Friday, November 29, 2013

Road To The Kentucky Derby, Remsen, Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Racing Roundup

The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” takes us to the Empire Stake Saturday where nine young Thoroughbreds will go to the gate in the 99th running of the $400,000 Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct racetrack. Post time for the Remsen is 3:49 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Later that afternoon, the Derby Trail runs southwest to the Bluegrass State where 10 horses have been entered in the 87th running of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs. Post time is 5:35 EDT.
Under the new tiered-point system implemented by Churchill Downs last year to determine which horses will qualify to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate, the winner of the Remsen and Kentucky Jockey Club will each receive 10 points while the second-place finishers will receive 4 points, the third-place finishers will receive 2 points and 1 point will be awarded to the fourth-place finishers.


Trainer Claude “Shug” McGaughey, trainer of the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, will send the 9-5 morning-line favorite Honor Code to the starting gate. Since his impressive performance in the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, Honor Code has been working out good in preparation to run in the Remsen.
"He's done everything pretty well since the Champagne, and we're looking forward to running around two turns and stretching him out a little bit and see where it takes us," said McGaughey in an Aqueduct track news story by John Scheinman. "It will be interesting to see him going around two turns, a mile and an eighth and where he places himself," added McGaughey.
Honor Code has yet to win a stakes race. But, he showed early brilliance in his maiden debut, coming from dead-last, 22 lengths behind the leaders, to win the 7-furlong sprint by an impressive 4½-lengths over a sloppy track at Saratoga. Honor Code followed that performance with another dazzling come-from-behind rally to narrowly miss earning graded stakes honors in the Champagne Stakes by a neck.
Although Honor Code has not won a stakes race, he has the breeding to be a stakes-caliber Thoroughbred.
His sire, A.P. Indy, broke his maiden on his second attempt by 4-lengths, running 6½-furlongs at Santa Anita Park. He followed that brilliant run with a victory in a one mile allowance race and capped off his 2-year-old racing season with a narrow win by a neck in the 8½-furlong Hollywood Futurity Stakes (G1).
As a 3-year-old, A.P. Indy won his season debut in the one mile San Rafael Stakes (G2) and followed that with a 1¾-length win over Bertrando in the Santa Anita Derby. On Kentucky Derby day, A.P. Indy was scratched with a sore hoof, but finished his racing season with wins in the Peter Pan Stakes (G2), Belmont Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
The tail-female line of Honor Code is pretty good with the stakes winners Serena’s Cat, Serena’s Tune and, most notably, Serena’s Song, an outstanding multiple graded-stakes winning filly, who compiled a 18-11-3 record in 38 starts with $3,283,388 in career earnings.
Like Shug, I’m looking forward to see how well Honor Code performs in the Champagne Stakes.
Another horse I like in this race is Noble Moon who will go to the starting gate as a 6-1, morning-line long shot. Noble Moon is also stepping up in class and has yet to win a stakes race. He broke his maiden by three-quarters of a length in a 6-furlong sprint at Belmont Park on September 14. He followed that performance with a third-place finish in the one-mile Nashua Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on November 3.
Noble Moon also has the breeding to be a stakes caliber racehorse. His sire, Malibu Moon, is the sire of Derby winner Orb and his damsire is the Classic Champion Thoroughbred, Kingmambo.
Long shot Afleet Accompli (20-1) and Cairo Prince, the 2-1, morning-line second choice, round out the exotics.


Trainer Patrick Byrne will send the prohibitive 6-5 morning-line favorite Almost Famous to the starting gate. Almost famous moves up in class and has yet to win a stakes race. However, he looked good easily winning an 8½-furlong race by six lengths at Churchill Downs on November 9.
Since his last race, Almost Famous has been working out good at Churchill and he repeats the performance of his last race, he should be competitive in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
Two horses I like a lot in this race are Notability (10-1) and Culprit (6-1), and both are trained by Dale Romans.
Notability comes into this race off of a second-place finish in his maiden debut when he lost by a half-length to Culprit running a mile at Churchill Downs on October 27.
Sired by English Channel, Notability is bred on the same Ancestral Herd nick of Optimizer who, with $916,747 in lifetime earnings, is English Channel’s best runner to date.
Culprit also moves up in class and has yet to win a stakes race. However, he also has the breeding to be a stakes-caliber Thoroughbred.
Street Sense, the sire of Culprit, won the 2007 Kentucky Derby and his damsire A.P. Indy won the 1992 Belmont Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic Stakes (G1). Seattle Slew, the grand damsire of Culprit, was the 1977 Triple Crown winner.  
The pace figures and speed ratings for Notability and Culprit are on par with the figures for this race and if they repeat the performance of their last race, they should be competitive in the Kentucky Jockey Club.
Mygalsal (15-1) rounds out the exotics. Of all the horses in the race, Mygalsal has the most foundation and he’s only finished out of the money once with a 1-4-1 record in seven starts.
Mygalsal is a sire-line descendant of Mr. Prospector and he’s bred on the Ancestral Herd nick of Mr. Prospector over the Northern Dancer Ancestral Herd. That’s the same Ancestral Herd nick that produced the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.
Mygalsal’s tail-female line is reinforced by the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Louis Quatorze, and Conquistador Cielo.
If Mygalsal moves forward and improves off of his last race, he should be competitive in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2).

Friday, November 22, 2013

Road To The Kentucky Derby: Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes Racing Roundup

The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” takes us to the Pelican State Saturday where 10 two-year-old Thoroughbreds will go to the starting gate in the 11th running of the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) at Delta Downs racetrack.
Trainer Mark Casse will send Coastline to the gate as the lukewarm 5-2 morning-line favorite. In his three previous starts, Coastline has never finished worse than second and he comes into the Jackpot with a 3-length win in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs on October 27. His time of 1:36.77 for the one mile race was pretty decent and the energy he showed at the finish indicates that Coastline should not have any trouble stretching out to 8½-furlongs.
Coastline has been working out good at Churchill Downs and regular jockey Shaun Bridgmohan returns for the mount. I look for Coastline to be competitive.
A long shot I like in the Jackpot is Rankhasprivileges who, at 15-1 morning-line odds, will go to the starting gate for trainer Kenny McPeek. Stepping up in class, Rankhasprivileges comes into this race off of a 1¼-length win in his maiden debut, running 8½-furlongs at Keeneland racetrack on October 20.
How Rankhasprivileges fares in his second start remains to be seen but I like his breeding.
File, the second dam of Rankhasprivileges, was a stakes winner of the Cinderella Stakes and she, also, is the dam of the outstanding stakes winner and sire Forty Niner. Continue, the third dam of Rankhasprivileges, and his fourth dam, Courtesy, are Reines-de-Course mares and the tail-female line (Family 1-n, Chelandry) is the same immediate family of the 1984 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner, Swale – Continue is the second dam of Swale.
Spend A Buck, the grandsire of Rankhasprivileges, was a winner of numerous graded-stakes races including the 1985 Kentucky Derby and he also was the 1985 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Colt and Horse of the Year. Einstein, the sire of Rankhasprivileges, was a Brazillian-bred multiple graded-stakes winner, proficient on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces.
Nearly eight years earlier to the day, Einstein, as a three-year-old, also made his maiden debut at Keeneland on October 22 of 2005, finishing fifth in a 7-furlong sprint. On his second start, Einstein broke his maiden with an impressive 5¾-length win in a one mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. He followed that with a fourth-place finish in an 8½-furlong allowance race on the turf at Churchill Downs to close out his three-year-old racing season.
As a four-year-old, Einstein won his first three races including a narrow win by a neck in the one and seven sixteenths mile Gulstream Park Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G1) on the turf. Einstein finished the season with a fourth-place finish in the Pan American Handicap (G3) and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (G1).
In four racing seasons, from October of 2005 to November of 2009, Einstein compiled an 11-4-4 record in 30 starts with $2,945,238 in career earnings.
It’s too early to tell if Rankhaspriveleges will live up to his breeding. But, it appears that Rankhasprivileges is further along in his development than Einstein was at this time of year. If he continues to improve and move forward, Rankhasprivileges should be tough in the Jackpot.
Trainer Tom Amoss will send Rise Up to the starting gate as the 3-1 morning-line second choice. In five starts, Rise Up has compiled a 3-1-0 record including a 4¾-length win in the 6-furlong Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes at Mountaineer racetrack last August and 6½-length romp in the one mile Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs on October 26.
Jockey Gerard Melancon guided Rise Up to victory in the Jean Lafitte and he retains the mount in the Jackpot. Rise Up has been working out good at the Fair Grounds racetrack and a recent bullet work on November 15 could have him ready to run another good race.
Another long shot I like in this race is Big Bazinga (12-1) who comes into the Jackpot off of a narrow loss by a half-length the Grey Stakes at Woodbine racetrack on October 6. Big Bazinga took the lead in that race, but finally yielded at the finish line.
Rosie Napravnik picks up the mount on Big Bazinga in the Jackpot and if he repeats or improves on his performance in the Grey Stakes, I look for the pair to be competitive.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Master Stud Master: How Influence Of The Ancestral Herd And Behavioral Genetics Determined Outcome of the 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Stakes

I had planned on writing a lengthy wrap-up of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes but time constraints of personal obligations, family and work force me to offer this abbreviated version. I will elaborate more on these topics in future blogs.

For me, the superb win by long shot New Year’s Day in the 30th running $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park was no surprise. He and the three other young colts I wrote about in my blogBond Holder, Strong Mandate and Tap It Rich – were among the top five finishers in the Juvenile.
Rather, the win of New Year’s Day was a confirmation of what I’ve known from many years of research and study, and that is the influence of the Ancestral Herd and behavioral genetics, or what my friend Kerry Thomas calls Emotional Conformation, is of primary importance in determining the outcome races on the Kentucky Derby Trail.
In the book we co-authored, Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes, published in 2012 by Trafalgar Square Books, Kerry and I note that the behavior or Emotional Conformation of the horse is the final piece of the breeding puzzle necessary to produce equine champions.
Franco Varola, an internationally-renowned writer, author and developer of the Dosage theory, also knew about the important influence of the Ancestral Herd and behavior genetics.
In 1974, Varola wrote in his landmark book, Typology of the Racehorse (published by J.A. Allen & Company Limited), “that the prepotency of a few great continuators of the breed is not a matter of individuals alone but of entire sire lines. I am aware that it is not technically correct to speak of prepotency of bloodlines, but the phenomenon is worth noting.”
Arguably, Varola was genius and his observation, prophetic, as since publication of his book, descendants of the Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector and Sunday Silence Ancestral Herds have dominated the world of Thoroughbred horseracing and continue to dominate the sport to this very day.
New Year’s Day is a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd and a unique feature of his pedigree is that he’s bred on the nick of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd over the Northern Dancer Ancestral Herd and that is the same nick that produced Street Sense, winner of the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1). Street Cry, the sire of New Year’s Day, is also the sire of Street Sense. Dixieland Band, the second damsire of New Year’s Day, is the damsire of Street Sense.
Since 1984, sire-line descendants of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd have won seven Breeders’ Cup Juvenile races: Tasso (1985), Rhythm (1989), Timber Country (1994), Unbridled’s Song (1995), Anees (1999), Street Sense (2006) and Midshipman (2008).
Also, on the Triple Crown Trail, The Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd has been a powerful influence and during the past 24 years – since 1990 – descendants of that herd have sired 29 Classic Champion Thoroughbreds who have won 38 of the past 72 Triple Crown races for a 53% strike rate:
Palace Malice (2013 Belmont), I’ll Have Another (2012 Kentucky Derby, Preakness), Ruler On Ice (2011 Belmont), Drosselmeyer (2010 Belmont) Lookin At Lucky (2010 Preakness) Mine That Bird (2009 Kentucky Derby), Summer Bird (2009 Belmont), Curlin (2007 Preakness), Street Sense (2007 Kentucky Derby), Jazil (2006 Belmont), Afleet Alex (2005 Preakness, Belmont) Birdstone (2004 Belmont), Smarty Jones (2004 Kentucky Derby, Preakness), Empire Maker (2003 Belmont), Funny Cide (2003 Kentucky Derby, Preakness), War Emblem (2002 Kentucky Derby, Preakness), Point Given (2001 Preakness, Belmont), Commendable (2000 Belmont), Red Bullet (2000 Preakness), Fusaichi Pegasus (2000 Kentucky Derby), Lemon Drop Kid (1999 Belmont),  Victory Gallop (1998 Belmont), Real Quiet (1998 Kentucky Derby, Preakness), Editor’s Note (1996 Belmont), Grindstone (1996 Kentucky Derby), Timber Country (1995 Preakness), Thunder Gulch (1995 Kentucky Derby, Belmont), Hansel (1991 Preakness, Belmont) Unbridled (1990 Kentucky Derby).
Varola also knew about the importance of behavioral genetics. His Dosage system (not the one commonly used today) consisted of five “aptitudinal” groups, and Varola was most interested in the behavioral traits and characteristics that each sire transmitted to his offspring.
“The differences between the five aptitudinal groups are of essence or character,” noted Varola in his book Typology of the Racehorse (JA Allen, 1974). “It matters very little whether a racehorse is 16 hands or 16.2, or whether it is chestnut or brown; but it does matter a lot the way he behaves in actual racing, whether he is consistent or erratic, brilliant or slow, bellicose or resigned, in other words which pattern or mode of being is he expressing...It is of great utility to be able to distinguish between these various aptitudes [behavioral genetics], this being something that plays an effective part in mating.”
Yes, indeed, Mr. Varola.
How is it that over the centuries, generation after generation, there have been numerous Classic Champion Thoroughbreds and outstanding sires that are the sire-line descendants of only a couple Ancestral Herds?
Is it due to dumb, blind luck of a breeders scattered here and there? Or, perhaps, it could be the work of the sublime, unseen hand of the Master Stud Master.

I know the pedigrees and bloodlines it takes to be a Classic Champion Thoroughbred. I’ll be at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale and if you’d like for me to provide you with a shortlist of potential broodmare prospects, leave me your information on this blog or you can securely contact me at my Classic Champion Thoroughbreds website.
Anyone who’s followed my blog for any length of time knows that my study of Thoroughbred pedigrees and the late Federico Tesio, a world-renowned owner, breeder and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses, has had a tremendous impact on my analysis of classic champion prospects. The result of that research is what I call the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and it is a powerful tool I use to determine if a young colt has to potential to become a Classic Champion Thoroughbred.
In addition, the behavior of the horse or Emotional Conformation is the final piece of the breeding puzzle. Behavior was the key puzzle piece Tesio relied on to breed his numerous champion Thoroughbreds and, during his lifetime, he bred an incredible 21 Italiano Derby winners.
The Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and the Emotional Conformation of the horse are important tools that have enabled me to pick the classic champions Orb, I’ll Have Another, Animal Kingdom, Pour Moi, Super Saver, Lookin At Lucky, and Summer Bird. In 2012, all five horses I profiled in my Kentucky Derby blog finished in the top five.
My consulting service, Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, provides its clients with important information necessary to achieve their goals and realize their dreams of competing at the highest level. Every evaluation includes a detailed pedigree analysis and a Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile and draws upon the breeding theories of great Thoroughbred breeders as well as those of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds owner Calvin L. Carter.
Classic Champion Thoroughbreds serves the needs of its clients – helping them to eliminate “luck” in buying and breeding Thoroughbred Champions. In addition to bloodstock consulting, I can also help you with your printing and publishing projects. Whatever you need, be it flyers, brochures, reports, catalogs, newsletters, webpage content or book-length manuscripts, Calvin can put your ideas and stories on paper and find you a printer or publisher.
If you would like to buy a broodmare at the Keeneland Sale or if you have a need for writing and publishing services, contact me and Classic Champion Thoroughbreds will work with you to realize your goals and dreams.
Or, if you would like to meet and get to know me better, that's fine too as I always like to make new friends.