I love to study Thoroughbred pedigrees. I could read about and talk about Thoroughbreds and pedigrees all day long. Every now and then when I’m studying pedigrees I have a “Wow” moment. In 2009 my “Wow” moment occurred in March while studying the pedigree of Summer Bird.
I was so impressed with the pedigree of Summer Bird that I thought he had the potential to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred and here’s what I posted on the DRF FormBlog hosted by Dan Illman shortly before he ran in the Kentucky Derby:
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).
Posted by: Calvin Carter on April 25, 2009 at 10:53 PM
Summer Bird did not finish in the money in the Kentucky Derby but he did finish a respectable 6th place in just his 4th start. However, Summer Bird did come back later to win the Belmont.
In 2008 my “Wow” moment occurred when studying the distaff side of the pedigree of War Pass and here’s what I posted on the DRF FormBlog.
Remember in a recent post I commented that every now and then I get a “Wow” moment when studying pedigrees. Well I had another “Wow” moment recently that I think you’ll appreciate it.
Fifth generation – Polynesian: won the 1945 Preakness; 1947 champion sprinter; sired the great Native Dancer. Nasrullah: champion 2-year-old colt in England; imported to U.S. in 1950; important source of stamina; sire of Bold Ruler. Count Fleet: won the Champagne stakes and was the 1943 Triple Crown winner; Horse of The Year; Champion 3-year-old colt; 1961 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 5th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Ribot: champion of champions; undefeated in 16 starts; two-time winner of the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe; rated by Timeform as the 3rd best runner of the 20th Century; another important source of stamina. War Admiral: sired by the great Man o’ War; 1937 Triple Crown winner; Horse of The Year; Champion 3-year-old; 1958 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 13th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Hill Prince: 1949 Champion 2-year-old colt; 1950 Champion 3-year-old colt; Horse of The Year; won the Preakness; finished 2nd in the Kentucky Derby; sired by Princequillo (another important source of stamina); 1991 Hall of Fame Inductee.
Fourth generation – Native Dancer: one of the most influential sires of the 20th Century; another important source of stamina; won the Preakness and Belmont; probably would have won the Kentucky Derby but was seriously roughed going into the first turn and finished 2nd – beaten by a head; 1963 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 6th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Nashua: won the Florida Derby, Wood Memorial; finished second in the 1955 Kentucky Derby; set new track record of 1:54.60 in winning the Preakness; won the Belmont; set a new North American record for 16 furlongs of 3:20.2 in the 1956 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont; 1954 Champion 2-year-old colt; 1955 Champion 3-year-old colt and Horse of The Year; 1965 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 24th best racehorse of the 20th Century. Tom Rolfe: 1965 Champion 3-year-old colt; won the 1965 Preakness; finished 2nd in the Belmont; finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby; set new track record for 10 furlongs in 2:00.3 in the 1965 American Derby at Arlington; equaled the 7 furlong record of 1:21.0 at Arlington in 1966. Bold Ruler: won the 1957 Preakness; finished 3rd in the Belmont; won with a high-weight of 134 pounds the Monmouth Handicap and Suburban Handicap both at 10 furlongs; won the Trenton Handicap at 10 furlongs; 1957 Champion 3-year-old colt and Horse of The Year; 1958 Champion Sprinter; sire of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat; a very important source of stamina the Bold Ruler line produced 7 Kentucky Derby winners during the decade of the 1970’s; 1973 Hall of Fame Inductee; rated by Blood-Horse magazine as the 19th best racehorse of the 20th Century.
Third generation – Raise A Native: 1963 Champion 2-year-old; set new track record for 5.5 furlongs of 1:02.3 at Aqueduct and equaled track record for 5 furlongs of 57.4; undefeated in four starts; retired with a bowed tendon; sired the 1969 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Majestic Prince; a very important source of stamina the Raise A Native line produced the 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed and the Kentucky Derby winners Genuine Risk (1980), Alysheba (1987) and Strike The Gold (1991). Hoist The Flag: 5-0-0 in 6 starts; 1970 Champion 2-year-old Colt; sired two-time Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe winner Alleged.
Second generation – Mr. Prospector: set new track record for 6 furlongs of 1:07 4/5 at Gulfstream and set new track record for 6 furlongs of 1:08 3/5 at Garden State; a sire of sires; a very important source of stamina, as well as speed, the Mr. Prospector line has carried on the influence of Native Dancer. The sire line of Mr. Prospector has produced 8 of the past 13 Kentucky Derby winners; 8 of the past 10 Preakness winners and 10 of the past 12 Belmont winners.
All of the above thoroughbreds are ancestors of Vue who is the dam of War Pass. As you can see, there is tons of stamina in the pedigree of War Pass – and that’s just on the side of the dam. He also has stamina on the sire line.
One item to note, Mr. Prospector as a broodmare sire has never produced a winner of any of the Triple Crown races, however his line did produce the 2006 Kentucky winner Barbaro via La Ville Rouge by Carson City and the 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini via Cara Rafaela by Quiet American. The broodmare sire line of Native Dancer has produced the 1993 Preakness winner Prairie Bayou and 2001 Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given.
Another thing that intrigued me about the pedigree of War Pass was that like Cherokee Run who is best known as a sprinter, there were several other ancestors who were champion sprinters that sired important horses. 1947 Champion Sprinter Polynesian sired Native Dancer who almost swept the Triple Crown and 1958 Champion Sprinter Bold Ruler sired Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
So, it will definitely be interesting to see I War Pass can live up to the greatness of some of his ancestors.
So far, he’s off to a great start.
Posted by: Calvin Carter on February 26, 2008 at 03:25 PM
Unfortunately, War Pass did not return to the form he showed in his two-year-old season and he did not compete in the Kentucky Derby.
So far, I have not had any “Wow” moments when studying the pedigrees of 2YO’s headed for the 2010 Triple Crown trail.
It’s still early, though.