Friday, June 3, 2011

Epsom Derby Racing Roundup

In my last blog I noted that since 1970, descendants of the Northern Dancer sire line have dominated the English classics.

But if Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II has her way Saturday there could be a changing of the guard as trainer Sir Michael Stoute, looking for his sixth win in the Epsom Derby, sends jockey Ryan Moore and
Carlton House, a talented Street Cry colt and a descendant of Mr. Prospector, to the starting gate as the 2-1 Twinspires morning line favorite in the 232nd running of the Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs.

Stoute and Moore won the Derby last year with the
King’s Best colt Workforce who is the only descendant of Mr. Prospector to win the Epsom Derby. Workforce set a new course record of 2:31.33 which was nearly one second faster than the previous best set in 1995 by Lammtarra who was sired by Nijinsky.

Whether Carlton House wins remains to be seen but if he does win it would be the second year in a row that a descendant of Mr. Prospector won the Derby. You can watch a video of Carlton House in the Dante Stakes (G2)
here. Carlton House is the sentimental favorite to win but at 2-1 morning line odds I’ll be looking elsewhere.

Besides, I think this edition of the Epsom Derby is wide open and there are several who could win.

Three long shots I like are
Masked Marvel (20-1), Treasure Beach (20-1) and Ocean War (15-1). I’ll play them with the 3-1morning line second choice Pour Moi.

Pour Moi, making his 3-year-old debut, finished third in the Prix La Force Stakes (G3) in April and came back in May to win the 10-furlong Greffulhe Stakes (G2). Pour Moi came from dead last and made an explosive move in the stretch of the Greffulhe Stakes to win by 1 ½-lengths. You can watch the video of Pour Moi in the Greffulhe Stakes (G2)

Pour Moi also has very good breeding. His sire is the Classic Champion Thoroughbred
Montjeu who also sired the Epsom Derby winners Motivator (2005) and Authorized (2007). Whenever you find Montjeu in the pedigree you also have the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Sadler’s Wells and Northern Dancer. Multiple generations of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds is one of the things I look for when studying pedigrees.

Darshaan, the damsire of Pour Moi, won the Prix Du Jockey Club Stakes (G1) and he is a descendant of one of the best sire lines of Nasrullah. Darshaan sired Dalakhani, winner of the 2003 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and he is the grandsire of Sir Percy, winner of the 2006 Epsom Derby.

Shirley Heights, the second damsire of Pour Moi, won the 1978 Epsom Derby and he sired Slip Anchor, winner of the 1985 Epsom Derby. Shirley Heights is also the grandsire of High Rise, winner of the 1998 Epsom Derby and he is the great grandsire of Sir Percy.

Mill Reef, the third damsire of Pour Moi, won the 1971 Epsom Derby and he sired the Epsom Derby winners Shirley Heights and Reference Point (1987).

In addition the tail-female line stallions
Conquistador Cielo and Northern Dancer are also Classic Champion Thoroughbreds.

The type of breeding pattern in the pedigree of Pour Moi where all the stallions on the tail-female line, the damsire line, and the sire line forms what I refer to as a “W” pattern and it’s a powerful influence I look for in the pedigree.

Treasure Beach has the same “W” pattern in his pedigree and he’s the only horse that has raced 12-furlongs. He looked pretty impressive in winning his 3-year-old debut when he squeezed through horses to win by a head in the Chester Vase Stakes (G3) on May 5.You can watch video of Treasure Beach in the Chester Vase Stakes (G3)

His sire,
Galileo, won the 2001 Epsom Derby and sired New Approach, winner of the 2008 Epsom Derby. Mark Of Esteem, the damsire of Treasure Beach, won the 1996 edition of the 2000 Guineas Stakes (G1) and he is the sire of Sir Percy winner of the 2006 Epsom Derby.

Masked Marvel finished fifth in the Classic Trial (G3) in April and came back in May to win the Iba Cocked Hat Stakes by three lengths. Masked Marvel should improve in his third start for the year and he has the breeding to be a factor in the Epsom Derby.

His sire is Montjeu and his damsire, Mark Of Esteem, is the same damsire of Treasure Beach and a descendant of one of the most important sire lines of Nasrullah.

One of the most impressive influences in the pedigree of Masked Marvel comes from 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.

Acatenango is also the damsire of Kentucky Derby winner
Animal Kingdom and when he is present in the pedigree, there are several generations of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds. I followed the line back to the foundation Stallion Darley Arabian and found that 11 of the stallions going back 15 generations were Classic Champion Thoroughbreds – that’s pretty impressive.

Here’s a look at the sire line of Acatenango. The Classic Champion Thoroughbreds are in all capital letters:


Ocean War is stepping up in class but he is undefeated in two starts this year. He looked very impressive coming from dead last to win the Makfi Newmarket Stakes by 2 ¼-lengths on April 30. You can watch video of Ocean War in the Makfi Newmarket Stakes here.

Dalakhani, the sire of Ocean War, is a Classic Champion Thoroughbred and a descendant of one of my favorite Nasrullah sire lines. Ocean War almost has a perfect “W” pattern pedigree like Pour Moi and Treasure Beach. Royal Academy, the damsire of Ocean War, never won a classic race and his biggest win was in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Good luck with your Derby picks.


  1. Well done a fascinating blog and an acturate analysis

  2. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the compliment and for following the blog.

    I was hoping that Treasure Beach would hold on for the win because I had a win bet on him but I cashed on the exacta with Pour Moi.

  3. Your painstaking work manages to hone in on the true contenders time and time again!

    Someone with connections must give NBC a call and hire you as their professional analyst. It's about time that true talent is recognized and given the national spotlight.

    Well done, Calvin.

    -John C.

  4. John C.,

    Thank you for the kind compliment. Studying Thoroughbreds is my passion and it gives me a lot of satisfaction.

    Thanks for following the blog.

  5. What about Michael Barzalona. Precocious talent but did he misjudge the line? If he'd blown that its a £15m mistake. I hope your gonna help us with royal ascot now. I do a lot of automated form work but for these top races your insight is invaluable. Thanks again why don't the racing post give you a column???

  6. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the compliment and thanks for following the blog.

    I love to watch the Royal Ascot but I'm better at the 2- and 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.

    In regard to the Racing Post, I'm open to all offers. :-)

    Thanks for following the blog.

  7. Cavin
    NOW I see it...nice analysis and picking Pour Moi, with three longshots. And your W pattern. Since chatting with you earlier this AM in Laura's Iron Maidens chat room, I'll once again congratulate you on your winning exacta. You CAN pick them my dear. Well done!
    I always enjoy stopping by here.

  8. SR Vegas,

    Thank you for the kind compliment. I always enjoy talking with you and the gang at the Iron Maidens chat room.

    Thanks for following the blog.