Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Keeping It In the Family: Sirelines in the 2016 Kentucky Derby

Uncle Mo's Nyquist
With 18 days until the Kentucky Derby, the field is mostly set with 27 horses currently on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leader board Churchill Downs sent out on Monday vying to get into the field.

A maximum of 20 horses will enter the gate for the 2016 Kentucky Derby on May 7, with those runners representing a variety of sires and broodmare sires. Let’s take a look at some common themes seen on the pedigrees of those 27 looking to get in the Kentucky Derby.

The story of the Kentucky Derby may come down to Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) having four horses in the main body in his first crop of 3-year-olds to hit the track. With the defection of Tapit’s Cupid on Monday, Uncle Mo’s Mo Tom moved into the 20th spot and the second Uncle Mo on the also eligible list – Laoban – is now 23rd on the list. If all three horses currently in the field run, Uncle Mo will make history (along with Tapit) as the first sire since Equibase put charts online in 1991 to have more than two starters in an individual Kentucky Derby. Uncle Mo’s runners are the only representatives for the Indian Charlie branch of the Siberian Express line however, Siberian Express is also represented through the female family of a Derby contender. His granddaughter Dream of Summer (Siberian Summer) is the dam of Destin, who is No. 11 on the points list.

Dream of Summer is also helping another stallion make an impact on the list as her son Destin is by Giant’s Causeway (Storm Cat)Destin is one of two Giant’s Causeway sons on the list with Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass winner Brody’s Cause also giving Giant’s Causeway his second consecutive Keeneland Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity/Blue Grass double winner a few weeks ago. Giant’s Causeway is also the only stallion who has the distinction of representation on the current points list as both a sire and a damsire. His daughter Quiet Giant produced Gun Runner, who is No. 1 on the points list. But she’s not the only Giant’s Causeway foal who has a Kentucky Derby runner as Mor Spirit is sired by Eskendreya who is, you guessed it, a son of Giant’s Causeway.
Eskendreya
This year, Tapit (Pulpit) is looking to add a little more history to his resume in the Kentucky Derby with three contenders in the main body of the field. Uncle Mo and Tapit look to be the only sires to have more than two horses running in a Kentucky Derby since Equibase started posting charts for the race in 1991. Like the many sires before him in his sireline, Tapit is trying to make his own legacy as a sire-of-sires with his son Trappe Shot also having a runner in the race.

But possibly even more interesting than Tapit’s three runners is the number of horses representing his grandsire A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew) on the points list. Overall, three of A.P. Indy’s sons and grandsons account for five of the 27 horses on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. A.P. Indy’s sire Seattle Slew is represented by seven horses overall on the list with his son, the late Vindication, as the damsire of two of the runners.
A.P. Indy
Candy Ride (Ride the Rails) is represented by more than just his son Gun Runner in the Kentucky Derby if all goes to plan. His first-crop son Twirling Candy, who has heated up this Kentucky Derby prep season has a runner in Danzing Candy while Misremembered is hoping to give his sire another boost as a sire-of-sires with Dazzling Gem sitting 24th on the list.
Candy Ride
Unbridled’s Song may not have produced any runners in this year's Derby, but his name is all over bottom half of pedigrees on the Kentucky Derby points list as the damsire or great-damsire of three horses on the points list right now. His son Songandaprayer is the damsire of Danzing Candy, who is currently 10th on the leaderboard. Unbridled’s Song’s sire Unbridled is also represented by Empire Maker, whose daughter Nonna Mia produced Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner and Derby contender Outwork (Uncle Mo).

The exported classic winner producing stallion Forestry (Storm Cat) is back in the Kentucky Derby picture this year as the grandsire of Discreetness (Discreetly Mine), who is 26th on the list right now. If Discreetness gets in the race he’ll be the second representative for Forestry, who looks to be locked in if champion Nyquist (Uncle Mo) continues on the Kentucky Derby path. Nyquist is the first foal out of Seeking Gabrielle, a 9-year-old daughter of Forestry. Forestry is the sire of 2011 Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford, who also finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby.

Forestry
Like his sire before him, the late Dixie Union (Dixieland Band) is looking like he may make a nice broodmare sire in the coming years. The stallion had nine stakes winners as a broodmare sire last year and was the broodmare sire of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day (Street Cry). New Year’s Day’s dam Justwhistledixie is back this year to give her sire one of two Kentucky Derby runners in Mohaymen.

Dixie Union is just one of multiple sires leading back to Northern Dancer in this year’s Kentucky Derby. To be expected, Mr. Prospector is also represented through multiple sirelines in the field.
Sires and damsires on the points list as of April 18

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