It took some guts for Shotski to stem off the late challenge of Ajaaweed in the $250,000 Remsen S. (G2) on December 7 at Aqueduct. Clear by 3 1/2 lengths at the eighth pole, the front-running colt had to dig deep in the lane to prevail by a hard-fought half-length.

Take one glance at Shotski’s pedigree, and it’s easy to see where this emerging Kentucky Derby (G1) contender gets his resiliency. Bred in Kentucky by Springland Farm & Prime Bloodstock LLC., Shotski is a son of Blame, a tenacious and gritty runner who famously held off the late charge of supermare Zenyatta to win the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Shotski Pedigree
Arch (1995)
Blame (2006)
Liable (1995)
Shotski (2017)
Bluegrass Cat (2003)
She Cat (2008)
Fortune Pending (1992)

The Classic was one of three major stakes races Blame won at Churchill Downs during his decorated career. Can Shotski follow in his sire’s footsteps and score a career-defining victory under the Twin Spires?

Certainly Shotski has the pedigree to be effective racing 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May. Blame tends to pass on stamina to his progeny, which might explain why many of his best foals have been successful running long on grass.

Arguably Blame’s best runner to date has been French classic winner Senga, victorious over future champion Sistercharlie in the 1 5/16-mile Prix de Diane (G1) in 2017. But Marley’s Freedom, Fault, Blamed, Far From Over, and Daisy have all won graded stakes running at least a mile on dirt, and Shotski—by virtue of his Remsen victory—appears to have inherited meaningful stamina as well.

The dam side of Shotski’s pedigree isn’t particular eye-catching at first glance, but there are plenty of honest, durable, and versatile runners in the mix. Shotski’s dam is She Cat, a daughter of the consistent and capable Bluegrass Cat, winner of the 2006 Haskell Invitational (G1) and runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes (G1).

While Bluegrass Cat never set the world on fire at stud, the majority of his best foals were successful running long on dirt, including graded stakes winners Sabercat (a Kentucky Derby starter), Teeth of the Dog (a Preakness [G1] entrant), Kathmanblu (a Kentucky Oaks [G1] participant), and Flexibility. As a broodmare sire, Bluegrass Cat has most notably been represented by Belmont Derby (G1) winner Henley’s Joy and Spinaway S. (G1) victor Sweet Loretta.

As for She Cat, she would hardly rank among the best of Bluegrass Cat’s progeny. She was thoroughly unremarkable as a racehorse, failing to challenge in four starts, but has been given a solid chance as a broodmare thanks to her classy female family. Dam Fortune Pending was a stakes winner running 1 1/16 miles on dirt, and She Cat’s half-siblings include the five-time stakes-winning sprinter Slews Final Answer and the 1 1/16-mile All American H. (G3) winner Palmeiro, both of whom proved best on dirt despite their differing distance proclivities.

Prior to the emergence of Shotski, She Cat herself hadn’t been particularly productive as a broodmare, though her two winning foals have demonstrated versatility. Always Believe has won races on dirt, turf, and synthetic tracks (and over distances ranging from five furlongs to one mile), while Colonist has won on both dirt and turf, most notably placing second in the American S. (G3) going a mile on the lawn.

Some handicappers will point to Shotski’s shrinking advantage in the Remsen as evidence he won’t stay 1 1/4 miles. But when put to the test, Shotski emerged victorious, and that’s an important trait to see. Tenacity can carry a horse a long way, and if Shotski has inherited a fraction of his sire’s determination, stamina, and affinity for Churchill Downs, he’ll have nothing to worry about on the first Saturday in May.