3-year-old pedigrees: Sole Volante a classy Derby hopeful

February 11, 2020 01:05pm
3-year-old pedigrees: Sole Volante a classy Derby hopeful
Photo: SV Photography

Sole Volante added his name to 2020 Kentucky Derby list while Ginobili and Montauk Traffic emerged around one turn exiting last weekend. Texas Swing, Spa City and Saratogian could also make an impact on the Triple Crown trail in their next starts. So let’s take a closer look at bloodlines and how far these emerging stars will comfortably go.

(Karakontie (JPN) - Light Blow, by Kingmambo)

In Saturday’s Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3),
 Sole Volante, living up to his moniker meaning “Flying Sun,” exploded from mid-pack and flew by Independence Hall to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths. The Patrick Biancone trainee traveled 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.60. Sole Volante previously captured the one-mile Pulpit Stakes over the Gulfstream Park lawn and closed for third place in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on the Gulfstream main track. He’s earned $196,310 in four starts.

Sole Volante has a middle distance pedigree, and he may get classic distances due to his running style, mindset and conditioning. Karakontie, the son of turf sprinter Bernstein, is a multiple Group 1-winning miler in France. Besides Sole Volante, the second-crop sire is represented by two other listed/graded winners: Karak, winner of the Tyro stakes on dirt, and English turf sprinter Kenzai Warrior, whose damsire sire Lemon Drop Kid is by Kingmambo.

Sole Volante is the fourth foal to race and third black type earner in the immediate female family. His half-brother, Explode, won the 2019 Canadian Derby (G3) at 10 furlongs, while his half-sister Light of Joy is a listed stakes-placed turf router in England.
 Their dam Light Blow’s full sister, Light Shift, won the Epsom Oaks (G1), and she bore multiple Group 1-winning turf router and new sire Ulysses. Light Blow’s other full sister, Strawberry Fledge, bore French Group 1 winner Cloth of Stars, who finished second to Enable in the 2017 Arc de Triomphe and third to her in the 2018 edition.

Other notable names in the second generation include the 2014 Champion Older Male & Champion Turf Male Main Sequence and 1999 European Champion Mare Shiva.
  Sole Volante’s third dam, Northern Trick, was a French Champion 3-Year-Old Filly. To top it all off, Sole Volante has Rasmussen Factor breeding (inbred to a superior mare through siblings) to thrice-champion mare Miesque. She is Karakonte’s third dam and is also the dam of Kingmambo.

(Munnings - Find the Humor, by Sharp Humor)

In Sunday's featured race at Santa Anita, Ginobili fought every step of the way before Nadal resolutely pulled ahead to capture the San Vicente Stakes (G2) by three-quarters of a length. Ginobili previously placed fourth in the Speakeasy Stakes and Del Mar Futurity (G1). The bay colt has earned $103,000 in five starts.

 Munnings’ offspring are best as sprinter/milers. Of course, there are always exceptions, such as I’m a Chatterbox, who won the Delaware Handicap at 1 1/4 miles, and Om, who captured the 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Derby over the lawn early in his career. Munnings is the sire of  Las Virgenes (G2) heroine Venetian Harbor and Silverbulletday Stakes winner Finite. Both are 2020 Kentucky Oaks hopefuls.

Ginobili is the fourth foal in his immediate family.
 His half-sister, Silly Factor, is a stakes-placed sprinter. Their dam, Find the Humor, was third in the Iowa Oaks (G3) and her full sister Quick Wit, captured the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at 1 1/16-miles over the slop. Ginobili’s third dam is multiple restricted winner Gammys Alden, who earned over $270,000 in 51 starts.

(Cross Traffic - Taittinger Rose, by Menifee)

Montauk Traffic made it two wins in a row when capturing the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths on Saturday at Aqueduct. The Linda Rice trainee ran seven furlongs in 1:25.64. Montauk Traffic has earned $94,000 in three starts.

Montauk Traffic has a miler/middle distance pedigree. Cross Traffic scored leading first-crop sire status when his daughter, Jaywalk, won the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The pretty gray son of Unbridled’s Song is currently No. 6 third-crop sire. 

Montauk Traffic is a sixth foal, and none of his half-siblings own black type. His dam, Taittinger Rose, made 23 starts, hitting the board in nine stakes, including victories in the Pennsylvania Oaks and Sky Beauty Stakes. She finally earned a graded win in her last race, the 1 1/8-mile Sabin Handicap (G3). Taittinger Rose competed for four years and earned $382,503.The hardy mare is a half-sister to Pegasus Stakes (G3) hero Le Bernardin.
 Montauk Traffic’s second dam is Demoiselle winner La Rosa, and his third dam is 1985 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly heroine Twilight Ridge.

Montauk Traffic’s damsire, Menifee, earned Grade 1 status in the Blue Grass and Haskell Invitational, but couldn’t beat Charismatic in the 1999 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and had to settle for second place both times. His daughters have produced 10 listed/graded winners, though none have won beyond 1 1/8 miles.

(Curlin - Derby Eve, by Tiznow)

On Saturday, Texas Swing found the winner’s circle in his second start when stretching out to 1 mile and 40 yards at Tampa Bay. The Todd Pletcher trainee led from gate to wire, drawing off to a 1 1/4-length victory and stopping the clock in 1:39.57.

By a two-time Horse of the Year out of a daughter of a Horse of the Year, Texas Swing has the pedigree and conformation of a classic contender. Curlin is No. 3 on the National Sire list. He gets winners at all distances. His son, Kentucky Derby hopeful Ajaaweed, was third later Saturday in the Sam F. Davis (G3).

Texas Swing is the first foal out of a full sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and sire Colonel John; Grade 1-placed Mr. Hot Stu, who found his true calling as a Grade 1 winning Steeplechase competitor; and to stakes placed Kayce Ace, the dam of last year’s
  Schuylerville Stakes winner Comical.

(Street Sense – Sara Louise, by Malibu Moon)

On Saturday over Gulfstream Park’s main track, Spa City found the third time was the charm, graduating in a 1 1/8-mile maiden event. Irad Ortiz Jr. hustled Spa City out of post eight to press the pace from second place before taking over after six furlongs. He held the advantage, winning by a length.
The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee finished in 1:49.24.   

The Godolphin homebred Spa City has a middle distance/classic pedigree. The 2006 Champion 2-Year-Old and 2007 Kentucky Derby hero Street Sense has sired 61 graded/listed winners. His offspring win at all distances.

Spa City is a full brother to multiple stakes-placed Sarah Street, who hit the board in the one-mile Busher Stakes, plus the Gazelle (G2) and Ladies Handicap, both at nine furlongs. Their dam, Sara Louise, is a multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter/miler who earned $400,435 in 11 starts. Sara Louise’s half-sister, Just Louise, captured the Debutante (G3) at Churchill. Spa City’s third dam, Til Forbid, was a Grade 3 winner at nine furlongs and multiple Grade 1 placed at 10 furlongs.

(Empire Maker - Saltendipity, by Salt Lake)

Saratogian graduated at first asking on Saturday at Tampa Bay in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden event. The courageous colt battled on the lead the entire way under Tyler Gaffalione, and got his nose down on the wire. The Rodolphe Brisset trainee stopped the clock in 1:17.84.

Saratogian has a miler/middle distance pedigree, helped by late Empire Maker getting winners at all distances. He’s represented on the current Kentucky Derby trail by Grade 1 winner Eight Rings.

Saratogian is the fifth foal in his immediate family. None of his siblings own black type. His dam, Saltendipity, is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning turf miler Designed For Luck, who earned $973,660 in 28 starts. Saltendipity’s half-sister bore West Virginia Derby (G2) hero Macho Macho. Saratogian’s second dam is Grade 1 winner Fantastic Look, who had a lengthy career battling Champion Mare Bayakoa.

Salt Lake’s daughters have produced 41 graded/listed winners who are best up to 1 1/8 miles, although a couple have been successful as turf routers.


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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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