Readers who follow my blog know that the pedigree is the most important tool I use to determine if a young colt has star potential – every now and then when studying pedigrees I have a “WOW” moment.
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 and his herd dynamic profile of the Derby horses can be found in the online magazine Kentucky Confidential.
In previous blogs I’ve used those tools to pick the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Animal Kingdom, Pour Moi, Super Saver, Lookin At Lucky, and Summer Bird. This year’s “WOW” horse and my pick to win Kentucky Derby 138 is Bodemeister, the 4-1 morning line favorite.
Since his maiden debut in January, I thought that Bodemiester had the potential to be a classic champion. His Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile, a tool I use to measure classic potential, is a whopping 96.25. The only horse left on the trail with a higher profile is Alpha (97.50).
I like the way Bodemeister, in just his third start, finished a game second to Creative Cause in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park. In that race, Bodemeister showed a lot of talent for such an inexperienced colt and was only beaten by three-quarters of a length by a seasoned colt that has finished in the money of all the big stakes races on the west coast.
Bodemeister was my pick to win the Arkansas Derby (G1) and from what I have observed, he appears to be progressing on the Derby trail much like his classic champion sire Empire Maker.
His time of 1:36.74 for the mile in the Arkansas Derby and final time of 1:48.71 shows me that Bodemeister has a good mix of speed and stamina that is so crucial if a young colt is going to win the Kentucky Derby.
The Arkansas Derby was Bodemeister’s fourth race and the Florida Derby was Empire Maker’s fourth race. Those races were breakout races for both colts and each earned a 108 Beyer speed figure and won by over 9 lengths.
The fractional times for both colts are very similar:
Bodemeister – 23.02, 46.55, 1:11.36, 1:36.74, 1:48.71
Empire Maker – 23.16, 46.56, 1:10.85, 1:36.14, 1:49.05
Bodemeister set his fractions on the lead while Empire Maker set his fractions staking a very fast Trust N Luck who led until the three-quarters pole and then Empire Maker took the lead and cruised to a 9¾-length romp.
Empire Maker’s next race was the Wood Memorial and he earned a 111 Beyer. Bodemeister’s next race is the Kentucky Derby and if he continues to move forward like Empire Maker – and I believe that he will – he’ll run a monster race and earn a huge Beyer.
Another thing I like about Bodemeister is that he is a descendant of the Mr. Prospector sire line which has dominated the Triple Crown for the past two decades.
Since 1990, a total of 394 horses have competed in the Kentucky Derby and 108 (27%) of them have been descendants of Mr. Prospector. Of those 108 horses, 25 (23%) finished in the top four and 10 won the Derby.
In addition, both Bodemeister and his sire Empire Maker are bred on the Mr. Prospector/Northern Dancer nick and since 1990 that nick, albeit with different ancestors, has been the most successful nick producing 11 classic winners:
Drosselmeyer – 2010 Belmont
Sire line – Distorted Humor/Forty Niner/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Golden Ballet/Moscow Ballet/Nijinsky/Northern Dancer
Summer Bird – 2009 Belmont
Sire line – Birdstone/Grindstone/Unbridled/Fappiano/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Hong Kong Squall/Summer Squall/Storm Bird/Northern Dancer
Curlin – 2007 Preakness
Sire line – Smart Strike/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Sherrifs Deputy/Deputy Minister/Vice Regent/Northern Dancer
Street Sense – 2007 Kentucky Derby
Sire line – Street Cry/Machiavellian/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Bedazzle/Dixieland Band/Northern Dancer
Jazil – 2006 Belmont
Sire line – Seeking The Gold/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Better Than Honour/Deputy Minister/Vice Regent/Northern Dancer
Birdstone – 2004 Belmont
Sire Line – Grindstone/Unbridled/Fappiano/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Dear Birdie/Storm Bird/Northern Dancer
Empire Maker – 2003 Belmont
Sire line – Unbridled/Fappiano/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Toussard/El Gran Senor/Northern Dancer
Fusaichi Pegasus – 2000 Kentucky Derby
Sire line – Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Angel Fever/Danzig/Northern Dancer
Victory Gallop – 1998 Belmont
Sire line – Cryptoclearance/Fappiano/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Victorious Lil/Vice Regent/Northern Dancer
Thunder Gulch – 1995 Kentucky Derby & Belmont
Sire line – Gulch/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Line of Thunder/Storm Bird/Northern Dancer
Hansel – 1991 Preakness & Belmont
Sire line – Woodman/Mr. Prospector
Damsire line – Count On Bonnie/Dancing Count/Northern Dancer
Storm Cat, the damsire of Bodemeister, helps to add speed to the pedigree but there are numerous strains of stamina influence throughout the pedigree. The tail-female line is reinforced with the Classic Champion Thoroughbreds A. P. Indy/Seattle Slew, Roberto and Nijinsky in addition to the sire-line Classic Champion Thoroughbreds Empire Maker and Unbridled.
Whether Bodemeister wins the Kentucky Derby remains to be seen. However, if he continues to move forward he has the potential to win the Derby and, perhaps, all of the classic races on the trail.
Other horses I like rounding out the top four include: I’ll Have Another (12-1), Dullahan (8-1) and Creative Cause (12-1).
Like Bodemeister, I’ll Have Another and Dullahan are descendants of Mr. Prospector and both colts won their last prep race coming into the Kentucky Derby.
I’ll Have Another comes into the Derby with a win in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) and the Santa Anita Derby (G1). His time of 1:47.88 in the Santa Anita Derby is the second fastest since Point Given’s time of 1:47.77 in 2001 and that’s the kind of time I like to see in a colt I believe may have classic potential.
His sire, Flower Alley, and damsire, Arch, indicate that I’ll Have Another should be able to easily handle the demanding 10-furlongs of the Kentucky Derby. Another interesting feature of his pedigree is that I’ll Have Another is a descendant of the Distorted Humor branch of Mr. Prospector and that line produced the classic champions Funny Cide and Drosselmeyer.
Trainer Dale Romans is taking Dullahan the same route to the Kentucky Derby that he took in 2010 with Paddy O’Prado who finished third in the Kentucky Derby.
In his debut as a 3-year-old, Dullahan was a one-length runner up to Howe Great in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. A month later, Dullahan won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland defeating the 2-year-old Eclipse Champion Hansen by 1¼-lengths.
Dullahan is a sire-line descendant of the Fappiano branch of Mr. Prospector and that line has produced four Derby winners: Mine That Bird (2009), Real Quiet (1998), Grindstone (1996) and Unbridled (1990).
Mining My Own, the dam of Dullhan, is also the dam of Kentucky Derby winner Mine that Bird.
Creative Cause is a young colt I’ve liked and followed since last summer. I profiled him in my 2012 Kentucky Derby Outlook as a young colt with a lot of talent and he’s lived up to that finishing in money in all of the big stakes races on the west coast.
Creative Cause is a sire-line descendant of Northern Dancer and his sire, Giant’s Causeway was undefeated in three starts as a 2-year-old (all at 7-furlongs) – winning the Group 3 Futurity Stakes and the Group 1 Prix de la Salamandre Stakes. As a 3-year-old, Giant’s Causeway was 6-4-0 in 10 starts, winning from 7- to 10-furlongs, and he was the 2000 Cartier Racing Awards European Horse of the Year.
If Creative Cause runs to the form of his previous races, he could easily hit the board or, maybe, win the Derby.
Went The Day Well at 20-1 morning line odds is an interesting long shot and I like what my friend Kerry Thomas said about him in the online magazine Kentucky Confidential.
Went The Day Well comes into the Derby with a win in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) and he’s owned and trained by the same connections of the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
Went The Day Well is also a sire-line descendant of Mr. Prospector and with Proud Citizen as his sire and Tiznow as his damsire, the classic distance of 10-furlongs should not be a problem.
Went The Day Well is bred on the Mr. Prospector/Tiznow-Man o War nick and that nick produced the classic champions Smarty Jones, Real Quiet and Commendable.
I don’t feel as strongly about Went The Day Well as I did with Animal Kingdom but he appears to maturing at the right time of year and another move forward off his win in the Spiral would make him very competitive in the Derby.
Good luck with your picks!