Quip wins the Tampa Bay Derby (SV Photography Photo)

Road to the Kentucky Derby Tampa Bay Derby winner Quip

by Alastair Bull

Quip may have caught punters by surprise when he stormed into the Kentucky Derby picture. But he has a pedigree that suggests his Derby prospects should not be discounted.

Quip was having his first 3-year-old start when he ran down the front-running World of Trouble and then held off a late rally by Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) winner Flameaway to win the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

Though he was at 18-1, Quip came into the race having won his first two starts – a six-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs and an allowance over 1 1/16-miles – and then finishing seventh in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), eight lengths behind the winner Enticed.

The Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes effort may not have seemed that of a Kentucky Derby prospect at the time, but it’s turned out to be a very good form race. Enticed, third-place finisher Promises Fulfilled, and 10th-placed Bravazo have all since ensured a Derby start with recent prep race victories, and runner-up Tiz Mischief has since finished third in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and was fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Bred by WinStar Farm, Quip is raced by WinStar along with two of its major racing co-owners, China Horse Club and SF Racing. Should he win the Kentucky Derby he would be the second winner WinStar Farm has owned, following Super Saver (2010), and the third Derby winner the farm has bred, along with Super Saver and Funny Cide (2003).

Like Funny Cide, Quip is a son of Distorted Humor, a grade two winner by Forty Niner who rose from a relatively low initial service fee to become one of the best sires in the United States. Many of his progeny have been able to stay the Derby trip of 1 ¼ miles and further, including Drosselmeyer, Flower Alley, Boisterous, and Hysterical Lady. He’s also produced sprinters, but the number of 1 ¼-mile horses will give Quip’s owners great confidence about his stamina.

Stamina is a little lighter on his dam’s side, however. His dam Princess Ash is by Indian Charlie, who won the 1 ⅛-mile Santa Anita Derby as a racehorse but whose stakes-winning progeny have usually been best up to a mile. There are some exceptions, however, among them the outstanding mare Fleet Indian.

However, Princess Ash is a half-sister to Normandy Invasion, who finished second in the 1 ⅛-mile Wood Memorial (G1), and comes from the same family as Derrianne, who won the 1-mile Martha Washington Stakes (G3), and Gulls Cry, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Vineland Handicap (G2).

Quip’s pedigree is one that suggests 1 ¼-miles should be within his grasp on Kentucky Derby day. He should be carefully watched if he races again before the First Saturday in May.