What do you get when you cross a Kentucky Derby (G1) winner with a graded stakes-winning turf miler? You get Azul Coast, a versatile colt ready to handle any racing surface you throw at him.
Azul Coast joined the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a runner-up effort in the Sham (G3) on dirt at Santa Anita, then continued his ascent with a hard-fought victory in the El Camino Real Derby over the synthetic Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields. The surface switch seemingly made no difference to Azul Coast, who battled clear of his opponents down the lane to secure the 1 1/8-mile race by 1 1/4 lengths.
|Azul Coast Pedigree|
It takes stamina to win a race like the El Camino Real Derby, and Azul Coast’s durable nature is likely inherited from his sire, Super Saver. Winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby, Super Saver was as stoutly bred as they came. One of two Derby winners sired by champion juvenile Maria’s Mon (Monarchos being the other), Super Saver’s dam is Supercharger, a daughter of 1992 Belmont (G1) winner and renowned stamina source A.P. Indy.
Supercharger wasn’t much of a racehorse, winning three modest races between 6 furlongs and a mile, but she was highly productive as a broodmare. In addition to Super Saver, Supercharger’s foals include 1 1/16-mile Lone Star Park H. (G3) winner Cyrus Alexander and 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis (G3) winner Brethren.
Super Saver himself has tended to pass on more speed than stamina, with champion sprinter Runhappy and Hopeful (G1) winner Competitive Edge among his best foals. But there have been several exceptions, with Embellish the Lace nabbing the 1 1/4-mile Alabama (G1) and Insight Straight claiming the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn H. (G2) to prove Super Saver can sire long-winded types under the right circumstances.
And evidently the right circumstances involve the Sky Mesa mare Sky Treasure, dam of Azul Coast. In stark contrast to Super Saver, who hails from a family of tried-and-true dirt horses, Sky Treasure’s pedigree has largely been about success over turf and synthetic tracks.
Certainly the genetic contributions of Sky Mesa lean in this direction. Although Sky Mesa was a high-class dirt horse, winning the Hopeful and Breeders’ Futurity (G2), many of his best foals have demonstrated opposite preferences. General Quarters won the Blue Grass (G1) on Polytrack and the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) on grass, while Canadian champions Ami’s Mesa and Dynamic Sky thrived on synthetic and turf courses, respectively.
Sky Treasure herself adhered to this profile by winning the Nassau (G2) over a mile on grass at Woodbine, while her half-brother Surgical Strike followed suit by winning the Arlington Classic (G3) and John Battaglia Memorial on synthetic tracks. Another half-sibling, Panther Strike, placed in the Ice Water S. on turf at Woodbine before producing Caroline Test, runner-up in the Juvenile Fillies S. over the European-style grass course at Kentucky Downs.
In short, Azul Coast has the breeding to succeed over distances ranging from a mile to 1 1/4 miles, making him a logical player on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. But as his victory in the El Camino Real Derby suggests, there’s a chance Azul Coast will take after his female family and prove best racing on turf or synthetic tracks.