3-year-old pedigrees: Max Player made for the Derby distance

February 04, 2020 11:00am
3-year-old pedigrees: Max Player made for the Derby distance
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Tiz the Law and Thousand Words built on their reputations as serious 2020 Kentucky Derby contenders over the weekend, while Max Player entered the mix with a serious victory in the Withers (G3). Mischevious Alex emerged in the sophomore sprint division, too, with those colts leading names to know with bright futures. Let's take a closer look at bloodlines and how far these emerging stars will comfortably go.

(Honor Code - Fools in Love, by Not For Love)

Max Player joined the Kentucky Derby trail with a powerful move in the Withers Stakes (G3) on Saturday at Aqueduct. The dark bay colt, confidently ridden by Dylan Davis, passed the frontrunners in deep stretch to win going away by 3 1/4 lengths. The Linda Rice trainee got 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.87.

 Max Player has a middle distance pedigree and could stretch to classic distances. Honor Code won at the highest level from the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap (G1) to the 1 1/8-mile Whitney (G1), and he finished third in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Currently, Honor Code is No. 4 on the first crop sire list, and Max Player is his sire’s sole stakes winner. Honor Code’s offspring may be best up to middle distances, yet he may get the occasional classic distance winner.

There’s plenty of class in Max Player’s distaff line. He’s the fifth foal and fourth black type earner in the immediate family. His half-brother, Seahenge, is a Group 2-winning sprinter, plus half-brother Urban Bourbon is a Grade 3-placed turf sprinter/miler, and half-sister Frank’s Folly is a stakes-placed miler. Their dam, Fools in Love, is a hardy stakes-winning sprinter who earned $240,746 in 23 starts. She is a full sister to Maryland Million Sprint winner D C Dancer and a half-sister to 2015 Louisiana Derby hero International Star.

Not for Love is best known as the damsire of California Chrome. Besides his celebrated son, Not for Love is the damsire of 29 other graded/listed winners.

(Constitution - Tizfiz, by Tiznow)

Tiz the Law tied 2-year-old champion Storm the Court's Kentucky Derby points total at 22 with 
a runaway three-length victory in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The Barclay Tagg trainee was timed in 1:42.04 for 1 1/16 miles.

Tiz the Law has classic distance breeding. He’s a powerful looking colt with the conformation of a distance horse and is mentally professional, having overcome trouble in most of his starts. The bay colt moves smoothly, with no paddling.

Constitution, a son of Tapit, is off to an excellent stud career. He’s the leading Second Crop sire by earnings on the first-crop sire list. Besides Tiz the Law, Constitution’s first crop includes Jerome Stakes winner Independence Hall,
 Blue Norther Stakes heroine Laura’s Light, Sorrento (G2) winner Amalfi Sunrise, Sanford (G3) winner By Your Side and Gouverneur Morris, who is targeting the Southwest Stakes (G3) on Feb. 17.  Constitution’s offspring should handle 1 1/8 miles to classic distances.

Tiz the Law is a half-brother to multiple stakes-placed sprinter Awestruck. Their dam, Tizfiz, is a Grade 2 winner at 1 1/8 miles, and she earned more than $400,000 in 20 starts. Tizfiz is a full sister to Grade 3 winner and sire Fury Kapcori, and she’s a half-sister to Turf Paradise Derby hero Dixie Commander. This is the distaff line of Champion juvenile Favorite Trick and multiple Grade 1-winning juvenile Moonshine Memories.

(Summer Front - East India, by Mizzen Mast)

Ete Indien was comfortable on the lead throughout most of the Holy Bull but was tackled and passed by Tiz the Law at the 1/4-mile pole. He outclassed the rest of the field, finishing 11 1/2 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Toledo.

Ete Indien has a miler pedigree and is capable over dirt and turf. Summer Front is a multiple graded winning turf miler, who went multiple Grade 1-placed at 1 1/8 miles and 1 1/4 miles. The son of War Front is No. 14 on the second crop sire list by earnings. Besides Ete Indien, Summer Front has sired With Anticipation (G3) victor Fighting Seabee, Chelsey Flower Stakes heroine Speaktomeofsummer and Summer to Remember, the third-place finisher in the Kitten’s Joy (G3).

Ete Indien is the first foal in his immediate family to race. His dam, East India, is a half-sister to stakes-winning sprint veteran Flavor, who earned $310,307 in 69 starts. Her restricted placed half-sister Seasoned bore multiple stakes-winning turf miler Diamond Bachelor, who was also conditioned by Ete Indien’s trainer, Patrick Biancone. There’s plenty of class in Ete Indien’s third generation, including 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Raven’s Pass; Rainbow View, a multiple Group 1 winner in two countries; and E Dubai, who sired Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned.

(Pioneerof the Nile – Pomeroys Pistol, by Pomeroy)

Thousand Words put in another brilliant performance on Saturday at Santa Anita in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3), winning by 3/4 of a length over Royal Act. The Bob Baffert trainee got 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:43.64, this time by coming from off the pace and splitting horses in the stretch. Thousand Words is undefeated in three starts, including the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

This $1 million baby has a stamina over speed pedigree and the conformation to handle middle to classic distances. Pioneerof the Nile gets winners at all distances, and his legacy lives on in his most accomplished son, American Pharoah.

Thousand Words’ distaff line is speed-oriented. He’s the third foal and second winner out of a Pomeroys Pistol, a multiple graded winning sprinter who earned more than $574,000 in her 14-race career. Pomeroys Pistol captured the Forward Gal (G2), Gallant Bloom (G2) and Sugar Swirl (G3) and placed in the Test and Prioress, both Grade 1 events. Pomeroys Pistol is a half-sister to the multiple stakes-placed sprinters Wildcat Creek and D’Cats Meow. Another half-sister bore Good Credence, who was third in the 2019 Maid of the Mist Stakes at a mile.
 Thousand Words’ third dam, Swearingen, was successful from a mile to 1 1/8 miles. The hardy mare earned $673,233 in 37 starts.

Thousand Words’ damsire, Pomeroy, is a multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter who earned $845,050 in 18 starts. He sired 14 stakes winners in the seven years that he stood in America before shipping to Saudi Arabia. Thousand Words is Pomeroy’s only stakes winner as a broodmare sire.

(American Pharoah - True Feelings, by Latent Heat)

Royal Act proved that he wasn’t another American Pharoah-sired turf horse in the Robert B. Lewis (G3). Abel Cedillo kept Royal Act three-wide while tracking the pace in third, with Thousand Words to his inside. While Thousand Words split horses going two wide around the turn, Royal Act was forced five to six wide. The Peter Eurton trainee made up ground through the stretch to just miss.

Royal Act has a miler/middle-distance pedigree, borderline for classic distances. American Pharoah's resume needs no introduction, plus he was last year’s leading first crop sire sire by earnings. Besides Royal Act, our Triple Crown champ has sired Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint hero Four Wheel Drive, Jessamine Stakes (G2) heroine Sweet Melania and American Theorem, who was second in the American Pharoah (G1) behind Eight Rings.

Royal Act is the third foal and second winner in his immediate family. His dam, True Feelings, placed in the Schuylerville (G3). Her half-sister Flirtatious bore 2006 Champion Filly Wait a While, who was capable over dirt and turf. Royal Act’s second dam, Grand Charmer, captured the 1 1/8-mile Pucker Up (G3) and placed in four other stakes between a mile and 1 1/8-miles. The third generation of Royal Act’s distaff line includes two-time champ Lookin at Lucky and his multiple graded winning half brother Kensei.

Latent Heat is a multiple graded winning sprinter who placed twice at 1 1/16 miles at the graded level. As a stallion, the son of Maria’s Mon is represented by five graded/listed winners, all sprinter/milers. None of his daughters' offspring have won graded or listed stakes.

(Into Mischief - White Pants Night, by Speightstown)

Mischevious Alex used his speed from post one to score a spectacular seven-length victory in the seven-furlong Swale (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The John Servis trainee stopped the clock in 1:22.83. 
Mischevious Alex previously captured the listed Parx Juvenile Stakes and Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Mischevious Alex has a sprinter/miler pedigree. Into Mischief's offspring are generally best up to 1 1/8 miles and include last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint champ Covfefe, Springboard Mile hero Shoplifted, recent Martha Washington Stakes heroine Taraz and Sham (G3) winner Authentic.

Mischevious Alex is the second foal and first black type earner in his immediate family. His dam, White Pants Night, is a half-sister to Grade 3-winning sprinter Hebbronville, the multiple stakes-winning sprinter/miler Master of Disaster, and to A Day for Dancing, who set a new stakes record in the 2008 Prairie Meadows Debutante, getting six furlongs in 1:09.72. Mischevious Alex’s second dam, More D’Amour, is a multiple stakes-placed sprinter.

Speightstown adds more speed to Mischevious Alex’s pedigree. He is bred on the same bloodline cross as 2019 Humana Distaff (G1) heroine Mia Mischief and Phoenix Stakes (G2) winner Engage.


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Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

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