Monday, June 22, 2009

Pedigree and breeding is very important when it comes to racing 2YO and 3YO thoroughbreds. A good understanding of pedigrees is important if you hope to pick the next Classic Champion and this year’s Triple Crown Trail has been the best yet.

Here’s a look back at my 2009 pedigree analysis and handicapping picks that I posted on the Daily Racing FormBlog hosted by Dan Illman. I had several nice picks on the 2009 Triple Crown Trail. My Lane’s End pick of Hold Me Back and Flying Private was nice but the best by far was the Belmont. I picked Summer Bird to win and place. I also had the exacta, trifecta and superfecta.

FormBlog May 18, 2009
Weekend recap

It’s a long way off until the Belmont and Rachel Alexandra has not been committed to the Belmont yet. But of the possible entries that may run, I’m looking at Mine That Bird, Summer Bird, Charitable Man and Dunkirk (or Chocolate Candy) as the horses that I will use in my wagers. Of course, my selections may change when I see the final entries.
Posted by: Calvin L. Carter on May 18, 2009 at 08:33 PM

FormBlog June 03, 2009

Handigambling 136 - Belmont Stakes
In addition to #7 Mine That Bird, I believe that this Belmont is setting up nicely for the horses that I liked in the Kentucky Derby – #2 Dunkirk and #4 Summer Bird.

Dunkirk should bounce back with a big race. He is much better than his Kentucky Derby indicated and that race is a toss out. Summer Bird is lightly raced but I believe that he has the potential to make a big move forward. He gets top-notch jockey Kent Desormeaux who is experienced at Belmont and he adds toe grabs and blinkers.

Of the new runners, #6 Charitable Man is the most promising and he will most likely be in the exotics – if not in the winners circle.

$8 W/P #4 = $16
$2 Exacta: 4/2-6-7 = $6$2 Exacta: 2-6-7/4 = $6
$2 Trifecta Box: 2-4-6-7 = $48
$1 Superfecta Box: 2-4-6-7 = $24
Total Bet = $100
Posted by: Calvin L. Carter on June 05, 2009 at 11:26 AM
Here’s the Belmont Chart:

I did well in the Preakness also. I had the Black-eyed Susan/Preakness double. I also had the Preakness exacta and Trifecta. If Big Drama held on for 4th place, I would have also had the superfecta.

FormBlog May 11, 2009

I liked your look at the Preakness Stakes and I would agree that Mine That Bird may be better than most people think.

Before the Kentucky Derby I wrote about the outstanding pedigree of Summer Bird. Mine That Bird has the same sire line as Summer Bird and my only regret is that I did not have a saver bet on Mine That Bird. I made the same mistake on Raven’s Pass in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

A lot of people have expressed shock at the victory of Mine That Bird. But Mine That Bird has something going for him that the other horses don’t – the first three ancestors in his sire line are Classic Champions. Birdstone won the Belmont. Grindstone won the Kentucky Derby and was retired to stud with a chip in his right knee. Unbridled won the Kentucky Derby; finished 2nd in the Preakness and 3rd in the Belmont.

The last thoroughbred to have a similar pedigree was Needles who won the 1956 Kentucky Derby. Needles finished 2nd in the Preakness and 1st in the Belmont. Needles sire, Ponder, won the 1949 Kentucky Derby; was 2nd in the Preakness and 2nd in the Belmont. Needles grandsire, Pensive, won the 1944 Kentucky Derby; was 1st in the Preakness and 2nd in the Belmont.
Breeding does make the difference and it’s not everyday that you see this many Classic Champions in the first three generations of a pedigree. …

I also agree on your thoughts about Rachael Alexandra.

Mine That Bird, Rachael Alexandra and Musket Man are the three thoroughbreds that I will use in most of my Preakness bets.
Posted by: Calvin L. Carter on May 13, 2009 at 01:43 PM

FormBlog May 13, 2009
Preakness thoughts

$2 Black Eyed Susan-Preakness Double - 2, 7/ 2, 3, 13 = $12$2 Exacta 2,1 = $2$2 Exacta Box – 2,3 = $4$2 Exacta Box – 2,13 = $4$5 Trifecta Box – 2,3,13 = $30$2 Superfecta Box – 1,2,3,13 = $48Total bet = $100
Posted by: Calvin L. Carter on May 15, 2009 at 02:31 PM
Here’s the Preakness Chart:

Like most everyone else, I did not have Mine That Bird to win the Kentucky Derby. I did, however, like Summer Bird and Dunkirk. I liked Summer Bird so much I interviewed Dr. Kalarikkal K. Jayaraman in hopes of having the story published. I was not able to get it published and I posted it on the FormBlog.

FormBlog April 24, 2009
Weekend thoughts, Beat the chalk, etc.

The Kentucky Derby is what dreams are made of and if Summer Bird wins the Derby, the owner and breeder team of Doctors Kalarikkal K. Jayaraman and his wife, Valasini D., will be living their dream.

The Jayaraman’s are no strangers to the Kentucky Derby. In 1989 they pursued their dream when they sent forward Irish Actor who finished 7th to Sunday Silence in the Run for the Roses. This year, though, the Jayaraman’s believe they have a better chance at winning the Kentucky Derby with the Arkansas Derby third-place finisher Summer Bird.

“He’s a pretty nice colt. He looked like a horse that could run,” said Jayaraman who, along with his wife, have bred and raised thoroughbreds at their Tiffany Farms near Ocala, Fla. since 1982.

“He broke his maiden very impressively,” said Jayaraman, commenting on Summer Bird’s first-place finish in only his second start on March 19th in a 1 1/16 mile race at Oaklawn Park. It was that performance that motivated the Jayaraman’s to pay the $6,000 late nomination fee to nominate Summer Bird to the Triple Crown. Two weeks later, Summer Bird did not disappoint the Jayaraman’s when he rallied from dead last to finish a fast-closing third-place in the Arkansas Derby and brought home a $100,000 paycheck.

The Jayaraman’s spend a lot of time studying pedigrees and planning matings. Thoroughbreds that the Jayaraman’s have bred include G2 Stakes Winner Royal Spy and G3 Stakes Winner Comic Truth. Their biggest success to date is the G1 Stakes Winner Dearest Trickski. It’s that kind of research and planning that led to the breeding of Summer Bird (Birdstone-Hong Kong Squall by Summer Squall).

At first glance, with only three life-time starts and $100,000 in Graded Stakes earnings, Summer Bird would not appear to be a likely Kentucky Derby winner. His Dosage Profile – a numbering system created by Dr. Steven A. Romans to measure the number of Chef-de-Race stallions in the first four generations of a horse’s pedigree – is a modest 16. Summer Bird’s great grandsire, Unbridled, is the only Chef-de-Race to be found in the first three generations. Dear Birdie and Weekend Surprise are the only Reines-de-Course (Queens of the Turf) mares found in the first three generations.

So, there is not a lot of Blue Blood up close in the pedigree of Summer Bird. But, appearances can be deceiving and upon further inspection, the pedigree of Summer Bird appears to be a who’s who of Classic Champions and important sires.
In the first generation of Summer Bird’s pedigree is his sire Birdstone – the Classic Champion Belmont winner who upset Smarty Jones’ bid to be the second undefeated thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown.

In the second generation are the Classic Champions Grindstone and Summer Squall. Grindstone was a strong closer and in the 1996 Kentucky Derby he rallied for the win – trailing by 15 lengths at the half-mile mark – to edge Cavonnier by a nose in the final stride. Summer Squall finished second in the 1990 Kentucky Derby losing by three and one-half lengths to his rival Unbridled. However, in the Preakness Summer Squall turned the tables on Unbridled beating him by two and one-quarter lengths in a near-record time of 1:53 3/5. Summer Squall did not race in the Belmont because of bleeding issues and Unbridled finished third. Also in the second generation is the Reine-de-Course mare Dear Birdie – the dam of Birdstone and 2006 broodmare of the year.

In the third generation are the Classic Champions Unbridled and Alysheba; two strains of the important sire Storm Bird and the Reine-de-Course mare Weekend Surprise. In addition to being the sire of Summer Squall, Storm Bird was also the sire of the influential sire Storm Cat; the grandsire of the 1994 Preakness and Belmont winner Tabasco Cat and the damsire of the 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Thunder Gulch. Dubbed “America’s Horse” by racing fans, Alysheba won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness en-route to an 11-8-2 career record in 26 starts and $6,679,242 in earnings. The outstanding broodmare Weekend Surprise was the dam of Summer Squall and 1992 Belmont winner and sire of sires A.P. Indy.

In the fourth generation is one of the most outstanding sons of Mr. Prospector and important sire Fappiano; the important sire Drone – damsire of the 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone and 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic; two strains of the sire of sires and Classic Champion Northern Dancer – winner of the 1964 Kentucky Derby and Preakness; the Classic Champion Secretariat – winner of the 1973 American Triple Crown and the Classic Champion Nijinsky – undefeated winner of the 1970 English Triple Crown. In addition to being a Classic Champion, Nijinsky was an outstanding stallion who sired the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand; Epsom Derby winners Golden Fleece (1982), Shahrastani (1986) and Lammtarra (1995); Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Lammtarra (1995) and Prix du Jockey Club winner Caerleon (1983). Nijinksy was also the grandsire of the Epsom Derby winners Kahyasi (1988) and Generous (1991); Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Marienbard (2002) and Belmont winner Bet Twice (1987).

Also in the fourth generation is the legendary Alydar and if Affirmed had not been his rival, Alydar would have been the 1978 Triple Crown winner. Alydar was also an important stallion who sired the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Alysheba (1987); Kentucky Derby winner Strike The Gold (1991) and the Belmont winner Easy Goer (1989).

After the Arkansas Derby, Summer Bird only had $100,000 in Graded Stakes earnings and it looked like he would not make into the field for the Kentucky Derby. But when the news broke that Giant Oak would bypass the Kentucky Derby, the Jayaraman’s were excited to hear that Summer Bird would draw-in to the Derby field.

“I hope he does well,” said Jayaraman. “That’s all we can hope for.”

The Jayaraman’s know that a good pedigree does not guarantee success on the race track. But if Summer Bird lives up to his breeding, the Jayaraman’s are hopeful that he will bring them closer to living their dream.

Summer Bird did not race as a two-year old and he will have only raced three times as a three-year-old when he enters the Derby starting gate. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby with only three starts was the filly Regret (1915). Apollo won the Derby in 1882 without having raced as a two-year-old.

On May 2nd, Summer Bird will make his bid to have his name entered into the Derby history book. However, when it comes to making history, Summer Bird might have the slight advantage – his ancestors were history makers.
Posted by: Calvin Carter on April 25, 2009 at 10:53 PM

Summer Bird finished a respectable 6th in the Kentucky Derby and that performance made him my favorite Belmont long shot bet.

Quality Road and Dunkirk were two of my favorites on the 2009 Triple Crown Trail. I picked Quality Road to win the Fountain of Youth and I liked him in the Florida Derby.

FormBlog March 23, 2009
Weekend Beyers, etc.
We know that Dunkirk can get the distance of the Florida Derby but we won’t know for sure how well Quality Road will do until Saturday. However, if he lives up to his breeding, I believe that he could win the Florida Derby.

Quality Road is a descendent of Gone West which is one of my favorite Mr. Prospector bloodlines. Gone West and his line have sired numerous sprinter/miler Graded Champions – as well as several route Graded champions. Gone West is the grandsire of the outstanding Zarkava – winner of the 2008 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Quality Road’s sire, Elusive Quality, is also the sire of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass. Gone West is also the sire of 2000 Belmont winner Commendable and 2003 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Johar who dead-heated with High Chaparral.

Quality Road’s dam, Kobla, was winless in two starts but she is the sister of Grade 1 Champion filly Aijina – winner of the CCA Oaks at 1¼ miles. Her sire, Strawberry Road, won several races at 1½ miles during his career and he was the Champion Australian 3-year-old; Australian Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse in Germany.

Kobla’s grandsire, Alydar, finished second to Affirmed in all three legs of the of the 1978 Triple Crown. Her great-great grandsire, Nijinsky, was the undefeated 1970 English Triple Crown winner and later that year he suffered his first defeat after 11 starts finishing 2nd in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Nijinksy was also an influential stallion who sired the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand and Epsom Derby winner Shahrastani.

Here’s another interesting note: Quality Road and Zarkava both have the same nicking pattern – both are descendents of the sire line of Gone West and the damsire line of Nijinsky.

So, as you can see there are several stamina influences throughout the pedigree of Quality Road. If you look at the 5th generation of Quality Road, there are 10 Reine-de-Course mares (Queens of the Turf) and 22 of his ancestors (69%) are descended from important female families. Quality Road’s sire, Elusive Quality, and his dam, Kobla, are both descendents, through their female line, of Frizette – a very influential broodmare of the 20th Century and a foundation mare of Marcel Boussac’s stud. In addition, Quality Road’s great grandsire, Mr. Prospector, is also a descendent of Frizette through his female line.

Only time will tell if Quality Road can stretch out to be effective at longer distances.

The Florida Derby should be very exciting and I believe that it could end up being a match race between two of the best lines of Mr. Prospector – Gone West (Quality Road) and Fappiano (Dunkirk).

Dunkirk’s sire, Unbridled’s Song, is a descendent of the Fappiano line and that line has produced three Kentucky Derby winners: Unbridled (1990); Grindstone (1996) and Real Quiet (1998).

Dunkirk has been on my watch list since last year and I picked Quality Road to win the Fountain of Youth. Both horses have excellent breeding and I believe they have the potential to be outstanding thoroughbreds. If either of them wins, I will be happy. …
Posted by: Calvin Carter on March 25, 2009 at 11:52 AM
Here’s the Florida Derby Chart:

My Lane’s End selection was especially nice as I picked Hold Me Back for the win and Flying Private to complete the $586.80 exacta.

FormBlog March 18, 2009
HandiGambling 125
Hold Me Back #1 and Flying Private #10 could be potential good long shot bets in the Lane's End.
Hold Me Back is in good hands with Bill Mott and Kent Desormeaux. His works have been good and he's out of the Storm Cat line like West Side Bernie.

Flying Private overcame severe traffic problems in the Mountain Valley to lose by only a head and post a 95 Brisnet Speed Figure. With Fusaichi Pegasus as his sire and Unbridled as the damsire, he can get the distance.

Alan, please give me Hold Me Back for the Lane's End.

Posted by: Calvin Carter on March 19, 2009 at 10:57 PM
Here’s the Lane’s End chart:

The 2008 Belmont was also a good year. I picked Da’Tara and Anak Nakal as two good potential long shot bets.

FormBlog June 03, 2008
Belmont Press Conference
Big Brown (1) and Casino Drive (5) are very talented and either one may come in 1st or 2nd. In addition, I also like Icabad Crane (10), Denis of Cork (4) and Da’ Tara (6). …
From a pedigree point of view, in my opinion, this year’s field is much better than last year’s field as there are several horses that could score in the Belmont.

Some of those horses could pull an upset if they ran the best race of their career. Icabad Crane, Anak Nakal, Macho Again and Da’Tara have the pedigrees to get the job done and at their juicy morning line odds, it might warrant a small win bet on them.

Of those long shots, I believe that Icabad Crane, Anak Nakal and Da’ Tara are the best bets. …Posted by: Calvin Carter on June 05, 2008 at 02:50 PM

Here’s the 2008 Belmont Chart:

In the Santa Anita Derby, I picked Colonel John to win and I had Bob Black Jack to round out the exacta.

I also picked Recapturetheglory to win the Illinois Derby and he paid $33.80 for the win.
FormBlog April 04, 2008
Weekend opinions
Santa Anita Derby: I think that Colonel John (5) will win. But I also like Yankee Bravo (1) and Bob Black Jack (4). Exacta box (1-4-5); Trifecta (1-4-5).
Illinois Derby: at 8-1 morning line I like Recapturetheglory (1) as my longshot pick. I also like like Z Humor (3) and Denis of Cork (5). W/P #1. Exacta box 1-3-5. Trifecta 1-3-5.
Posted by: Calvin Carter on April 05, 2008 at 12:57 PM
Here’s the Santa Anita Derby and Illinois Derby chart:

In the 2008 Lecomte I thought that Z Fortune was an intriguing horse and could be a good bet.

FormBlog January 09, 2008
Macho, Macho Again! Firsters w/blinks, Nicanor, synthetics
…Speaking of imports, that brings me to the Le Comte and I agree johnnyz that it is shaping up to be very competive.
I don’t know yet if I’ll play it, however, there are several horses with good pedigrees that I like in that race. I, too, like Texas Fever. In addition, I also like Macho Again, Blackberry Road and the Mad Flatter.

But the horse I’m most interested is Z Fortune who was sired by the Brazilian import Siphon.
I have no idea how Z Fortune will do or if he’ll even be competitive. So far he’s undefeated in two starts and, talk about classic stamina bloodline, Z Fortune’s line is loaded with Brazilian and European champions that trace back to St. Simon who was the most dominant sire of classic stamina at the turn of the 20th Century – his progeny dominated global racing for decades thereafter.

Z Fortune’s 5th great-grandsire Prince Rose was the 1931 Belgium Triple Crown winner and according to he “was probably the best colt of his generation in Europe.” In addition, Prince Rose was also the sire of Princequillo who was another important source of stamina in the thoroughbred.

Z Fortune’s grandsire Itajara was the Brazilian Triple Crown winner and was undefeated in 7 starts. Z Fortune’s sire, Siphon, 12-6-2 in 25 starts with $3,155,919 in career earnings was a champion in Brazil and America and won races from 6 furlongs to 1 ¼ miles. …

So who knows? Only time will tell how well Z Fortune performs in the Le Comte and if he’ll have an impact on the Triple Crown Trail. From the barn of Steve Asmussen, he’ll be given every opportunity to be a success. …
Posted by: Calvin Carter on January 10, 2008 at 11:45 AM
Here’s the Lecomte chart:

In 2007, on the website I picked Rags to Riches, Curlin and Tiago to finish in the top three of the Belmont. The link to that is no longer available but here’s what I posted about the 2007 Belmont on the Daily Racing FormBlog.
FormBlog September 15, 2007
I picked Street Sense and Curlin for the Kentucky Derby - Hard Spun tripped me up.
However, I also liked Rags to Riches for the Belmont and here's what I posted about the Belmont on another blog on June 6.

(10 of the past 12 (83%) Belmont winners are out of the Mr. Prospector bloodline which has produced a total of 12 winners since Conquistador Cielo (Mr. Prospector) won in 1982. Hansel (Woodman) won the Belmont in 1991 followed by Thunder Gulch (Gulch) in 1995. Since then, Mr. Prospector has been the dominate bloodline in the Belmont.

Curlin and C.P. West are the only Mr. Prospector horses entered in the Belmont field.
When I look at pedigrees alone, there are three horses that I believe are standouts in the Belmont field: Curlin, Rags to Riches and Tiago.

All three horses paternal and maternal grandsires have sired Belmont winners. Curlin's grandsires are Mr. Prospector and Deputy Minister. Rags to Riches is sired by 1992 Belmont winner A.P. Indy and her grandsires are Seattle Slew (who won the 1977 Belmont and is the only undeated Triple Crown winner) and Deputy Minister. Rags great grandsire, Secretariat, was a Triple Crown winner and also sired Belmont winner Risen Star (1988). Tiago's grandsires Pleasant Colony and Stop the Music also sired Belmont winners.)
Posted by: Calvin Carter on September 17, 2007 at 01:51 PM
Here’s the 2007 Belmont chart:

I love to study pedigrees and thoroughbred race horses. I recently copyrighted for publication the sire and damsire line of all the American Classic winners and I am currently working on documenting that same information for all of the European Classic winners.

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