PANTS ON FIRE(Jump Start – Cabo De Noche, by Cape Town) made a liar out of the betting public in the Louisiana Derby when he tenaciously held off the late charges of the longshot last out maiden Nehro and the favorite Mucho Macho Man. Pants On Fire broke well and sat off the flank of Liondrive and took over at the top of the long Fair Grounds stretch. He bravely battled with Mucho Macho Man, refusing to let that one by, and held off the quickly closing Nehro to win the 1 1/8 mile Grade 2 event by a neck, getting the distance in 1:49.92. To be fair, it was reported after the race the Mucho Macho Man was compromised when he lost a shoe at the start of the race. Can he carry his speed an extra furlong?
Pants On Fire carries the bloodlines cultivated by the famed William T. Young’s Overbrook Farm. His sire Jump Start, a well bred son of A.P. Indy out of the stakes placed Storm Cat mare Steady Start, was a precocious juvenile. He won the Saratoga Special (G-1) at 6 ½ furlongs and was second to Officer in the Champagne (G-1) at 1 1/16 miles. Unfortunately, Jump Start suffered a career ending injury and was sent to stud at the end of his two year old season.
Jump Start has 19 stakes winners from six crops of foals. His best-known offspring are the Grade 1 hero Rail Trip and Grade 2 winner Sir Whimsey. His offspring are generally best as middle distance horses, between 1 and 1 1/8 miles. His only winner at the classic distance of 1 ¼ miles is Rail Trip winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup (G-1) over Cushion Track.
Pants On Fire’s damsire Cape Town (by Seeking The Gold) won the Florida Derby on disqualification, but was unplaced in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Sent to stud after the 1998 Preakness, Cape Town set about siring stakes winners up to 1 1/8 miles, but he does have on winner at 1/14 miles, the Venezuelan Group 2 mare Dubai Queen. Cape Town’s daughters emulate their sire and produce sprinter/milers. They haven’t produced a winner at 1 ¼ miles or longer, and Pants On Fire is the only representative that has been successful at 1 1/8 miles.
The A.P. Indy/Seeking The Gold bloodline cross has produced five stakes winners; the most accomplished before Pants On Fire's victory was the Grade 3 dirt sprinter Time To Get Even.
Pants On Fire is the second foal and second winner for his dam Cabo De Noche. The hard-trying mare needed 15 attempts to win her maiden which was her only victory. She placed second twice and third four times. Cabo De Noche is a half sister to The Gulfstream Park Turf Sakes winner Hatfield and Grade 1 Stakes placed Key Hunter. Key Hunter bore the Grade 3 stakes winning sprinter Liquor Cabinet. Pants On Fire’s fourth dam Flight Dancer is the grand-dam of Horse of the Year Saint Liam and the useful sire Silver Ghost. This distaff family is the Lowe Female Family 17-b, which has produced the Kentucky Derby/Preakness Champ Omaha, (1935), and the Derby heroes Johnstown (1939) and Decidedly (1962).
Pants On Fire’s second damsire Bates Motel took honors as Champion Older Male after his victories in four Grade 1 contests, including the Santa Anita Handicap and Woodward Stakes. Bates Motel’s daughters have produced 11 stakes winners, two at 1 ¼ miles. Bates Motel is also the second damsire of Horse of the Year Curlin.
The question firing in everyone’s minds after Pants On Fire’s Louisiana Derby victory is if his pedigree is tailored for Classic distances. Pants On Fire’s pedigree suggests that 1 1/8 miles is his limit, although with the right trip, he could finish in the money at 1 ¼ miles. With the disappointing efforts by the LeComte Stakes winner Wilkinson and Southwest Stakes placed Elite Alex; one must wonder how strong the mid-west contingent really is. Pants On Fire will have to step up his efforts if he’s to have any chance in the Derby, especially with his suspect pedigree.