Friday, May 6, 2011

Animal Kingdom Has Potential To Reign Supreme In Kentucky Derby 137

Readers who follow my blog know that Animal Kingdom has been my favorite since I wrote about him in my 2011 Kentucky Derby Outlook last December.

The pedigree is the most important tool I use to determine if a young colt has star potential. In addition, past performances and the will to win are also important factors I look at. However, my friend Kerry Thomas, founder of the Thomas Herding Technique, is better than I am at measuring the
emotional conformation of a horse.

Animal Kingdom has always reigned supreme on my list. He has the breeding and mental toughness to easily handle the demanding 10-furlongs of the Kentucky Derby.

Here’s what I wrote about him last December:

Animal Kingdom’s pedigree is as close to
WOW as you can get. His sire, Leroidesanimaux, was bred in Brazil but was a multiple graded-stakes champion in North America at the age of four and five and the 2005 Champion Male Turf Horse. Candy Stripes, his grandsire, is the sire of Invasor - the Uruguayan Triple Crown Champion, North American Horse of the Year and Champion Older Male. Leroidesanimaux’ second dam, Kerali, is the dam of super broodmare Hasili - dam of champions Intercontental, Banks Hill, Dansili, Champs Elysees, Cacique and Heat Haze.

Animal Kingdom’s damsire is the
legendary Classic Champion Thoroughbred and German Derby winner Acatenango – three-time Horse of The Year in Germany and champion sire in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2001. All of the stallions on the damsire line going back six generations are Classic Champion Thoroughbreds and German Derby winners.

Dancing Brave, the sire of Animal Kingdom’s second dam Dynamis, is a Classic Champion Thoroughbred and the 1986 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner.

If Animal Kingdom continues to improve and move forward as a 3-year-old, he will be tough on the Triple Crown trail.

Although lightly raced, Animal Kingdom looked good in his two starts this year and his last-to-first-place move for the 2¾-length win in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) was impressive. He’s battle-tested and is competitive from anywhere on the race track – in two of his races he raced just off of the pace and in two races he closed from dead last.

Team Valor International, Barry and Kathleen Irwin and trainer H. Graham Motion have done an excellent job of bringing Animal Kingdom to the Kentucky Derby. His work out at Churchill Downs was good and Animal Kingdom is my top pick.

For the rest of my key Derby exotic wagers, I’m sticking with horses I liked on this year’s trail: Midnight Interlude, my pick to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1), Brilliant Speed, my pick to win the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and Nehro who I tagged as a possible upset candidate in the Arkansas Derby (G1). All three of those horses are bred to go long and they will still be running when most of the field is trailing off.

Midnight Interlude has a good mix of speed and stamina in his pedigree. His sire was the speedy War Chant who won the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and was able to stretch his speed out to 9-furlongs when he lost the 2000 Santa Anita Derby by one length to The Deputy.

Groom Dancer, the damsire of Midnight Interlude, was a multiple Group Stakes winner in France who was most competitive running at one mile to 11-furlongs. Most of the races he won were at a distance of 9-furlongs and farther. Triple Crown winner Secretariat is the sire of the third dam and First Landing, the sire of the fourth dam, also sired Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Riva Ridge.

Other notable stamina influences in the pedigree of Midnight Interlude include Blushing Groom, Northern Dancer, Lyphard, Kris S., Roberto and Mr. Prospector.

Midnight Interlude finished third in his debut in January and I like the way he has steadily improved with each race. Prior to winning the Santa Anita Derby, Midnight Interlude fired a bullet work out and since that race, he has fired three straight bullet works – two of those were at Churchill Downs on both a good and a sloppy track.

Starting from post 15, Midnight Interlude will be in a good position to avoid traffic problems and he will be tough to beat in the Kentucky Derby.

Brilliant Speed, with Dynaformer as his sire, should like the stretch out to 10-furlongs. Dynaformer has only had three colts run in the Derby and all of them, including 2006 Derby winner Barbaro, finished in the money.

The distaff part of Brilliant Speed’s pedigree is also filled with stamina influences. Passing Mood, the third dam of Brilliant Speed, is also the dam of Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Touch Gold and Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval.

Other stamina influences include Gone West, Mr. Prospector, Deputy Minister, Buckpasser and Secretariat.

Brilliant Speed struggled as a 2-year-old and finally broke his maiden on his fifth attempt winning an 8½-furlong maiden race on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs last December.

But as a 3-year-old, Brilliant Speed has shown vast improvement narrowly losing by a nose his stakes debut in the one mile Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January. A month later at Gulfstream, Brilliant Speed suffered another narrow defeat finishing third, just a half-length shy of first, in the Hallandale Beach Stakes. Brilliant Speed capped off that nice run with a win in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) and stamped his ticket to the Derby.

That’s the kind of improvement I like to see in a colt at this time of year and with jockey Joel Rosario in the mount, Brilliant Speed will be tough in the Derby.

In February, Nehro broke his maiden in a one mile race at Oaklawn Park and in March he suffered and narrow loss by a neck to Pants On Fire in the 9-furlong Louisiana Derby (G2). Nehro returned to Oaklawn and a month later he suffered another narrow loss to Archarcharch in the Arkansas Derby (G1).

Like Brilliant Speed, Nehro is a fast improving colt who could be peaking at the right time. Nehro will start from the auxiliary gate and should be able to avoid traffic problems. I look for him to be competitive.

Archarcharch was my long shot pick in the Southwest Stakes and I’ll use him, as well as Dialed In, Mucho Macho Man and Twice The Appeal, on the bottom of a few trifecta and superfecta wagers.


  1. Sharon ScarpelloMay 7, 2011 at 7:21 AM

    When it comes to Animal Kingdom, I can honestly say, I heard it here first!(in fact, I heard alot of things for the first time, here on this blog. lol) Good luck today, Calvin!

  2. Thanks Sharon. Good luck to you too!

  3. Hey, congratulations, Calvin!! You hit this one, right on the money. Hope you bet a lot ;o) Gary Stevens on NBC said AK was going to LOVE Pimlico. Fingers crossed!!

  4. Calvin ...Congratulations on Animal Kingdom ! You have never been off him, and brought him to everyone's attention long ago. Year to year you have applied your pedigee knowledge to sort out the real cream of the crop. Well done my friend, well done indeeed! we have a Triple crown winner comming? I'm keeping my fingers crossed :)

  5. Calvin Carter is the man. Respect.

  6. Sharon, TBDancer, SRVegas, Wubert,

    Thank you for the kind comments and for following my blog.

    It's been a long trail. One never knows if these young equine athletes will live up to their breeding but Animal Kingdom reigned supreme today in Kentucky Derby 137.


    I have my fingers and tossed crossed!

  7. Congratulations on your prediction..... your pedigree knowledge helps we American horse lovers who are always checking the line for Secretariat, Native Dancer, Seabiscuit, etc. Your knowledge is MUCH deeper.

  8. Ka-ching!!!

    Incredible preview....this one needs to be printed out and hung on the wall. Well done.
    I look forward to your Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate version!!



  9. Congratulations Calvin

    Your Blog is the first one I go to for information on Pedigree. The insight you possess is second to none.

    Thanks again


  10. Bravo Mr. Carter! What a great race, hope Animal Kingdom is well this morning, and hope we have a Triple Crown Winner this year! Good job...

  11. Anonymous, Keith, Arnold, Greg,

    Thank you so much for the kind comments. It means a lot to me.


    I was counting on you to bring me up to speed on the on the Canadian Crown as I'm behind my times on the potential contenders - I've got a lot of catching up to do.

  12. No doubt a great researching from part of Mr. Calvin Carter "discovering" Animal Kingdom potential. He won the Derby easily and with authority. His chance to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes are really good. Congratulations Calvin!

  13. Calvin... good work! I note that 10 'cappers were asked to list their Top 10 contenders in the Ky Derby edition of HorsePlayer Magazine ... only 3 mentioned him at all (out of 100 possibilities) and YOU were the only one to list him as #1!

  14. perucho07, johnatprairiemeadows,

    Thanks for the kind compliments and thanks for following my blog. I appreciate it.

  15. You turned my attention to AK early on, and this was the first time I singled out the derby winner on my wagers in 10 years. You have been a very insightful resource on the triple crown trail for me since Summer Bird. Thanks, and keep it up.

  16. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the compliment and thanks for following the blog.

    Love Summer Bird - one of my original WOW horses.

  17. Well done , Calvin , a man among boys.

  18. Well done, Mr. Carter. REALLY well-done. You can bet I'll be checking your blog regularly now. So, who do like for the Preakness?

  19. SlewStable, dddundalk,

    Thanks for the compliment and thanks for following the blog.


    I like Animal Kingdom to go all the way. The field is not set yet but some others I like coming out of the Derby are Midnight Interlude, Nehro and Mucho Macho Man.

    I don't think any new players will be a factor but I'll have a better idea when I see the past performances of the final entries.

    Again,thanks all for the compliments and following the blog.

  20. EMS meganet777@aol.comMay 19, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Mr Carter Sadly I came to the party too late ..
    I just happened to find you tonite !! Mawy I say
    that your call on the Derby was AAAAA +++++

    cheers Earl

  21. Earl,

    Thank you for the kind compliment and thanks for following the blog - I appreciate it.