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HRN Original Blog:
Pedigree Power

Female Famlies and the Preakness

Last month, I discussed the importance of the Kentucky Derby contenders' female families. Certain distaff lines have a proclivity for producing classic winners. Our Derby hero Orb shares the same female family, albeit, a different branch, as Fusaichi Pegasus (family 8-c). Revolutionary, the Derby third place finisher, hails from the same tree as Sea Hero, Go for Gin, Smarty Jones and Super Saver. All four trace back to the super mare, La Troienne (family 1-x). 

Since the distaff families are classified by family number then branch, there are two ways to determine which line has produced the most Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes winners. One, by the overall number of horses in the entire family, and two, by the branch of a specific family.

In the last 137 years, families 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, and 12 have produced the most Preakness winners.

Family 4 has bragging rights of sending the most winners to the winner's circle in each of the triple crown races. Of the seventeen members that have won the Preakness, the most have descended from the 4-r branch, but interestingly, none of the 4-r family has won in modern times. Five of them, the last in 1911, have been successful in the Preakness. Similar to the Derby, right behind Family 4-r in Preakness victories is the 4-m (Magnolia) offshoot. Harold (1879) was the first, but this family didn’t flourish until the mid 1990’s, when it produced Faultless (1947), Timber Country (1995) and Bernardini (2006).

Family 9 (Vinter mare) has a strong association with the Preakness Stakes. Thirteen winners, (nine of whom decend from family 9-c) have worn the daises. The 1980's was the best decade for family 9, producing Codex (1980), Alomas Ruler (1982), Snow Chief (1986) and Risen Star (1988). The last member of family 9 to win the Preakness was Lookin' At Lucky in 2010.

Family 1 (Tregonwell's Natural Barb Mare) has given us twelve Preakness winners and two in the last decade, Smarty Jones (2004) and Rachael Alexandra (2009). Family 2 (Burton Barb Mare) is an old line that has also sent 12 horses to the Preakness winner's circle, the latest was Shackleford, who put an end to Animal Kingdom's Triple Crown hopes.

Family 3 was productive in the 1950's and 1990's. The line has been dormant (as far as producing Preakness winners) since the 1990's, but some excellent runners are claimed by Family 3, including Citation, Nashua, Sunday Silence and Silver Charm.
Family 12 (Royal Mare) bore ten Preakness heroes, but like Family 3, is a line that hasn't produced a Preakness winner in some time. The latest was Tabasco Cat in 1994.

Let's take a look at this year's Preakness contenders and note which ones evolve from notable distaff lines.

1992 – Pine Bluff
1879 – Harold, 1918 – War Cloud, 1947 – Faultless,
1995 – Timber Country, 2006 – Bernardini
1904 – Bryn Mawr, 1958 – Tim Tam, 1978 - Affirmed
1952 – Blue Man, 1977 – Seattle Slew
1934 – High Quest
1924 – Nellie Morse, 2010 Lookin At Lucky


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Older Comments about Female Famlies and the Preakness...

Thanks, Laurie, that helps me understand a lot better. I think the first part of my confusion was the name of Gov Charlie's dam(SilverbulletWay, not SilverbulletDay). An oversight on my part. Thanks, again, Laurie.
Govenor Charlie's dam was unraced. His second dam, Silverbulletday won the Miss Preakness stakes. His second tail sire Real Quiet (the sire of Govenor Charlie's sire, Midnight Lute) won the Preakness Stakes. However, tracing directly back through only his female line (dam, second dam, third dam, etc.) only one horse produced by this female family has won the Preakness. I hope that clarifies it for you CauseForConcern
re: Govenor Charlie. Would the fact that his broodmare won the Black-Eyed Susan not be a factor? Since she won over this track. And, his grandsire won the Preakness? Pardon me, I guess I'm not too understanding of pedigree.
I'm still partial to Revolutionary's female family, but Orb's is looking better by the day.

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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 lross@horseracingnation.com.

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