by Jarrod Horak
Which horse has the best pedigree
to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday,
June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list starts with graded winner Alpha,
and you would be hard pressed to find better bloodlines.
Alpha’s sire Bernardini raced just
one season but he certainly made a splash in 2006. In his 3rd career
start, he won the G3 Withers and followed that up by capturing the G1
Preakness, G2 Jim Dandy, G1 Travers, and G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. He finished
his career with a runner-up effort behind Invasor in the G1 BC Classic.
As a sire, Bernardini was
represented by three grade one winners in his first crop, including his son
Stay Thirsty, who finished 2nd in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.
Bernardini’s sire A.P. Indy
won the G1 Hollywood Futurity in 1991 to end his juvenile season. In 1992, he
captured the G2 San Rafael, G1 SA Derby, G2 Peter Pan, and G1 Belmont Stakes.
He wrapped up his stellar career with a victory in the G1 BC Classic.
A.P. Indy is a son of Triple
Crown winner Seattle Slew, out of Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise. She was
also the dam of 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall.
Bernardini’s mother Cara
Rafaela (by Quiet American) was a classy runner for D Wayne Lukas in 1995-96.
She won the G2 Alcibiades and G1 Hollywood Starlet and placed in such
prestigious races as the G1 Las Virgenes (2nd), G1 SA Oaks (2nd),
G1 Ashland (2nd), G1 Kentucky Oaks (3rd), G2 Black-Eyed
Susan (2nd), and G1 Mother Goose (3rd). Cara Rafaela is
out of the Spectacular Bid mare Oil Fable.
Cara Rafaela’s father Quiet
American has sired numerous graded winners including 1998 Kentucky Derby and
Preakness hero Real Quiet.
Alpha’s dam Munnaya was bred
by Gainsborough Farm (KY) and won a turf marathon in her lone victory from four
outings in England. The 21-year-old mare has thrown ten winners including graded
stakes-placed turf runners Mystic Melody (by Seattle Slew) and Lavender Sky (by
Munnaya’s sire Nijinsky II (by
Northern Dancer) could run all day and the late, great European champion
captured the English Triple Crown in 1970. He sired well over a hundred stakes
winners including the likes of French champion Caerleon and 1986 Kentucky Derby
Munnaya’s mother Hiaam (by
Alydar), out of Canadian champion Kamar (by Key to the Mint), was a group three
winner as a juvenile in England. She is a half-sister to Canadian champion Key
to the Moon (by Wajima), multiple grade one winner Gorgeous (by Slew o’ Gold),
1990 Kentucky Oaks winner Seaside Attraction (by Seattle Slew), and Jood (by
Nijinsky II), dam of champion Fantastic Light.
Godolphin colorbearer Alpha is
bred to bred to run all day and should improve with age. His trainer Kiaran
McLaughlin saddled 2006 Belmont stakes winner Jazil. He does his best work in
New York and could spoil I’ll Have Another’s Triple Crown party on June 9.