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2014 Kentucky Derby Watch: Debt Ceiling Pedigree Profile

Could a mid-summer two-year-old race have a bearing on the 2014 Kentucky Derby
The 111th running of the Bashford Manor is the first graded stakes race held for two- year-olds. Typical of early season juvenile stakes races, distance challenged sprinters are prevalent in the six furlong event held at Churchill Downs. What bearing does the Bashford Manor have on future success? Since the inception of the Breeders' Cup in 1984, only two colts, Boston Harbor (1996) and Favorite Trick (1997) completed a sweep of the Bashford Manor and Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The enormously talented colts earned Champion Two Year Old honors. The back to back winners in 2006 and 2007, Circular Quay and Kodiak Kowboy, became multiple graded sprinter/milers and both finished in the money in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The last colt to win or place in the Bashford Manor and have an influence on the following year’s Classics was Preakness hero Summer Squall (1989).

Let's take a closer look at this year's Bashford Manor hero.

Debt Ceiling broke sharply out of the gate, but was eased back behind dueling pace setters MY CORINTHIAN and HOLLYWOOD TALENT. This proved to be a wise move by jockey Eric Camacho, as the first quarter zipped by in :20.93. By the ¼ pole, the son of Discreet Cat glided three wide past the struggling front runners, getting the half in 44:57. Debt Ceiling continued to widen his lead and at one point in the stretch was six lengths in front. Finding no competition, Camacho geared the colt down, flashing under the wire a comfortable 2 ¾ lengths in front in 1:10.66 over a very sloppy track. Hollywood Talent passed My Corinthian to get up for second.

Debt Ceiling's final time is comparable to 2011 victor Exfactor, 2003 winner Limehouse and 1992 hero Mountain Cat, who hails from the same female family as Debt Ceiling. The John Robb trainee is undefeated in three starts, having won his races by a combined 9 ¾ lengths. He entered the Bashford Manor off of a victory in the Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico. DEBT CEILING (Discreet Cat - Top Marks, by Marquetry) was purchased by Tim O'Donohue for the bargain price of $27,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He has earned $134,347 in his young career.

Debt Ceiling's sire Discreet Cat wowed in his late August debut at Saratoga, conquering a nice group of maidens by 3 ½ lengths and getting six furlongs in 1:09.76. His foes included future G-1 winners Political Force and Thorn Song. After his maiden victory, the Goodolphin owned colt was whisked away to Dubai and didn't start again until the following March. The well-bred colt remained undefeated in two starts there, including the UAE Derby. Later that year, Discreet Cat traveled back to Saratoga to claim the Jerome Handicap and then equaled the Belmont track record for a mile in the Cigar Mile. The undefeated colt traveled back to Nad Al Sheba in Dubai for a shot at the Dubai World Cup. After a poor break, Discreet Cat finished seventh. He was unable to return to his winning ways and finished third in the Vosburgh Stakes and Breeders' Cup Mile to complete his racing career.

At stud, Discreet Cat was off to an average start at stud, finishing #15 on the first crop sire list of 2011. His youngsters improved with age and he hit #5 on the second crop sire list the following year. Now a third crop sire, Discreet Cat is currently #3 on the list. He's sired six graded stakes winners, including Sham Stakes (G-3) winner Out of Bounds and Fantasy Stakes (G-2) heroine Mamma Kimbo. Discreet Cat's dirt offspring are best as milers while his turf progeny have won up to 1 3/16 miles. He has few winners over Polytrack.

DISCREET CAT (Forestry - Pretty Discreet, by Private Account)
Race record: 9-6-0-2 ($1,694,180)
Discreet Cat
Career highlights:
1st – UAE Derby (UAE-2) 1 1/8 miles
1st - Jerome Handicap (G-2) 1 mile
1st – Cigar Mile (G-1) – equaled track record
3rd – Vosburgh Stakes (G-1) 6F
3rd – Breeders' Cup Mile

Female Family:
Debt Ceiling's distaff line enjoys winning. All five of his half siblings to start are winners, including the stakes placed veteran, Dean's List (by Holy Bull). Their dam Top Marks won her debut and was a solid allowance class sprinter throughout her career. Although she spent most of her carer on the dirt, she did win the Mill Race Stakes at Philadelphia Park sprinting over the lawn. Top Marks retired with a 11-5-1-0 ($109,131) race record.

Debt Ceiling's second dam Top Princess was undefeated in her first three starts and also spent most of her career at the allowance class level. Like her daughter, Top Princess won one stakes race. There are a smattering of blacktype winners throughout Debt Ceiling's distaff line, including the aforementioned Bashford Manor winner Mountain Cat.

Debt Ceiling pedigree

MarquetryThe adaptable multiple graded stakes horse Marquetry lends middle-distance stamina to Debt Ceiling's pedigree. Marquetry won graded stakes over the dirt and lawn. A 1 1/8 mile specialist, he did win one of four attempts at 1 ¼ miles in the Hollywood Gold Cup (G-1). Marquetry's daughters have produced 31 stakes winners, including the popular graded stakes veteran Presious Passion(by Royal Anthem), St. Leger (Eng-G1) hero Arctic Cosmos (by North Light), and the G-2 winning mare Discreet Marq, a daughter of Discreet Cat.

Debt Ceiling's second damsire Topsider won one stakes at six furlongs. His third damsire, Champion Juvenile Never Bend, won up to 1 1/8 miles and finished second in the 1963 Kentucky Derby and behind the incomparable Kelso in the Woodward Stakes the same year.

The bloodline cross of Discreet Cat and Marquetry mares has produced only two foals. Both are graded stakes winners with combined earnings of over $380,000. I expect we'll see more mares by Marquetry being bred to this stallion in the future.

debt ceiling horseDebt Ceiling is the spitting image of his sire, both in looks, conformation and running style. The youngster has good leg extension and a clean, smooth action with no wasted movement. He veered out in the stretch of the Bashford Manor after being smacked three times, but chalk that up to young inexperience. Overall, he showed a professional demeanor. His pedigree and conformation indicate that Debt Ceiling will likely be best up to 1 1/16 miles in top company, although with experience, he may place at longer distances. His connections indicated that they'll be targeting the stakes races at Saratoga this summer with their promising young charge.


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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Derby Watch: Debt Ceiling Pedigree Profile...

you guys are just like reporters you only know what people tell you
ran nice,but doubt this horse will even be around when we are talking kentucky derby next may. it is july and he already has 3 races under his belt.historically horses that come out this early are no where to be seen when the serious races at longer distances come to play. you do not have to look to much to see evidence. look at shanghai bobbi last year.he came out at queduct as a 2yo. where was he when we were talking about the derby. the derby is not even a conversation piece at this stage. due to the breeders cup,this is not the racing game we grew up on. the game now is split into 2 parts. the 2 year old season and the 3 year old season. speed bred horses are rightfully being brought out sooner than later.take advantage of the purses and the fame that goes with winning. most owners and trainers know this. nothing wrong with this train of thought. that is why many top barns such as the pletcher,assmussen and bafferts run 2 year olds very early. the master is wesley ward. he brings them out at keeneland,dominates the meet and makes money for his owners. if in the process he sees something special. he will back up a little and run in the breeders there is about a 95% chance that the derby winner. we do n ot even have a clue as to what his or her name is yet.
On the Preakness undercard I thought Debt Ceiling was very impressive visually. The horse was basically eased late in winning. I was surprised to see the Beyer speed figure come back very light. Thinking about mid 50's but could be wrong. I was wanting to play this one back but unfortunately was in Hawaii when the BAshord Manor was run. Missed an overlay at 5-1. Nice notes on confirmation and running style. I noticed that veering also but like you said probably greeness. I never know how these early developers will actually run as the distance lengthen but Debt Ceiling has impressed sprinting.
It's hard to extrapolate from a 6 furlong race whether a horse will be viable on the triple crow trail but when we get to the fall and the 8+ furlong 2 year old races we will definitely get information. Orb, Revolutionary, Oxbow, etc. were all running at least 8 furlong races at the end of last year. It happens that way every year.
3 year old ½ bro Bedroom Bully, by Holy Bull, just ran in a $7500 claimer @ Hastings with no takers. U never know.
" The last colt to win or place in the Bashford Manor and have an influence on the following year’s Classics was Preakness hero Summer Squall (1989)." That quote sums up a lot about how these precious 2yo races mean next to nothing when evaluating for the Triple Crown contenders.

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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

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