Ky. Derby Pedigrees: Will Lord Miles improve with distance?

Ky. Derby Pedigrees: Will Lord Miles improve with distance?
Photo: Susie Raisher / NYRA

Lord Miles suddenly reversed form and pulled off a 59-1 shocker in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial to stamp his ticket to the Kentucky Derby 2023.

Paco Lopez settled Lord Miles four wide behind the early pace, dueling with Hit Show to his inside. The pair caught up to the pacesetter Dreamlike, and the trio battled to the wire in a nail-biting finish. Lord Miles got the bob over the 7-5 favorite Hit Show and 3-1 Dreamlike. Then, it was 5 1/4 lengths back to a tired Arctic Arrogance.

The Saffie Joseph Jr. trainee completed 1 1/8 miles over a fast Aqueduct surface in 1:51.17 with a final furlong of 13:03. He owns 105 Derby qualifying points.

Lord Miles (Curlin - Lady Esme, by Majestic Warrior) is a Vegso Racing Stable homebred and owns a 5: 2-0-1 record with earnings of $451,100. Lord Miles entered the Wood Memorial off a fifth-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3). Previously, he was sixth in the Holy Bull (G3) and third in the listed Mucho Macho Man Stakes. Curlin's son showed promise last November when he graduated at Gulfstream Park by 5 3/4 lengths at first asking.


Curlin (Smart Strike - Sherriff's Deputy, by Deputy Minister) is one of the most consistent stallions standing at stud. The flashy two-time horse of the year offers stamina to his progeny.

Curlin hasn't sired a Kentucky Derby winner yet, but he's knocking on the door. Good Magic (2018) and Exaggerator (2016) placed second, and the latter won the Preakness. Additionally, Palace Malice captured the 2013 Belmont Stakes. Last year's Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is a grandson of Curlin.

Female family

Although none of Lord Miles' first five dams own black type, they are good producers.

His first two dams are Vegso homebreds, and his extended family includes historic Phipps family and Mill Ridge Farm bloodlines. Highlights include turf miler Data Link and handicap horse Hymn Book, both Grade 1 winners.

Lord Miles Pedigree

Lord Miles' unraced dam Lady Esme (Majestic Warrior - Come a Callin, by Dixie Union) has a trio of stakes-winning half-siblings, led by 2017 Champion Filly Caledonia Road (Quality Road). In addition, multiple Grade 3 winner Officiating (Blame) was successful from six to nine furlongs, and One of a Kind (Lemon Drop Kid) won a 1 1/16-mile stake at Gulfstream.

Majestic Warrior (A.P. Indy - Dream Supreme, by Seeking the Gold) could have been something special if not for a nagging hoof injury. He graduated at first asking by 3 1/2 lengths at Saratoga and followed up with a 2 1/4 length triumph in the Hopeful (G1). But unfortunately, Majestic Warrior finished an injured sixth as the favorite in the Champagne (G1) and never regained his form, failing to hit the board in four starts as a 3-year-old.

Majestic Warrior stood at Ashford Farm for seven years and now resides in Japan. His most accomplished progeny include four-time Grade 1 heroine Princess of Sylmar, who dominated the Kentucky Oaks, CCA Oaks, Alabama and Beldame. The filly bested champions Beholder and Royal Dela.

Majestic Warrior is the damsire of six North American graded or listed winners led by Robert Lewis (G3) winner Newgate. None has won beyond 1 1/16 miles. But this is a small sample, and the stallion sired a classic distance winner, so there's a chance for his daughters to produce classic distance runners.

Kentucky Derby contender or pretender?

The Wood Memorial was a prestigious event way back when. From 1973 to 1982, the race yielded five Kentucky Derby winners and five runners-up. Those were the days of Secretariat, Foolish Pleasure, Bold Forbes, Genuine Risk and Pleasant Colony.

There was a small revival in 2000 with Fusaichi Pegasus, Monarchos and Funny Cide. In the last decade, not counting 2020, when the Wood Memorial wasn't carded, the best finish was by Wood winner Tacitus (2019), who was moved up to third after Maximum Security was disqualified.

From 2013 to 2015, Wood Memorial victors Frosted, Wicked Strong, and runner-up Normandy Invasion all placed fourth in Kentucky.

Lord Miles has the pedigree and conformation to handle 1 1/4 miles. He lowers his head and stretches out his body when he runs and has good leg extension. He doesn't have a ton of early speed and bumps with other horses leaving the gate, so additional distance is his friend.

The question for the Kentucky Derby is: Will Lord Miles continue his sudden improvement and possibly hit the lower exotics in the Derby, or is the Wood Memorial victory a one-off?

Meet Laurie Ross

 HRN Pedigree Analyst 


 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 ThoroFan 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
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LinkedIn: Laurie Ross

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