If Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Signalman has a blue-collar pedigree up front, you don’t have to go far to find influential players along with the Rasmussen Factor. Signalman was bred by Dr. Gary Knapp’s Monticule, the Kentucky farm responsible for 2008 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) champion Big Brown. Offered as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October, he was purchased by trainer Ken McPeek for $32,000. That price actually ranks as one of the better ones for a youngster sired by General Quarters, who had himself been sold for $50,000 to Turkey in fall 2016. Although not in demand at stud in the Bluegrass, he had a solid pedigree and race record as a multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire. From the Seattle Slew/A.P. Indy sire line, General Quarters is by the well-bred Sky Mesa. He inherited his gray coat from his dam, the Unbridled’s Song mare Ecology, who also produced multiple Japanese Grade 2 winner A Shin Top. General Quarters was a triple-surface threat with graded victories on dirt, synthetic, and turf. Bursting onto the 2009 Derby trail, he scored in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs and Blue Grass (G1) over Keeneland’s old Polytrack. He couldn’t give late owner/trainer Tom McCarthy a storybook ending when unplaced in the Derby and Preakness, but he padded his resume as an older horse. Aside from placing in several notable dirt events including the Stephen Foster (G1) and New Orleans H. (G2), General Quarters earned another top-level tally in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1). Signalman is General Quarters’ only graded winner so far, but a filly from his first crop, Mia Torri, just missed in the 2016 Charles Town Oaks (G3). Mia Torri would go on to capture the 2017 Sunshine Millions Distaff and Sugar Maple S. and post another runner-up effort in the Bed o’ Roses (G3). Similarly, Signalman is the best runner from his dam, the unraced Trippi mare Trip South. Interestingly the most productive of her three previous winners, Russian-based Cyclonic, is by General Quarters’ sire Sky Mesa. Trip South was put through the 2016 Keeneland November Sale – the same venue as General Quarters – when Signalman was a weanling, but she brought a mere $1,700. Broodmare sire Trippi, who earned his signature win in the seven-furlong Vosburgh (G1) in 2000, continued his successful stud career after moving to South Africa. But his American legacy remains through such daughters as Miss Macy Sue, dam of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) star Liam’s Map and 2016 Juvenile (G1) second Not This Time, as well as the dams of graded scorers Multiplier and Miss Sunset. Signalman’s second dam is by Honor Grades, sire of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) heroine Adoration, multiple Grade 1 turf router Honor Glide, and handicap stalwart Magna Graduate. Honor Grades, as a Danzig half-brother to A.P. Indy, brings about the two key duplications in Signalman’s pedigree. Signalman is inbred to Danzig, who factors in General Quarters’ female line, and to the blue hen Weekend Surprise, the dam of A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and Honor Grades. The doubling-up of Weekend Surprise is an example of the Rasmussen Factor of inbreeding to superior females. Signalman descends from the family of Grade/Group 2-winning millionaire Diamond Stripes, and at a further remove, the female line of champion and noted matron It’s in the Air. (Photo by Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)