Justwhistledixie won the 9-furlong Grade 2 Bonnie Miss; as a broodmare, she produced 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day.
(Kitten’s Joy, out of Devine Actress by Theatrical)
Given that both his sire and damsire were multiple Grade 1 turf winners between 10 and 12 furlongs, there’s little doubt that Oscar Nominated possesses the prerequisite stamina. The question many will be asking, though, is whether or not he can run well on dirt. His dam Devine Actress broke her maiden going 1 1/16 miles on turf and concluded her career with an all-weather track victory in the Santa Lucia Handicap at the same distance, but she never attempted dirt. Oscar Nominated has followed his mother’s lead, breaking his maiden going 1 1/16 miles on turf, and last out he won the 9-furlong (1 1/8 miles) Grade 3 Spiral over Turfway’s all-weather track. The Kentucky Derby will be his first dirt start, so it’s tough to hypothesize how Oscar Nominated may handle the going. However, as a positive indicator, his third dam’s full-brother Dramatic Gold won the 9-furlong Grade 1 Meadowlands Cup and finished third in both the 10-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 10-furlong Grade 1 Pacific Classic—all on dirt. His second dam’s half-brother Holiday Thunder concluded his juvenile campaign with a runner-up performance in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club over this same Churchill Downs dirt track, while another close relative Sorcerer’s Stone captured the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity when Arlington’s primary racing surface was dirt.
(Uncle Mo, out of Nonna Mia by Empire Maker)
In terms of stamina pedigree, 9-furlong Grade 1 Wood Memorial victor Outwork appears to be the most talented of Uncle Mo’s three Derby entrants. His damsire is 12-furlong (1 1/2 miles) Belmont winner Empire Maker, and his second damsire is 10-furlong Grade 1 Travers victor Holy Bull. His Grade 1-placed dam Nonna Mia’s only other foal is a half-brother to Outwork named Nonna’s Boy who captured the 1 1/16-miles Lamplighter on turf last summer before weakening to finish fourth in the 9-furlong Grade 3 Saranac in his next outing. Among Nonna Mia’s siblings are Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint third-place finisher Holdin Bullets, and 1 1/16-miles Grade 3 Holy Bull winner Cairo Prince.
(Mineshaft, out of Uchitel by Afleet Alex)
A well-closing runner-up in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, Suddenbreakingnews looked like a colt that wanted more ground. Based on his pedigree, that’s a valid supposition. His sire Mineshaft twice won 10-furlong Grade 1 contests (Suburban, Jockey Club Gold Cup); his damsire Afleet Alex won the 1 3/16-miles Grade 1 Preakness and the 12-furlong (1 1/2 miles) Grade 1 Belmont, while his second damsire Alleged was a two-time winner of the 12-furlong French Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Suddenbreakingnews’ second dam, the three-time Grade 1-placed Party Cited, once captured the 11-furlong (1 3/8 miles) Grade 3 Yerba Buena Handicap. As a broodmare, she’s produced several well-performing half-siblings to Uchitel, including 9-furlong Grade 3 West Virginia Derby victor Ready Set, and 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks winner Composure, dam of three-time Grade 1-placed Centring, 1 1/16-miles Grade 2 Royal Delta victress Penwith, and 9-furlong Grade 1 Woodward third-place finisher Tranquil Manner.
Hints that the necessary stamina may be there, but each of these contenders also possesses pedigree question marks coming into the Derby (in alphabetical order):
(Twirling Candy, out of Talkin and Singing by Songandaprayer)
Representing the first crop of twice 10-furlong Grade 1-placed Twirling Candy, Danzing Candy may ultimately serve as a benchmark for the stamina influence of his sire, but thus far he’s not satisfactorily demonstrated anything. A wire-to-wire winner of the 1 1/16-miles Grade 2 San Felipe, he failed to hold his early lead against Exaggerator and Mor Spirit the next time the trio met, in the 9-furlong (1 1/8 miles) Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, finishing 13 lengths back in fourth place. Can he fare better in the Kentucky Derby going 10 furlongs (1 1/4 miles)? His dam never broke her maiden in 9 career starts, although she came within a nose of winning going 1 1/16 miles on Arlington’s all-weather track and then was a half-length runner-up going the same distance on turf. The fact that she had some turf ability is understandable given that her half-brother is the legendary Better Talk Now, five-time Grade 1 turf winner at distances between 10 and 12 furlongs. Another half-brother B A Way captured the 9-furlong listed Caesar Rodney Handicap on turf. However, whereas both Better Talk Now and B A Way are descended via their sires from 11-furlong turf world record holder and Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval, Danzing Candy’s damsire is the more stamina-challenged 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 Fountain of Youth victor Songandaprayer.
(Eskendereya, out of I’m a Dixie Girl by Dixie Union)
He was no match for Exaggerator in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, finishing a distant second, so what in Mor Spirit’s pedigree indicates that he can successfully win on dirt at 10 furlongs? Honestly, not much. His sire Eskendereya broke his maiden in a one-mile listed juvenile stakes that was taken off the turf and finished his abbreviated career with three dirt victories including two at 9 furlongs, in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial. Eskendereya’s first crop included several nice turf winners, including 1 1/16-miles Grade 2 Mrs. Revere victress Isabella Sings and 9-furlong Toronto Cup victor Conquest Pacemaker, but also the twice Grade 2-placed dirt achiever Eskenformoney. Mor Spirit’s dam I’m a Dixie Girl was a speedy juvenile, twice winning sprint stakes before finishing second in the 6 1/2 furlong Grade 3 Astarita. As a broodmare, she’s produced a half-brother to Mor Spirit by stamina-rich sire Curlin, Sheikinator, who broke his maiden going 1 1/16 miles. However, he’s never demonstrated any success beyond that distance in 29 starts. Mor Spirit’s second dam I’m Out First led early but was passed mid-race to finish a distant third in the 9-furlong Grade 3 Sixty Sails; Sequins, Mor Spirit’s third dam, broke her maiden going 9 furlongs on turf. I’m Out First’s 9-furlong Grade 3 runner-up half-sister Zenith produced 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 juvenile victor Great Hunter, while another half-sister Evening Star is the dam of 1 1/16-miles Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks winner and 9-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff runner-up Stellar Wind.
(Uncle Mo, out of Caroni by Rubiano)
Since capturing the Grade 3 Lecomte back in January, Mo Tom has been on a downward trajectory, albeit one shaped by bad racing luck. Checking badly late, he could manage only a third-place finish behind Gun Runner in the 1 1/16-miles Grade 2 Risen Star; checking again in the stretch in the 9-furlong Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, he finished fourth, 6 lengths back of Gun Runner again. His damline offers several interesting stamina influences, but will those be enough? Neither his dam nor second dam won on the racetrack, but they were producers. Mo Tom’s speedy half-sister Beautician was twice a juvenile Grade 1 runner-up, including in the 1 1/16-miles Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Another half-sister, Bella Castani, was a turf mile stakes winner, while another, Dontforgetaboutme, broke her maiden on dirt at 1 1/16 miles.
Even more impressively, his half-sister Rubindy (by stamina-rich sire Bernardini) gamely won an 11-furlong (1 3/16 miles) turf allowance race last year. Still, it’s difficult to find pervasive stamina among his damline relatives. For example, the best of his dam’s siblings was two-time 6-furlong Grade 2 sprint victor Kashatreya, while his second dam’s half-sister was 9-furlong Grade 2 San Gorgonio turf winner Lady At Peace.
My Man Sam
(Trappe Shot, out of Lauren Byrd by Arch)
Thus far, 9-furlong Grade 1 Blue Grass runner-up My Man Sam is the most accomplished of first-crop sire Trappe Shot’s offspring, but it’s difficult to judge how much of a stamina influence the son of Tapit may yet pass on to his progeny. Despite finishing a distant second behind Lookin At Lucky in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Haskell, Trappe Shot was really more of a sprinter-miler and that’s how his connections handled him during his 4-year-old campaign; he won the 6-furlong Grade 2 True North and concluded his career with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. However, Trappe Shot’s half-sister Miss Shop regularly performed well at the highest level between 9 and 10 furlongs, including an impressive 3-length victory in the 10-furlong (1 1/4 miles) Grade 1 Personal Ensign, so that’s a positive sign. Lauren Byrd, the dam of My Man Sam, raced only four times, all on turf, and was the runner-up in the 1 1/16-miles listed Jessamine. Her half-brother Hudson Steele was also a turfster, highlighted by his victory in the 9-furlong (1 1/8 miles) Grade 2 Dixie. Lauren Byrd’s full-sister Lexi Morgan broke her maiden on dirt before finishing fourth in the 9-furlong (1 1/8 miles) Grade 2 Demoiselle behind the likes of Grade 1 winners Stopchargingmaria and Got Lucky. The same breeding strategy of crossing Arch with the Mr. Prospector line that produced Lauren Byrd and Lexi Morgan has also given us 10-furlong (1 1/4 miles) Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame, 10-furlong Grade 1 Alabama victress Pine Island, and 9-furlong (1 1/8 miles) Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch.
Nyquist – WINNER
(Uncle Mo, out of Seeking Gabrielle by Forestry)
Undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 9-furlong Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Nyquist has looked like a monster thus far, but the real test for him will be the 10-furlong (1 1/4 miles) Derby distance. His sire Uncle Mo finished third in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Wood Memorial; after that, his only two placings came as runner-up in the 7-furlong Grade 1 King’s Bishop and as victor in the one-mile Grade 2 Kelso. Nyquist is part of his first crop, as is 9-furlong Grade 1 Wood Memorial victor Outwork, so the jury is still out on just how much of a stamina influence he will be. Thus, the amount of stamina present in his damline is all-important to consider, and in that regard Nyquist comes up short. Seeking Gabrielle, Nyquist’s dam, only won once in seven attempts, breaking her maiden at 6 furlongs before failing to hit the board going 1 1/16 miles on turf. His second dam, Seeking Regina, winner of the 6 1/2 furlong Grade 2 Adirondack, also produced 6-furlong Grade 2 Sanford runner-up Seeking the Money, 6-furlong Grade 3 Interborough victress Seeking the Sky, and 7-furlong Grade 1 Spinaway third-place finisher Seeking It All. By two-time 10-furlong Grade 1 winner Pleasant Tap, Seeking the Sky produced Grade 1 Met Mile winner Sahara Sky, who also excels as a sprinter. So, even when his dam has been bred to a known stamina influence, not much stamina appears to have been passed on. It’s only when we get to Nyquist’s third dam that more positive signs appear. His third dam Fulbright Scholar won the 9-furlong Busher; as a broodmare she produced 9-furlong Grade 3 Arlington Matron third-place finisher Tutorial, as well as the dam of multiple 1/16 miles graded stakes winner Just Jenda.
(More Than Ready, out of Goodbye Stranger by Broad Brush)
Despite a runner-up finish in the 9-furlong Grade 1 Blue Grass, More Than Ready enjoyed his greatest success as a sprinter-miler, and as a sire that’s mostly what he has been known for as well. The closest he has come to a “classics” performer is the unlikely 12-furlong Belmont third-place finisher Ready’s Echo, who finished eight lengths behind 38-1 longshot Da’ Tara the year Triple Crown contender Big Brown inexplicably failed and was pulled up. Given that this year’s 3-year-olds are More Than Ready’s 11th crop, it’s probably safe to say he’s not your proto-typical Derby sire. On his damside, Tom’s Ready demonstrates more promise. His damsire Broad Brush was a four-time Grade 1 winner, three times at 10 furlongs (Meadowlands Cup, Suburban, Santa Anita Handicap). His second damsire Deputy Minister concluded his career with a narrow runner-up finish in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Meadowlands Cup, while his third damsire Sham finished second behind Triple Crown winner Secretariat in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. His second dam is a half-sister to 10-furlong Grade 1 Flower Bowl runner-up Vers La Caisse, as well as 10-furlong Italian Group 2 Premio Legnano victress High Competence. Going back even further, the fourth dam of Tom’s Ready, 10-furlong Alabama winner What a Treat, produced 10-furlong Grade 2 Nijinsky runner-up Be My Guest, as well as the dams of 12-furlong Prix des Tourelles runner-up Faten and 10-furlong Grade 1 Ladies Handicap victress Ida Delia.
(Pleasantly Perfect, out of Melody’s Spirit by Scat Daddy)
Despite his sire Pleasantly Perfect being a three-time Grade 1 winner at 10 furlongs (Pacific Classic, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup), Whitmore possesses a somewhat questionable stamina pedigree. His damsire Scat Daddy won the 9-furlong Grade 1 Florida Derby while his third damsire is Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. However, the mares close-up in his damline haven’t produced a large number of runners nor been great race mares themselves so it’s difficult to assess Whitmore’s stamina pedigree. Off a maiden win at one mile, his third dam Ten Flags entered the 12-furlong (1 1/2 miles) Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, only to finish fourth, nearly 30 lengths back of the winner. She did afterwards capture a 1 1/16 miles allowance race, but there’s little stamina evidence beyond her.