With victories in the Count Fleet and Withers Stakes, Alpha became
the top dog on the New York racing scene. Unlike
his previous two starts, the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee exhibited composure in
the starting gate of the Withers Stakes.
Breaking from the far outside, Alpha was bumped going wide around the
first turn. Despite the minor event, Alpha settled easily into fourth position
on the outside. Racing three wide, Alpha
collared the leaders at the top of the
stretch and raced fairly straight down the lane to win by an easy 3 ¼ lengths, getting the 1
1/6 miles in 1:44.23. Like his sire, Bernardini,
Alpha won the Withers Stakes with ease. The
well named Alpha heads many lists of top Derby contenders.
Owned by the esteemed Godolphin Racing, ALPHA
(Bernardini—Munnaya, by Nijinsky) has a prestigious pedigree. His sire Bernardini won at distances from a
mile to 1 1/4 miles, including victories in the aforementioned Withers, Preakness
and Travers Stakes. As a three year old,
Bernardini destroyed a small field of older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup by
over six lengths. Although he was second to the 2005 Argentinian Horse Of The
Year Invasor in a highly anticipated match-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic,
Bernardini earned an Eclipse Award as the top three year old for his previous
At stud, Bernardini was one of the best first crop sires of 2010
and currently leads the third crop sire list in terms of money won. To date,
he’s sired twelve stakes winners, nine of them graded, including last year’s
Travers Stakes hero Stay Thirsty and Cigar Mile victor To Honor And Serve. The young
stallion has already produced a winner at the classic distance of 1 ¼ miles and
Bernardini is poised to become a
successor to his sire A.P. Indy in getting stamina oriented offspring. With
A.P. Indy as his sire and Quiet American as his damsire, one would expect that
Bernardini’s progeny would be slow to develop; however Bernardini’s dam won
three times and placed four times in nine starts at two, which likely has an
influence on her son’s early success at stud.
Alpha’s dam Munnaya hit the board twice in her four race career.
The English turf router placed third in the Pretty Polly Stakes at 1 ¼ miles,
then won the listed Lingfield Oaks Trial Stakes at 1 7/16 miles (11.5
furlongs). Munnaya has produced ten
foals of racing age. Alpha is the second of her foals to win a stakes race.
Alpha’s distaff line has a strong affinity for the Seattle Slew
sire line. His ¾ brother Numaany (by A.
P. Indy) placed in a listed stakes in Dubai, while Alpha’s half-sister Mystic
Melody (by Seattle Slew) won a listed event and placed in Group 3 Stakes in
France. Additionally, Alpha’s
half-sister, Lavender Sky (by Mt. Livermore) placed in the Santa Anita Handicap
over the turf and Yaya (by Rahy) placed in a listed stakes in France.
Alpha’s female family is pure quality. His second dam Hiaam was
victorious in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes. Alpha’s third dam was 1979
Canadian Champion Three Year Old Filly Kamar.
She was later honored as 1990 Broodmare of the Year. Kamar bore Champion
Canadian Three Year Old Colt Key to the Moon, Kentucky Oaks heroine Seaside
Attraction and the multiple Grade 1 winner Gorgeous. Kamar has passed her
superior genes to her daughters, as Kamar’s grandson Fantastic Light earned
horse of the World honors two years straight and Kamar’s daughter Seaside
Attraction produced the Grade 1 winners Cape Town and Golden Attraction.
Tracing the female class farther back, Alpha’s fourth dam Square
Angel was 1973 Canadian Champion Three Year Old Filly and his fifth dam Nangela
was a blue hen (superior female). Grade
1 winners Turbulent Decent, Flashing and Swift Temper are members of this
The legendary Nijinsky is Alpha’s damsire. Nijinsky won the 1970 English Triple Crown,
the first to do so in 36 years. The brilliant Nijinsky was unbeaten as a two
year old and captured the Irish two Thousand Guineas and Beesford Stakes. At
three, Nijinsky captured the Epsom Derby with the fastest winning time on 36
years. Racing against older horses in
July of his three year old season, Nijinsky toyed with a field of major stakes
winners, winning by two lengths while being eased into a canter.
Nijinsky continued his impressive ways at stud, establishing
Northern Dancer as a major bloodline in Europe while toping the sire lists in
England and Ireland. Nijinsky is the
only stallion to have the distinction of siring a Kentucky Derby and Epsom
Derby winner in the same year. He is
classified as a Classic/Stout Chef-de-race.
Nijinsky was leading broodmare sire in the US two straight years. Among his daughter’s prestigious offspring are
2000 Horse of the World and 2001 US Champion Fantastic Light, Champion Sprinter
Rubiano, the Champion mares Flawlessly, Sky Beauty Heavenly Prize, and Belmont
Stakes winner Colonial Affair.
Alpha is a slightly built, diminutive colt, yet he is well
balanced and athletic with the body of a router. While not overly muscular,
Alpha inherited his sire’s deep, slanted shoulder and strong hindquarters. His
knew action is slightly high, but overall, Alpha has a smooth, easy gait with good
extension and no paddling or excess leg movement. With the bloodlines of the great Nijinsky,
Alydar, Key To The Mint and Quadrangle in his ancestry and his new found
maturity, Alpha has the pedigree and physique to be live up to his name as the
top pick on many Derby lists.
-By HRN Pedigree Expert, Laurie Ross