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HRN Original Blog:
Pedigree Power

2013 Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile - Black Onyx

Saturday's Spiral Stakes (G-2) at Turfway Park was to be the long-awaited season debut of Grade 2 winners UNCAPTURED and BALANCE THE BOOKS. Instead, an overlooked longshot named Black Onyx stole the show. Jockey Joe Bravo let Black Onyx settle near mid-pack on a long, relaxed rein, staying out of traffic and kickback while traveling four and five wide the entire way.
 
MAC THE MAN, GIANT FINISH and TAKEN BY THE STORM handled the tepid early pace. Around the far turn, it looked like Taken by the Storm and Giant Finish would continue on, but Joe Bravo gave Black Onyx his head. The dark bay colt lengthened stride and and cruised under the finish line 1 ½ lengths in front. Uncaptured made a bold move to get up for second, ½ length in front of Giant Finish. The final time of 1:51.98 was comparable to last year's winner Went the day Well (1:51.33) and faster than 2011's winner Animal Kingdom (1:52.32).
 
 
 
 
 

BLACK ONYX (Rock Hard Ten - Kalahari Cat, by Cape Town) was bred by Cloverleaf Farms. The colt was bought out of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August 2011 Yearling Sale for $125K by Sam Herzberg of Sterling Racing and turned over to trainer Kelly Breen for conditioning. Black Onyx raced twice as a two year old, both times over sloppy tracks. He won his maiden in his second start. The dark brown colt made his three year old debut at Gulfstream Park with a lack-luster fourth place finish over a fast track. He was 19 lengths behind the winner, Bradester. Switched to turf, Black Onyx posted a victory over allowance foes at 1 1/16 miles, beating future Rushaway Stakes winner Crop Report by almost two lengths. With his Spiral Stakes triumph, Black Onyx earned 50 points on in the Derby Points System and owns a 5-3-1-0 ($407,810) race record.



Sire:
Rock Hard Ten is a son of Kris S. out of Tersa, a French Champion who happened to be a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Gato Del Sol. The gorgeous, nearly black, 17.3 hands high stallion needed time to grow into his frame. Making his debut in February of his three year old season, Rock Hard Ten quickly gained the attention of handicappers looking for the next Kentucky Derby star. In only his third start, Rock Hard Ten jumped into the Santa Anita Derby fray and finished second. Unfortunately, he was disqualified for bearing in through the stretch. The son of Kris S. skipped the Kentucky Derby due to insufficient earnings. Like the rest of the three year olds of 2004, Rock Hard Ten proved no match for the brilliant Smarty Jones in the Preakness, but he did finish second in the classic race. He won twice more to finish out his three year old season. Rock Hard Ten faced the starter only four times as a four year old and was undefeated.

There were high expectations for Rock Hard Ten as a stallion, but so far, he has only 12 stakes winners. As a grandson of the Irish Champion Roberto, his turf genes are showing. The majority of his offspring are slow maturing turf and synthetic routers. Unfortunately, Rock Hard Ten's small number of stakes winners and slow maturing runners weren't popular amongst American Breeders and the stallion was sold to improve the Korean breeding program.

ROCK HARD TEN (Kris S. - Tersa, by Mr. Prospector)
Black_Onyx_Rock_Hard_TenRace record: 11-7-1-1 ($1,870,380)

Career highlights:
1st - Santa Anita Handicap [G1] 1 ¼ miles
1st - Malibu Stakes [G1] 7F
1st - Swaps Stakes [G2] 1 1/8 miles
1st - Charles H. Strub Stakes [G2] 1 1/8 miles
1st - Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap [G2] 1 1/8 miles
2nd - Preakness Stakes [G1] 1 3/16 miles
3rd - Santa Anita Derby [G1] 1 1/8 miles

Female family:
Black Onyx's dam Kalahari Cat (Cape Town - Desert Stormette, by Storm Cat) never earned black-type, but she compiled a good 14-3-4-3 ($106,760) race record. She didn't make it to the races until she was four and needed nine starts to win her maiden. The daughter of Cape Town won once sprinting over dirt and twice at a mile on turf. Kalahari Cat is a decent broomare. Her second foal Quality Council (by Elusive Quality) was third in the Nashua Stakes and spent his racing career as a dirt sprinter. His younger brother Francois (by Smarty Jones) won the one mile Straight Line Stakes over the Arlington Polytrack. Black Onyx is the first graded stakes winner foaled by his dam. Kalahari Cat has a two year old Pioneerof the Nile colt named Opsec, plus a yearling Tapit colt and she's in foal to Congrats.

Kalahari Cat is a half sister to the stakes winner Desert Gold (by Seeking The Gold). That one bore the English Group 1 winner White Moonstone (by Dynaformer). Black Onyx's second dam Desert Stormette (by Storm Cat) didn't win a stakes race, however she's a full sister to Breeders' Cup Sprint heroine Desert Stormer. Other notable members of this distaff family include the Grade 1 turf mare Better Lucky and the Grade 2 turf horse Casino Host.

Black Onyx is a member of the Lowe Female Family 21-a. A member of this family hasn't won the Kentucky Derby since 1927 when Whiskery got the job done. Only one other member, Plaudit (1898) has worn the roses. 21-a members have fared better in the Preakness Stakes. Four winners, including Deputed Testamony (1983) and Tanks Prospect (1985) won the race. Another famed member of the family is Broad Brush, who was third in the 1986 Preakness. Only one horse from the 21-a family has won the Belmont, that was Hastings in 1896.

Black_Onyx_Pedigree_Chart



Damsire:
Black Onyx's damsire Cape Town, a half brother to Champion Juvenile Filly Golden Attraction (by Mr. Prospector) was a cross of the best Overbrook Farm/Claiborne Farm bloodlines. As a juvenile, he won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. At three, he was naturally pointed to the Triple Crown Trail. The Wayne Lukas trainee won the Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby, and was third in the Blue Grass. Cape Town finished an even fifth, beaten just three lengths Kentucky Derby. He made a sharp move in the Preakness, but faded in the stretch. Cape Town was retired after the Preakness.

As a sire, Cape Town's offspring prefer sprints to 1 1/6 miles, although a few have won at 1 1/8 miles and he has one winner at 1 ¼ miles. His best runner is Kentucky Oaks heroine Bird Town. To date, his daughters have produced six stakes winners. Most are best up to 1 1/6 miles. Two, Louisiana Derby surprise Pants on Fire and now Black Onyx, are winners at 1 1/8 miles.

CAPE TOWN (Seeking the Gold - Seaside Attraction, by Seattle Slew)
Black_Onyx_damsire_Cape_TownRace record: 12-5-1-1

Career Highlights:
1st – Florida Derby (G-1) 1 1/8 miles
1st - Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G-2) 1 1/6 miles
1st – Holy Bull Stakes (G-3) 1 1/16 miles
3rd – Blue Grass Stakes (G-1) 1 1/8 miles


 
Rock Hard Ten has been bred to two daughters of Cape Town, both foals are winners and one is now a blacktype winner. Rock Hard Ten has three runners, all winners out of Seeking The Gold mares.

Summary:
Black_Onyx_Kentucky_DerbyBlack Onyx is a large dark brown colt who, with his blazed face, looks remarkably like his third tail sire (great grand sire) Roberto. Black Onyx is still maturing physically and mentally. He drifted out down the Turfway stretch due to left-handed whipping, but he didn't impede horses behind him. Black Onyx has a beautiful long stride, but a high knee action like many turf horses. Roberto, Kris S. (sire of Zenyatta) and Rock Hard Ten's offspring all carry a powerful shoulder and are big, lengthy horses. They love the mud and in the case of Rock Hard Ten's offspring, are best over turf and Polytrack.

More questions than answers surround Black Onyx after his victory in the Spiral Stakes. Distance? Check. He won't have a problem getting 1 ¼ miles. Dirt surface? Well... The major issue here is surface. His worst race of his career came over fast dirt. The most logical step for Black Onyx would be the Bluegrass Stakes over the Keeneland Polytrack. If he does enter the starting gate on the first Saturday in May, Black Onyx supporters better pray for rain.
 

 

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Older Comments about 2013 Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile - Black Onyx...

TV, Paddy O'Prado, a grass horse who hit the board in the Kentucky Derby. Dullahan, a synth horse who hit the board in the Kentucky Derby. Animal Kingdom, a grass and synth horse who won the Kentucky Derby. In the last few runnings, that seems somewhat friendly to me towards grassy/poly types.
Daddy could dirt Black Onyx will too
If a floundering Mac The Man wouldn't have impeded Fear The Kitten on the rail at the 3/8th's pole.. Kitten would have won by a length+. Watch him in the Blue Grass!!!
And i agree with the several posts here.Laura's pedigree articles are indeed well organized,objective and informative.
saw black's turf win prior to Spiral live,looked powerful and impressive.To me he did not look as good on Poly even thiugh he won.I think Laura is right,he would need a pre Derby rain dance.
I love the way your write-ups are organized, Laurie. I'm really happy to see "Jersey" Joe Bravo in the Derby.
Informative article.I like analysis on his drifting due to left hand whip. The fact he may eventually excel back on the turf or synthetics is useful. A long stride and high action says turf to me.
how about some examples of can be friendly??? The facts don't bear that out, or are you talking about selective memory?
I'm in. I'm just a softie for blacks, though!
The Churchill dirt can be friendly to turf/poly types.
You certainly cannot dismiss him at Churchill Downs.
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Meet Laurie Ross
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've been around horses for most of my life, working in racing stables as a hot walker and exercise rider in my teenage years, and later as a volunteer with rescued and retired racehorses. I became interested in pedigree when the sons and daughters of my favorite horses started their racing careers.   

 

For more than a decade, I've passionately studied pedigree, how it applies to handicapping and breeding theories. In 2010, I joined Horse Racing Nation as their Pedigree Analyst, focusing on juvenile stakes winners, Triple Crown contenders and first crop sires from a handicapping perspective.   

 

In 2011, I accepted the role of South Florida Coordinator and Advisory Board Member for the national non-profit Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association (ThoroFan). Working closely with Gulfstream Park management and other race fans, we created a ThoroFan Chapter at Gulfstream Race Track. Our main project is assisting Thoroughbred rescue and re-training groups.

 

I continue to maintain my website Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds and blog of the same name. As a pedigree consultant, I specialize in assisting small to mid-size breeding/training operations with broodmare breeding reports, sales catalog analysis and recommendations on claims and private sales. 10 - 20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue and retraining groups.
 
I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic please contact me at lross@horseracingnation.com.