Justify wins the Kentucky Derby
Justify wins the Kentucky Derby (Melanie Martines Photo)


Preakness Stakes Contender Pedigree Power

by Dick Powell

The Preakness Stakes G1 is run at 1 3/16ths miles and is less of a test of stamina than the Kentucky Derby G1 for three reasons.

Preakness Stakes Contenders face different challenges

First, the distance is shorter. Second, the field is smaller – maximum of 20 starters in the Kentucky Derby and 14 in the Preakness Stakes – which results in less pace pressure. The Derby has so many horses looking to get early position that a fast pace naturally evolves even when the field might look like it lacks pace. And, third, the Pimlico main track does not always help deep closers that might have stout pedigrees.

This year’s Preakness only attracted eight starters as JUSTIFY looks like he has scared everyone off. And based on dirt pedigree going this distance, he will be a heavy odds favorite again.

By SCAT DADDY, he is out of a dam by GHOSTZAPPER that won three straight races going two turns and finished up her career with a third in the Gardenia Stakes G3 going two turns. Her first foal to race by STREET SENSE who broke his maiden first time going two turns at Santa Anita and was third in the Californian Stakes G3 last month.

The rest of JUSTIFY’s dam side pedigree is not very stout but he has already shown he can get ten furlongs and did it with a blazing early pace.

GOOD MAGIC cost a $1,000,000 as a yearling and earned his keep last year when he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile G1 when still a maiden. He won the nine-furlong Blue Grass Stakes G1 then was a game second in the Derby. By Preakness Stakes winner CURLIN, he is out of a dam by HARD SPUN that broke her maiden in her two-turn debut and won two minor stakes races going a two-turn mile.

QUIP is by DISTORTED HUMOR, who has already sired a Preakness winner in FUNNY CIDE in 2003. He was second in the Arkansas Derby G1 last out going nine furlongs and his dam is by INDIAN CHARLIE whose grandson NYQUIST won the Preakness.

BRAVAZO is by AWESOME AGAIN who has a Preakness winner in OXBOW. She is out of a dam by CEE’S TIZZY that broke her maiden for $25k and finished her career against $4K claimers at Beulah Park. BRAVAZO is the only black type under the first two dams.

DIAMOND KING is by QUALITY ROAD and is out of a dam by MALIBU MOON that was stakes-placed at two in Canada. This is her first foal to race and she is out of a dam by NOT FOR LOVE that was a very fast stakes-winning sprinter that earned $322K in 22 starts.

SPORTING CHANCE won a grade one stakes race last year at Saratoga but the Hopeful Stakes is not what it used to be. He has tactical speed and some ability to carry it since he is by dirt, stamina sire TIZNOW out of a dam by CANDY RIDE that just missed in the ten-furlong Coaching Club American Oaks G1 so there is plenty of stamina in here.

TENFOLD won his first two career starts going two turns then came back with an even effort in the Arkansas Derby G1. He’s by CURLIN out of a dam by TAPIT, sire of three of the last four Belmont Stakes G1, so this is a huge pedigree on the dirt.

LONE SAILOR is a one-dimensional closer that just missed two starts back in the Louisiana Derby going nine furlongs then made up some late ground in the Kentucky Derby. He is by sprinter MAJESTIC WARRIOR and is out of a dam by MR. GREELEY so the only way he gets a distance of ground is to settle early and make one run. After nine career starts and seven of them going long, he has learned how to outrun his pedigree.

Preakness Contenders by Sire/Dam Average Winning Distance

So let’s look at this year’s field based on their sire and dam sire’s Average Winning Distance (AWD) of their offspring:

Bravazo                       Awesome Again         7.4
                                    Cee’s Tizzy                  6.6
Total AWD                  14.0 furlongs

Diamond King             Quality Road               7.3
                                    Malibu Moon              7.1
Total Awd                   14.4 furlongs

Good Magic                Curlin                           7.6
                                    Hard Spun                   7.4
Total AWD                  15.0 furlongs

Justify                        Scat Daddy                  7.2
                                    Ghostzapper               7.2
Total AWD                  14.4 furlongs

Lone Sailor                  Majestic Warrior        7.0
                                    Mr. Greeley                 6.9
Total AWD                  13.9 furlongs

Quip                            Distorted Humor         7.1
                                    Indian Charlie              6.7
Total AWD                  13.8 furlongs

Sporting Chance          Tiznow                        7.6
                                    Candy Ride                  7.0
Total AWD                  14.6 furlongs

Tenfold                        Curlin                           7.6
                                    Tapit                            7.6
Total AWD                  15.2 furlongs

Preakness Stakes Contender Pedigree Power Conclusion:

Tenfold has the stoutest pedigree and Quip has the speediest.
None of the sires and dam sires are new so the sample sizes for the AWDs is very solid.