3-year-old pedigrees: Sonneman lights a way on the Derby trail

3-year-old pedigrees: Sonneman lights a way on the Derby trail
Photo: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park

Sonneman rose to the challenge of beating winners in his 3-year-old debut, making him one to watch in future stakes along the Kentucky Derby trail. Meanwhile, American Pharoah’s sons ruled the lawn recently at Gulfstream Park, highlighting emerging colts to know.

(Curlin - Zardana (BRZ), by Crimson Tide (IRE))

Sonneman was a little rusty coming out of the gate in his first start off the layoff on Saturday in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park, giving the rest of the field a head start. Joel Rosario patiently let the son of Curlin find his stride while chasing a fast early pace. The pair made a last-to-first move to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths, with the Mark Henning trainee finishing up in 1:23.70. Sonneman stepped up to beat winners, and he could be a factor on the Kentucky Derby scene this summer.

Pedigree: Sonneman has a middle distance/classic pedigree.

Sonneman is a three-quarter brother to Smart Transition, a son of Smart Strike who captured Saratoga's 2015 Curlin Stakes at nine furlongs. Their dam, Crimson Tide, is a multiple stakes earner over dirt and turf.  She won the 2009 Bayakoa (G2) and bested Rachel Alexandra in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes the following year. The hardy Zardana earned $469,858 in 21 starts.

Sonneman’s distaff line is Brazilian and Argentinian. Crimson Tide, a Group 2-winning son of Sadler’s Wells, stands in Brazil. His daughters’ four graded/listed winners are successful from a mile to 10 furlongs.

(Candy Ride (ARG) - Viva Carina (ARG), by Giant’s Causeway)

Chad Brown unveiled an exciting Kentucky Derby possibility last Friday. Candy Machine got the job done in his second lifetime start, dueling on the lead and repelling a late challenge to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden event by three-quarters length. The son of Candy Ride was flickering his ears in the stretch and got the distance in 1:43.31 over Gulfstream Park’s main track. Candy Machine was second in his sprint debut in February.

Pedigree: Candy Machine has a classic pedigree, and he could be proficient over multiple surfaces.

The $475,000 Keeneland September yearling is bred on the same cross and Champion and sire Gun Runner. Candy Machine is the third foal in his immediate family. His half-sister Sultry placed in the 2018 Forward Gal (G2). Their dam, Viva Carina, started 11 times in North America and placed in the one-mile Torrey Pines and unfortunately, was disqualified to second in the 10-furlong Santa Barbara Handicap (G2). Candy Machine’s distaff line is international, with his dam’s stakes-winning half-siblings are milers to routers over the lawn.

(Quality Road - Mary Delaney, by Hennessy)

Breaking from post 12, Dr Post raced wide the entire way to graduate in his 3-year-old debut on Sunday at Gulfstream Park. The Todd Pletcher trainee ran seven furlongs in 1:22.37, beating his stablemate Nocturnal by 1 1/4 lengths. 

Pedigree: Dr Post has a miler pedigree.  

The $400,000 Keeneland September yearling shows similar breeding to 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hero Hootenanny and Grade 3-winning sprinter Great Stuff. Both are by Quality Road out of Hennessy daughters. Dr. Post is the third winner out of a Grade 2-winning sprinter who earned $295,684 in 15 starts. She owns the only notable blacktype in three generations. Multiple graded winner and sire Thorn Song is part of this distaff line.

(American Pharoah - Rhythm and Rhyme, by Unbridled’s Song)

Benefiting from a well-timed ride by Luis Saez, Rhythm Section graduated in his second start in a thrilling last-to-first move on March 27 at Gulfstream Park. The Todd Pletcher trainee finished 1 1/16 miles on the lawn in 1:41.04, holding on by a nose over Alonzo Mosely.  Surprisingly, Rhythm Section started his racing career in a $50,000 maiden claiming event where he finished second, beaten a neck.

Pedigree: The pretty gray Rhythm Section has a middle distance/classic pedigree.

American Pharoah is off to an excellent start at stud. Although his offspring should improve with maturity, they have shown precocity and class, as 37% of his starting 2-year-olds are winners, and 15 of them own blacktype.

All three of Rhythm Section’s half-siblings to race are winners, but none own blacktype. Their dam, Rhythm and Rhyme, placed in one of three starts, and she is a full sister to the Grade 1-winning turf mare Magnificent Song. Rhythm and Rhyme’s half-brothers Galileo’s Song and Great Barrier Reef, as well as his full brother Park Avenue, are all graded stakes-placed over the lawn. There’s always a chance that Rhythm and Rhyme’s offspring will earn blacktype status, as her half-sister Rote bore Grade 2-placed Royal Obsession and multiple stakes-placed sprinter Jumby Bay.

(Tonalist - Naples Dream, by Uncle Mo)

Alonzo Mosely improved in his second start to just miss the victory by a nose. The Christophe Clement trainee made a late run down the stretch and should benefit from added distance in his next start.

Pedigree: Alonzo Mosely has a middle distance/classic pedigree.

Tonalist excelled at the Grade 1 level from a mile to 1 1/2 miles. Besides his victory in the 2014 Belmont Stakes, the son of Tapit is a two-time winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and also captured the Cigar Mile (G1). Tonalist is the No. 2 second-crop sire by earnings.

Alonzo Mosely is a first foal. Although Naples Dream was unplaced in two starts, she may prove to be a good broodmare, as her three-quarter sister bore last year’s champion sprinter Mitole. Naples Dream is also a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Live Lively. Alonzo Mosely’s second through fourth dams own blacktype.

(American Pharoah - Sea Queen, by Lemon Drop Kid)

Express Pharoah found his sweet spot as a pacesetter on Saturday, winning over the Gulfstream lawn. Leonel Reyes set moderate early fractions in the 1 1/16-mile maiden event, and the pair held on to win by a neck over Voodoo Zip. The Alexis Delgado trainee flashed under the wire in 1:36.38.

Pedigree: Express Pharoah has turf router breeding.

Express Pharoah is the first foal out of Sea Queen, winner of the nine-furlong Wonder Again Stakes. The mare also placed in the  Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) and Sands Point (G2). Sea Queen’s half-sister is American Oaks (G1) heroine Nereid. That one bore the stakes-winning turf miler Figarellas Queen.   

Meet Laurie Ross

 HRN Pedigree Analyst 


 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 Pedigree Analyst – Bruno With The Works 

 ThoroFan Advisory Board Member

 Member – NTWAB

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. 

I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

Twitter: @IMTBreds
Facebook: IMTBreds
LinkedIn: Laurie Ross

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