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Pedigree Power

2014 Kentucky Derby Watch - Corfu Pedigree Profile

This years rendition of the Saratoga Special was special indeed. Returning to the races just 17 days after winning his five furlong maiden in a sharp :58.27, Corfu made every step a winning one in the Grade 2 race for juveniles. Breaking sharply for John Velazquez, Corfu threw down early fractions of :21.62, and :44:02. Rounding the turn, the Pletcher trainee zipped six furlongs in 1:08.61. As a leg weary Corfu staggered through the stretch, Wired Bryan, who had been tracking Corfu in the early stages, made his way to the throat-latch of Corfu. The two colts battled it out to the wire, both slowing with every step. In the end, a determined Corfu refused to let Wired Bryan by, winning by a flared nostril. Corfu's stablemate Danza closed quickly up the rail for third place. Corfu's display of brilliant speed and tenacity earned him a new stakes record of 1:15.57 for 6 ½ furlongs. He nudged out 2008 Saratoga Special champ Run Away And Hide's stakes record of 1:15.67 and was just a little over two seconds shy of Quality Road's track record of 1:13.74.

CORFU (Malibu Moon - Fashion Cat, by Forest Wildcat) brought $185,000 as a Fasig Tipton July yearling. Pin-hooked to the Barrett’s March Selected Two-Year-Old Sale by Breaking Point Farm, the son of Malibu Moon breezed the fastest two furlongs of the sale in :20 4/5. Owners Michael Tabor, John Magnier and Derrick Smith purchased the sale-topping colt for $675,000 and sent him to the barn of Todd Pletcher. To date, Corfu has won both of his starts and earned $168,000. The question on everyone's lips now is – how far will Corfu's breathtaking speed take him?

Corfu sire Malibu MoonCorfu's sire MALIBU MOON, a son of A.P. Indy out of the French Group 1 winner Macoumba, was a very precocious youngster, which is rare for offspring of A.P. Indy. The dark bay colt raced only twice. He placed second in his debut in late April of his two year old season. A month later he beat maidens going five furlongs on the dirt at Hollywood Park. Unfortunately, Malibu Moon’s promising career was cut short due to a slab fracture of his right knee.

Malibu Moon started his breeding career in Maryland at Country Life Farm where he stood for $3,000. In his first crop, the well-bred stallion sired ten blacktype runners and his daughter Moon Thistle won the Russian Derby (Gr.1, 1 ½ miles, turf). The following year, along came 2004 Champion Two Year Old Declan’s Moon and Grade 1 sprinter Malibu Mint. Four years later, Malibu Moon moved to the big leagues in Kentucky.

The stallion is quickly taking the place of his retired sire as a stamina influence. Eight of his offspring have won at 1 ¼ miles or farther, including this year's Kentucky Derby hero Orb, CCA Oaks winners Devil May Care and Funny Moon, Personal Ensign Handicap heroine Ask The Moon, and Delaware Handicap winner Life At Ten. All but two of Malibu Moon's winners at 1 ¼ miles are fillies.

To date, the stallion has sired one champion, 28 graded stakes winners and 70 stakes winners. His progeny win at all distances and over all surfaces. He's currently the second-leading sire in terms of earnings.

Female Family:
Corfu dam fashion wildcatFashion Cat (Forest Wildcat - Hold to Fashion, by Hold Your Peace) made only three starts. She didn't make it to the races until September of her three year old season. The daughter of Forest Wildcat expressed talent in her debut, laying down swift fractions of :45.53 and :58.03, and recording a final time of 1:11.48 for six furlongs. After placing in an allowance race, the filly was unplaced in her final start. She retired with a 3-1-1-0 ($29,240).

Despite her brief stint on the racetrack, Fashion Cat is a well-bred mare. Her most accomplished half sibling, Peace Rules (by Jules) won the Generous (G-3) stakes at two. As a three year old, Peace Rules won the Louisiana Derby and Bluegrass Stakes before finishing third in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, beaten only a gallant head by Empire Maker for second. The courageous colt went on to win the Haskell, Suburban and two more graded stakes, and placing in the Travers.

Fashion Cat's other stakes winning half sibling Wild Fashion (by Once Wild) was a good sprint mare, winning or placing in more than half of her 46 starts at the allowance and listed stakes level. An unraced half sibling Silverous (by Silver Buck) foaled a restricted stakes place runner.

As a broodmare, Fashion Cat has bore five foals of racing age. Four have started, three are winners. Corfu is her first stakes winner. Fashion Cat has a yearling Tapit filly and an Artie Shiller weanling.

Corfu's second dam Hold to Fashion (by Hold your Peace) didn't win a stakes race, but his third dam Toga toga (by Greek Answer) was a Grade 3 stakes winning sprinter.

Corfu pedigree

Corfu damsire forest wildcatCorfu likely receives his blazing speed from his damsire FOREST WILDCAT (Storm Cat - Victoria Beauty, by Bold Native). While he was precocious enough as a two year old, the son of Storm Cat didn't face serious stakes company until he was five. He won four stakes and equaled the track record twice at Pimlico for six furlongs in 1:09. Forest Wildcat also won the six furlong Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes in 1:09.57 at Keeneland.

As a damsire, Forest Wildcat is represented by 46 stakes winners, mainly sprinters, including the crack sprinter Evita Argentina, who beat the boys in the San Vicente (G-2) and also won the La Brea (G-1), both at seven furlongs. He's also the broodmare sire of the Grade 1 winning sprinter Sean Avery. There are no absolutes in horse racing. Although his daughters have bore two stakes winners at 1 1/8 miles and 1 ¼ miles Forest Wildcat is noted for his speed and distance-challenged progeny.

The bloodline cross of Malibu Moon with Forest Wildcat has produced six foals, three starters/winners. Corfu is the only blacktype earner.

CorfuCorfu doesn't appear to have a great leg extension. His strides are short but smooth with slightly high knee action. He drifted out slightly to Wired Bryan in the closing stages of the Saratoga Special, but chalk that up to being tired. Otherwise, he's a professional colt. So far, Corfu hasn't shown – or needed to show – an ability to rate off of the pace, such is his superior speed. This turn of foot can ultimately be his downfall at longer distances. Unless he can rein in the speed and set more reasonable fractions, Corfu may not handle much past six or seven furlongs.

Another concern with natural speed and talent in such a young horse is soundness. Her late start at the track and short career indicates that Corfu's dam had soundness issues. Nonetheless, too fast too soon has derailed many a promising career. Run Away and Hide, the previous Saratoga Special record holder, made only three starts in his career and retired after his graded stakes winning victory.

Only two Saratoga Special winners, Chief's Crown (1984) and Favorite Trick (1997) have continued on to claim a Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory. In 2005, Henny Hughes won the Special, but found the 1 1/6 miles of the Breeders' Cup a little too far. He finished second to Stevie Wonderboy. In 2007, Kodiak Kowboy won the Special, but floundered over a very muddy track at Monmouth, placing a distant third to the sensational two year old War Pass. Finally, in 2011, Union Rags splashed his way to victory in a muddy Saratoga Special, only to fall a nostril short to Hanson in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile, losing out on Championship honors as well.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is contemplating the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at seven furlongs as Corfu's next test.

Photo of Fashion Wildcat courtesy of Candice Chavez.


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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Derby Watch - Corfu Pedigree Profile...

I do hope Corfu stays sound while continuing to learn and develop. I saw him at SAR in his heavily backed debut. I thought he was beat when a Clement horse made a bold run at him. I bet Wired Bryan on top in the exacta and was again sure he was going to yield late. Corfu has some gameness. I love your race description especially the use of “flared nostril”. That described the closeness perfectly.
The road to fame is littered Generously, by the way, with loads of babies that tapped out or were burnt out by their over ambitous trainers...Wait...You can never tell.
yes he was. Thanks for noticing the typo :-)
Favorite Trick was 1997 ;)

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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.

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