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HRN Original Blog:
Pedigree Power

2014 Kentucky Derby Watch - Top Ten

The people have voted! Horse Racing Nation is the only website that allows the fans to determine the best racehorses in the land. Your opinion is just as good – and sometimes better – than those guys who are paid the big bucks at other major websites. Let's take a closer look at the contender pedigrees for the top ten on the 2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders list.

strong-mandateRank #1 | STRONG MANDATE (Tiznow - Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister) KEESEP'12 $200K
Race record: 3-2-0-0 ($230,400)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
 
 
 
 
This classically bred colt pole vaulted to the top of many people's early Kentucky Derby lists after his dominating victory in the Hopeful Stakes (G-1). He jumped from #6 to #1 in the Horse Racing Nation ranks after the Hopeful. His HOF trainer indicated that they'll target the Champagne Stakes at Belmont as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Read his pedigree profile.


Yes_Im_LuckyRank #2 | YES I'M LUCKY (Yes It's True - Whenthedoveflies, by Dove Hunt) OBSMAR '13 $105K
Race record: 4-3-1-0 ($113,000)
Trainer: Edward Plesa Jr.
 
 
 
 
Owned and trained by the same connections of Preakness Stakes runner-up Itsmyluckyday, this precocious youngster won his debut in June by a head at Monmouth. Two weeks later, he invaded Florida and galloped to a four length advantage in the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes. In August, he was back at Monmouth, this time on the turf, where he won the Tyro Stakes. The sprinting son of Yes It's True suffered his first defeat in the Sapling Stakes (G-2), tiring to second after getting involved in a speed duel. Yes I'm Lucky owns a sprinter's pedigree. His dam is a multiple stakes winning sprinter over dirt and turf. His sire won multiple graded stakes as a sprinter, yet his damsire was able to stretch his speed to 1 1/16 miles. Yes I'm Lucky's second damsire Notebook won from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. So Yes I'm Lucky likely has a sprinter/miler career ahead of him. I expect we'll see him in Florida this winter and the Swale Stakes would be a logical goal.
 

Honor_CodeRank #3 | HONOR CODE (A.P. Indy - Serena's Cat, by Storm Cat)
Race Record: 1-1-0-0 ($48,000)
 
 
 
 
 
This exquisitely bred colt has a sole race on his resume, but what a race! From the conservative old-school barn that brought us this year's Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Honor Code pulled off a Zenyata-like move in his debut. Trailing the field by as much as nine lengths at one point, jockey John Velazquez gave a text-book Calvin Borel ride, scraping the paint around the turn and splashing by the field by 4 ½ lengths before they knew what hit them. The colt did appear a tad green, ducking from the whip and slowing slightly to run with the other horses before hitting another gear, but this can certainly be forgiven. Honor Code is a half brother to the turf graded stakes winner Noble Tune, who won the American Turf Stakes (G-2) this year. Both his dam Serena's Cat and second dam Serena's Tune are stakes winners, and Honor Code's third dam is the Champion Three Year Old Filly and top producer Serena's Song. Honor Code has the pedigree to become his sire's first Kentucky Derby winner. So far, he also appears to have the talent. We may find out in the Champagne Stakes.


Alberts_HopeRank #4 | ALBERTS HOPE (Run Away and Hide - Accepting Fate, by Saint Ballado) BESOCT'12 $40K
Race Record: 3-2-0-0 ($139,200)
Trainer: Mike Puype
 
 
 
 
Alberts Hope plummeted from #1 to #4 in an eye blink after his first defeat, beaten roughly a length in the Del Mar Futurity. It wasn't a bad race. The colt was off slow, went three and four wide on the turns and made up ground over a speed favoring track. Alberts Hope likely won't want to travel farther than a mile or 1 1/16 miles. His female family carries plenty of speed and includes the graded stakes winners Little Sister, Littleexpectations, and the top sprinter sire Valid Expectations.


No Nay NeverRank #5 | NO NAY NEVER(Scat Daddy - Cat's Eye Witness, by Elusive Quality) KEESEP'12 $95K
Race record: 3-3-0-0 ($367,999)
Trainer: Wesley A. Ward
 
 
 
 
After winning his debut at the Keeneland spring meet, the powerful son of Scat Daddy drilled the best two year olds in Europe, gaining victories in the Norfolk Stakes (GB-G2) at Ascot and the Prix Morny (FR-G1) at Deauville. According to an article in the Racing Post, No Nay Never will take the rest of the year off. He may return next spring at Keeneland before targeting the St James's Palace Stakes or 2,000 Guineas. No Nay Never has a solid miler's pedigree. Although his sire won up to 1 1/8 miles over dirt, his progeny are proving to be very adept over grass and synthetic surfaces. Some win going long, but the majority are strongest around a mile to 1 1/16 miles. No Nay Never's dam is a half sister to the G-3 winner Cat's Career (by Mr. Prospector) and the stakes winner Al's River Cat (by Riverman). His second dam Comical Cat (by Exceller) is stakes placed. Notable (but distant) relatives include Spinaway winner So Many Ways (by Sightseeing), multiple graded stakes winner Event of the Year (by Seattle Slew) and recent Del Mar Futurity hero Tamarando (by Bertrando).


Kobes BackRank #6 | KOBE'S BACK (Flatter - Well, by Well Decorated) OBSMAR'13 $480K
Race record: 1-1-0-0
Trainer: John W. Sadler
 
 
 
 
The swift colt was the fourth highest sales topper after working a furlong in :10.1 at the OBS March Select Two Year Olds in Training Sale. The half brother to Grade 3 stakes winner Well Spelled unfortunately has the typical story of many precocious two year olds exiting the training sales. He won the Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes in his debut and promptly dropped off the radar. Evidently, he's getting some time off likely due to baby issues, and hopefully, will be back by the end of the season. Kobe's Back's distaff line is light on black-type. He and his half brother own the only stakes wins in two generations. Their third dam bore the multiple stakes winning veteran My Creed.


CasiguapoRank #7 | CASIGUAPO (Sightseeing - Emerald Buddha, by Buddha) FTKOCT '12 $4,7K
Race record: 3-1-1-1 ($82,25)
Trainer: Mario Morales
 
 
 
 
Despite being a bargain basement price of $4,700 at the October Fasig Tipton sale, Casiguapo has been ambitiously placed. Debuting in the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes, Casiguapo finished third, beaten four lengths by Yes I'm Lucky. After winning his maiden at Calder, Casiguapo entered the Hopeful Stakes as the longest shot on the board. He was no contest for Strong Mandate, but was the best of the rest, getting up for second money by ½ length. The modestly-bred colt owns the first black-type in two generations of his family. This distaff line has produced the nice winners Relaxing Rhythm, the stakes veteran Meribel and Champion Sprint mare Informed Decision. Casiguapo's damsire Buddha, a brilliant, but fragile son of Unbridled's Song, won his only three starts, including a victory in the Wood Memorial. He was a flop as a sire and packed off to Argentina, but may become a useful broodmare sire since both Casiguapo and All In Blue are out of Buddha mares.


All in BlueRank #8 | ALL IN BLUE(More Than Ready - Cloud Rise, by Buddha) FTSAUG'12 $155K
Race record: 3-1-0-0 ($53,200)
 
 
 
 
Owned and trained by the folks who brought us Shanghai Bobby, All In Blue was an impressive 6 ¼ length debut winner on July 4 at Belmont. The pretty gray colt stumbled at the start of the Sanford (G-2), but managed to finish fourth. He was a disappointing seventh in the Hopeful Stakes (G-1). All In Blue is by the same sire as Verrazano and is descended from a hardly family of stakes veterans. His dam is a half sister to the favorite stakes old-timers Chorwon (by Cozzene) and Yukon Robbery (by Yukon). Her half sisters and their daughters have bore Kentucky Oaks (G-1) heroine Believe You Can (by Proud Citizen), the graded turf star Rush Bay (by Cozzene) and Grade 2 winner Classic Elegance (by Carson City). All In Blue may handle distances up to 1 1/8 miles. There's some turf history in the family, so there's always the option of the lawn. No clue where All In Blue will surface next. Perhaps we'll see him this winter in Florida.


Debt CeilingRank #9 | DEBT CEILING (Discreet Cat - Top Marks, by Marquetry) KEESEP'12 $27K
Race record: 4-3-0-0 ($138,347)
Trainer:John J. Robb
 
 
 
 
After three straight wins, including a spectacular victory in the Bashford Manor (G-3), Debt Ceiling finished in the basement of the Sanford Stakes (G-2). He's currently breezing at Laurel Park. Read his pedigree profile.


CleburneRank #10 | CLEBURNE(Dixie Union - Joyful, by Distorted Humor) KEESEP'12 $300K
Race record: 2-2-0-0 ($119,744)
Trainer: Dale L. Romans
 
 
 
 
This gifted colt won his debut over the turf and then rallied to win the Iroquois (G-3) by a neck over his stablemate Smart Cover on the Churchill dirt. He's the first foal produced by his dam. She finished in the money in half of her ten starts and is a half sister to stakes winner Fifty Stars (by Quiet American) and stakes placed Ghost Mountain (by Silver Ghost). The graded stakes mare Dream Rush is a member of this distaff line. Cleburne's pedigree indicates that he could be proficient over all surfaces at two turns, so it will be interesting to follow his career.


Keep an eye on:

Bashart#13 | BASHART (War Front - Busy Windsong, by Clever Trick) KEEAPR '13 $225,893
Race record: 3-2-0-1 ($178,000)
 
 
 
 
One would think that a colt by a graded stakes winning dirt sprinter out of a mare by a stakes winning dirt sprinter would....be a dirt sprinter? Not in this case. At least, not yet. Bashart has easily won both starts at 1 1/16 miles over the lawn, including the With Anticipation (G-3). There's proclivity for turf throughout Bashart's pedigree. Three half siblings, including his stakes winning half brother Squall Creek (by Storm Creek) won or placed over the turf. Plus, his second damsire is the international super sire, Danzig, who practically revolutionized the breed in Australia. Bashart's dam never won, but she's a half sister to the stakes winner Timely Reserve (by Nureyev), dam of the graded stakes winning sprinter Sandtrap (by Irish River). Her daughters bore the stakes veterans Song of Navarone and Celluloid Hero. Bashart could wind up as one of the favorites in the Breeders' Cup Turf.


solitary_ranger#23 | SOLITARY RANGER (U S Ranger - Galileo's Star, by Lil E. Tee) OBSAUG 12 $28K
Race record: 3-1-2-0 ($109,000)
 
 
 
 
Solitary Ranger galloped to a 5 ½ length victory in the Arlington Washington Futurity, winning his maiden in the process. He was bested by No Nay Never in his previous start by two lengths. Solitary Ranger is the first stakes winner produced by his dam. She's a half sister to the stakes winners June's Reward (by Hail Bold King) and Thanks Tissar (by In Tissar). The later bore a stakes winner and two stakes placed runners. Solitary Ranger has yet to compete over dirt. His first crop sire was undefeated as a two year old and campaigned as a turf miler in Europe. So far, two of his 15 starters have won; Solitary Ranger over polytrack and a filly over the turf. We'll might see Solitary Ranger compete in the Dixieana Breeders' Futurity. From there, he could enter either the Breeders' Cup Juvenile or Turf.


Dunkin_Bend#34 | DUNKIN BEND (Dunkirk - Misty Run, by Vindication) OBSAPR '13 $110K
Race Record: 3-2-1-0 ($117,000)
 
 
 
 
This is a very fast colt. After zipping a half in :45 flat, he dusted a maiden field by over five lengths, getting six furlongs in 1:10.38 at Saratoga. Next, facing only three other colts in the Sapling Stakes (G-2), he tracked the early speed, went three wide on the turn and captured the six furlong contest by 1 ¼ lengths in a workman-like 1:11.82. Dunkin Bend's lightly raced first crop sire won the Florida Derby and placed in the Belmont Stakes. The pretty gray colt's distaff line is filled with speed. His unraced dam is a half sister to a stakes placed sprinter, while his second dam Unique Creek (by Tricky Creek) was a stakes winning sprinter. We don't know how far Dunikn Bend will want to run, but he has the pedigree to handle 1 1/16 miles. After all, his damsire Vindication won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He doesn't hail from the soundest of sire lines, so here's hoping this promising two year old sticks around.


Tamarando#38| TAMARANDO (Bertrando - Tamarack Bay, by Dehere)
Race record: 4-2-1-0 ($243,120)
 
 
 
 
 
Tamarando closed from the back of the pack to get up in time to win the Del Mar Futurity (G-1) by ½ lengths. Tough to do over a speed favoring track. By the same sire as 2001 Futurity hero Officer, Tamarando is a half brother to the stakes winning sprinters U'Narack (by Unusual Heat), Luckarack (by Lucky Pulpit) and stakes placed Tamarack Smarty. Tamarando should relish the dirt at Santa Anita. He hails from a quality California family and will likely be best up to 1 1/16 miles.


Smart_Cover#47 | SMART COVER (Any Given Saturday -Crazy Cousin, by Smart Strike) FTKJUL 12 $35K
Race record: 3-1-1-1 ($51,968)
Trainer: Dale L. Romans
 
 
 
 
Like his stablemate Cleburne, Smart Cover won his maiden over the turf. Tn the Iroquois, Cleburne benefited from an inside trip while Smart Cover had to go four wide on the far turn, running out of real estate to just miss beating his stablemate at the wire. Smart Cover is the second foal produced by his dam. A half sibling has failed to win in three starts. Their dam is a half sister to Hobbs (by Put It Back) a multiple stakes winner over the lawn. This distaff family has produced Wood Memorial winner Gemologist, multiple G-1 winner Summer Colony and Japanese Champion Filly Still In Love.


Diamond_BachelorRank #110 | DIAMOND BACHELOR(War Front - Seasoned, by Pulpit) BESMAR '13 $570K
Race record: 2-2-0-0 $105,000
 
 
 
 
This colt is an undefeated stakes winner with a very good pedigree, so why is he buried back in the ranks? War Front is quickly becoming the hot “now” sire. His son Bashart won the With Anticipation (G-2) while Diamond Bachelor was victorious in the west coast equivalent, the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf Stakes. Diamond Bachelor is undefeated in his early career as a turf miler. He bettered his time by a full second from his maiden to stakes win. The colt carries the prestigious bloodlines of Claiborne Farm. He's the first foal out of his turf stakes-placed dam. She's a half sister to the dirt stakes winner Flavor (by Elusive Quality). The third generation is where all of the black-type lies. Breeders' Cup Classic winner Raven's Pass (by Elusive Quality), his half brother Gigawat (by Wild Again), G-1 winner No Matter What (by Nureyev) and her offspring, multiple G-1 winners Rainbow View (by Dynaformer), Just As Well (by A.P. Indy) and the graded stakes winning sire E Dubai are just a few of the highlights in this family. Diamond Bachelor may become a top turf miler, although with his pedigree, he may be just as proficient over dirt or polytrack.
 

If you don't see your favorite two year old colt mentioned, list him in the comments section and vote to make him a top contender!



 

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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Derby Watch - Top Ten...

my first top 7 are:1.California Chrome,2.Wildcat Red,3.General A Rod,4. Vicars In Trouble,5.Danza,6. WIcked Strong 7.Dance With Fate
my first top 7 are:1.California Chrome,2.Wildcat Red,3.General A Rod,4. Vicars In Trouble,5.Danza,6. WIcked Strong 7.Dance With Fate
my first top 7 are:1.California Chrome,2.Wildcat Red,3.General A Rod,4. Vicars In Trouble,5.Danza,6. WIcked Strong 7.Dance With Fate
my first top 7 are:1.California Chrome,2.Wildcat Red,3.General A Rod,4. Vicars In Trouble,5.Danza,6. WIcked Strong 7.Dance With Fate
my first top 7 are:1.California Chrome,2.Wildcat Red,3.General A Rod,4. Vicars In Trouble,5.Danza,6. WIcked Strong 7.Dance With Fate
Only 4 of these horses are still Derby bound
These fan-generated lists are highly subjective (as opposed to objective), but Ride On Curlin does deserve a place toward the top at this point in time. It's a bit silly to have two colts in the top 15 that have never even started. ROC has done well; posting a work yesterday, BTW, at Churchill, of 5f. in 1:01, 5/21, breezing.
Ride On Curlin exited a 5.5F MSW to contest a 8.5F (G3) stakes. He only got beaten 2L. With his pedigree he has shown enough ability to be in the top 10. Bodemiester, Dialed In and Nobiz Like Showbiz were all produced from Storm Cat mares
Ride On Curlin belongs on the list
higvg, you are absolutely correct.He not only toyed with the place horse.But that horse is supposedly the best 2yo in Mark Casses' barn.He is always loaded with young horses and that is saying alot.Borel told Byrne ,he ran a little green.He hit the rail at one point.He also said,if he wanted to chirp to the horse and give him his head.He could of won by a pole.What good would that have done.They are not looking to sell the horse.They did not need to impress anyone.Trust me when i tell you.They knew exactly what they were sitting on.If you do not believe me.Just ask fellow poster Amino.Quote Steve Austin.We had this one lined up 2 weeks before the fact.
  • https://www.facebook.com/higvg · That's nice. I wish them well with that horse in the stable of Byrne. And obviously do not want to sell it because of the way that led conservative Borel. Thanks for your comment. I was also surprised Kobe's Back in his debut in June BF Hollywood. I have not seen all the contenders run but Almost Famous and Kobe's Back I like. The most logical is that I see racing most Derby Contenders to be more clear about the likely options. Excuse my English literal thing is that I am Venezuelan and my English is limited. Greetings. · 313 days ago
I think it should be taken into consideration in Almost Famous, the way won his debut was impressive. He played with the colt who came 2nd and was never required
@justorace - I updated his pedigree.
CASIGUAPO dam (Emerald Buddha) who's pedigree is incomplete is very strong through Alydar - interesting combo of top & bottom lineage, very strong
David ,believe me when i tell you,this horse is far from a sprinter.My friend Patrick Byrne trains this horse.I knew how much they loved him 10 days ago,this horse will rubn long.His next start will be in November in a 1 turn stake at a mile.
Still too early to separate
Currently Honor Code and Strong Mandate are front runners but this may be the most fluid list in America. It is likely that the KY Derby will be starting over the next 90 days so a periodic update will be fun. I agree with Andy the CD race last Friday had some runners. The winner Almost Famous was impressive. Out of Wild Gams, the horse may be a sprinter though. Almost Famous made my day on Friday with nice mutual in MSW.
With all due respect this list is a month or two too early. Once they start to stretch out on dirt, either in the Champagne in NY or the Frontrunner in CA, or more importantly in the Remsen, Cash Call Futurity, and the Kentucky Jockey Club stakes we can start to get a gauge of who will be in the starting gate next May, barring injury.
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • LaurieRoss · The list will be updated after the Breeders' Cup, plus reviewed next year. An ongoing feature. Thanks for your resonse! · 316 days ago
  • geldedridgling · Gotcha. Thanks for your pedigree analysis. · 316 days ago
The season for 2 y.o is still young but Honor Code gets my vote as of right now.
Yay 5 of my favorites are in the list, add schoolofhardrocks, My Brown Eyed Guy, Whyruawesome, Kendall's Boy, Can the Man, Spooky Vision and Havana are also on my life.
Honor Code is at the top of my watchlist right now. He's got a great pedigree, great connections, and had a great debute. I'd love for him to have a big win in the Champange.

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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.