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Pedigree Power

Kentucky Derby 2014 - Constitution Pedigree Profile

Constitution foiled a very game Wildcat Red to earn his third victory in as many starts in the Florida Derby.  During the premiere race’s first quarter, Wildcat Red and Constitution were both rank.   Constitution, tossing his head, reluctantly settled into third behind Wildcat Red and General A Rod, who tracked his nemesis through a sensible first quarter in :24 and a half in :48.  Just passing the half mile pole, it looked like Déjà vu all over again as General A Rod inched up to tackle Wildcat Red.  The two hooked up as they did in the Gulfstream Park Derby and Fountain of Youth.  Meanwhile on the rail, Constitution was hot on their tails in third. By the 3/8 pole, Florida Derby favorite Cairo Prince moved up to race in tandem with Constitution and it looked like the Florida Derby might evolve into a four-horse race.  Just past the quarter-pole, Jockey John Velazquez on Wildcat Red glanced over his left shoulder at the Todd Pletcher trained Constitution.  Remarkably, Wildcat Red then drifted out slightly, leaving an opening at the rail. 
Taking a page from the game book of Calvin Borel, jockey Javier Castellano cut the corner and surged up the rail to engage the front-runner.  The two battled to the finish, with Constitution hitting the wire a neck in front of a game Wildcat Red.  General A Rod, who was two and three wide the entire way, finished third, 1 ½ lengths behind the duo.  Cairo Prince was 2 ¼ lengths back in fourth after a tepid four wide move on the final turn.  The race fractions were :24, :48.19, 1:12, 1:36.46 and 1:49.16.  The final race time for 1 1/8 miles over the fast track was over a second faster than last year’s Florida Derby Champ Orb (1:50.87) and comparable to Ice Box’s 2010 race time of 1:49.18.  Ice Box finished second in that year’s Kentucky Derby.
The Florida Derby Champ earned a whopping 100 landing him in second place on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.  Wildcat Red was awarded 40 points, giving him a total of 90 points. General A Rod received 20 points for finishing third, and he has a total of 40 points. Cairo Prince earned 10 points for his fourth place finish in the Florida Derby. He has chalked up 24 points on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Bred by Grapestock LLC & Fox Hill Farms, CONSTITUTION (Tapit - Baffled, by Distorted Humor) sold in the 2012 Fasig Tipton Saratoga Select Yearlings sale for $400,000 to Twin Creeks Racing and WinStar Farms.   Sent to Todd Pletcher for training, Constitution worked well towards his first start, which was targeted for the end of the Saratoga 2013 meet.  Unfortunately, the colt developed sore shins and needed some time off.  After recovering, Constitution finally made his debut in a maiden race at Gulfstream Park in mid-January.  Although he hesitated at the start, Constitution won the seven furlong race by a length.  Five weeks later, the son of Tapit made short work of a field of allowance runners. Breaking sharply, Constitution drew off to defeat another well-regarded son of Tapit, Tonelist. Breeders' Cup Juvenile participant Mexikoma and Remsen Stakes (G-2) third place finisher Wicked Strong were also in the field.   With the Florida Derby victory firmly under his girth, Constitution remains a perfect three for three and has earned $649,350.
Constitution is by the pretty gray TAPIT (Pulpit - Tap Your Heels, by Unbridled), who won the 1 1/8 mile Wood Memorial impressively, but suffered a career-ending injury before the Kentucky Derby.  Tapit is a son of sire-of-sires Pulpit and a grandson of the Intermediate/Classic Chef-de-Race A.P. Indy, who is a son of the legendary Seattle Slew.  The gray stallion owns a strong, classy distaff line.  His dam is a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. Tapit's second, third and fourth dams are blue hens. 
Constitution sire tapitTapit was off to a tremendous start at stud when he sired two Champions right off the bat. Stardom Bound, a daughter from Tapit’s first crop, earned Juvenile Filly Championship honors in 2006 after earning wins in five consecutive Grade 1 events, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.   Tapit’s son As De Trebol earned honors as Spain’s Champion Juvenile in the same year.  At stud, Tapit has proven his versatility, getting wines from sprints to 1 1/8 miles over all surfaces. So far, he’s sired three stakes winners, all over dirt at  1 ¼ miles; Alabama Stakes (G-1) heroine Carless Jewel, Hawthorne Gold Cup (G-2) winner Headache and Japan Dirt Derby (Gr. 1) hero Testa Matta. Two runners, Rattlesnake Bridge and Oilisblackandgold have placed at the classic distance.  From seven crops of racing age, Tapit has sired four Champions, 29 graded stakes winners and 48 listed stakes winners.
Female Family:
Constitution’s dam BAFFLED (Distorted Humor - Surf Club, by Ocean Crest) began her career in England. She won her two year old debut over the Polytrack and was third in the Group 3 Albany Stakes.  Baffled returned to the USA as a three year old and raced at the allowance class level. She retired early in her four year old season with a 14-2-0-3 ($63,219) race record.
Constitution is Baffled’s first foal to race.  He has an older half-sister by More Than Ready, plus a 2012 unnamed half-sister by Congrats and a 2013 half-brother by Tiznow.  .  Baffled is a full sister to Surfer, who is stakes placed in the UAE.  She’s also a half-sister to Forego Stakes (G-1) hero Emcee (by Unbridled’s Song) and the turf stakes winner Spring Party (by Smart Strike).   Constitution second dam Surf Club is a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes winner Awesome Humor (by Distorted Humor).  Third dam Horns Grey (by Pass the Tab) is a stakes winner. 
Constitution pedigree

DISTORTED HUMOR (Forty Niner - Danzig's Beauty, by Danzig) was a multiple graded stakes winning sprinter/miler. He earned victories in the Ack Ack (G-3, 7 ½ f), Churchill Downs Handicap (G-2, 7f), Salvador Mile (G-3), Amsterdam Stakes (G-3, 6f) and set a new track record at Keeneland for seven furlongs in 1:20.50 in the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes (G-2).  Racing for three years, Distorted Humor racked up a 23-8-5-3 ($769,964) race record.
Constitution damsire distorted humorThe son of Champion Forty Niner retired to stud for a $12,500 fee.  Many breeders expected that Distorted Humor would sire fast, precocious offspring. They were right.  The chestnut stallion lead the 2000 Freshman Sires list with 15 winners and five stakes winners. His first crop included Spinaway heroine Awesome Humor and eventual Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. Distorted Humor’s fee rocketed over the years to $100,000.  His offspring include the aforementioned Funny Cide, Travers hero Flower Alley, Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer and stakes record setting Commentator.  To date, Distorted Humor has sired two Champions, 47 graded stakes winners and 114 listed winners.  He’s been in the top ten on the leading sire list since 2000.
Remarkably, Distorted Humor’s daughters have produced no stakes winners at 1 ¼ miles, although four have placed at the distance. The stallion is still relatively young broodmare sire and there aren’t many chances for runners to go 1 ¼ miles. I think this slight will be rectified as the stallion’s daughters bear more winners.
The Tapit/Distorted Humor bloodline cross has produced two runners, one winner.  Tapit’s sire Pulpit had minor success with Distorted Humor mares, getting five foals, two starters, both winners from the cross.
Constitution conformationConstitution is a well-balanced colt, athletic colt.  He has a smooth, efficient stride of average extension and doesn’t paddle.  Constitution has the physique of a two-turn route horse. The colt has an intelligent eye.  His shoulder is properly angled and his legs appear straight without faults.  His back is short and blends into a strong hindquarter with a long hip.  In short, he looks like a $400K horse.  
On paper, Constitution should handle 1 ¼ miles.  Tapit’s offspring are generally noted for going as far as 1 1/8 miles, but he does have three winners at 1 ¼ miles, so it isn’t outside the realm of possibility.  Distorted Humor’s lack of classic distance winners as a broodmare sire is more telling. None of his daughters babies have won at 1 ¼ miles or beyond, but four have placed.  Distorted Humor is the sire of a Derby and Belmont Stakes winner, so he should be able to pass those classic stamina genes to his daughters’ progeny. 
Every year, there’s a lightly raced yet talented sensationalist grabbing Kentucky Derby headlines. This year there are two colts who fit the bill, Constitution and Social Inclusion.  Constitution so far has done all that has been asked of him.  He received a good schooling in the Florida Derby, setting in and taking some dirt in his face after becoming rank early, and then going through a small opening on the rail to tackle an experienced, battle tested opponent and prevailing.  Will it be enough for the pinball style of the Kentucky Derby?
Since the mid-1940’s, there have been 57 runners in the Kentucky Derby who didn’t race as two year olds.  In recent years, two colts, Horse of the Year Curlin (2007) and Bodemeister (2012) were Derby buzz horses. Both colts finished in the money and Bodemeister looked like a winner until a few jumps from the wire (he was defeated only 1 ½ lengths).   
Constitution has shown that he can win on the lead or settle behind horses. He can go around horses and isn’t intimidated going through small spaces on the rail. Once again, the “Apollo curse” comments are dragged out and dusted off. Someday, it will be put to rest. Will Constitution be the one to do it?  Constitution has the pedigree and running style to take a legitimate shot in the Kentucky Derby, just like Curlin and Bodemeister did.  It’s all about the trip.


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Older Comments about Kentucky Derby 2014 - Constitution Pedigree Profile...

funny EVER put so much effort in ANY OTHER RACE. It is just another wagering opportunity and undue evaluation will just creat the classic paralysis by analysis.
If you think Constitution wasn't amazing running down the Hutcheson and FOY winner then maybe you need to watch his Maiden race. If that isn't talent I don't know what you are looking for....
Tapit finished a NOT SO STELLAR 9th in the Derby, about what his record comng in suggested.
say what ?? > Tapit raced in the Kentucky derby
say what ?? > Tapit raced in the Kentucky derby
Constitution took advantage of rail trip in soft fractions to win the Florida Derby, against a field that probably doesn't want to go 10 furlongs. He has been nowehre near as brilliant as Curlin or Bodemeister. Just because Distorted Humor is his damsire I can see him petering to 4th or 5th if he gets a decent trip.
Flower Alley a good example of a colt maturing over the summer to accomplish more than in the Spring
lack of seasoning is a common way to eliminate serious colts. Though close, it was the way that Curlin was eliminated from the WIN position.
I hate doing this but Flower Alley didn't place in the Kentucky Derby; He ran second in the Arkansas Derby, Dwyer, and Breeders' Cup Classic. He also won the Travers.
Please don't forget that Hoppertunity is another colt that did not race as a two years old. We might have 3 colts this year that will break the Apollo curse.
Wow, Constitution is long compared to his sire and damsire.
even the great Ramon Dominguez could not give him what he did not have that day.
Tapit came into the Derby off just two races at three and had regressed since his two year old seasoning, close to the correct % median but not even close to the top 4 in total energy. Also at 4 lifetimes starts his seasoning was a big qustion mark that was answered that May 1st with a 9th place finish.
the winner stood out, and the place horse figrued to be "around" but we were all a bit suprised that one did as well as it did. Alone on the lead really helped.
Tapit certainly did not fit the derby profile
It is 10 years since Tapit had his greatest win on the track in the Wood Memorial.

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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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