Take one glance at the past performances of Field Pass, and it’s easy to conclude this $37,000 yearling purchase is a turf/synthetic specialist without any affinity for dirt racing.
A tenacious winner of the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on Polytrack at Turfway Park, Field Pass has hit the board in seven of his eight races. The lone exception came in an allowance race on dirt at Churchill Downs, in which Field Pass finished a distant sixth.
But it’s hard to draw conclusions based off one race, and if you examine the pedigree of Field Pass, you’ll find plenty of dirt influences in his immediate lineage. Maybe this Mike Maker-trained colt deserves another chance to shine on the main track.
Keep in mind, Field Pass’ sire—Lemon Drop Kid—was a classic winner on dirt, claiming the 1999 Belmont Stakes (G1) with a sustained rally from off the pace. Lemon Drop Kid later added victories in the Travers (G1), Whitney H. (G1), and Woodward (G1) to his decorated resume, becoming the champion older male of 2000 while demonstrating an obvious affinity for negotiating classic distances.
At stud, Lemon Drop Kid has been passing on his stamina, with his foals boasting an impressive average winning distance of 7.9 furlongs. Many have proven best on turf or synthetic tracks, including Arlington Million (G1) winner Beach Patrol and two-time Pacific Classic (G1) champion Richard’s Kid, though Lemon Drop Kid has also sired Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Lemons Forever and Spinster (G1) winner Romantic Vision, both Grade 1 winners on dirt.
The dam of Field Pass is Only Me, a daughter of the versatile Canadian champion Runaway Groom. While Only Me was a pure turf sprinter, scoring all eight of her career victories in 5-furlong grass dashes, as a broodmare she has produced more long-winded types. Prior to Field Pass, she foaled You Must Chill, a winner going a mile on both dirt and turf.
Some of this stamina might be coming from Runaway Groom, who famously upset the 1982 Travers at Saratoga, defeating the winners of the Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness (G1), and Belmont. The son of Blushing Groom was also a star in the Canadian classics, finishing second in the Queen’s Plate before claiming the Prince of Wales S. and Breeders’ S. The latter race—held over 1 1/2 miles on grass—was a testament to Runaway Groom’s stamina and versatility.
If anything, Runaway Groom has been even more versatile as a stallion. His progeny have thrived over seemingly all distances and surfaces. To name just a few, Wekiva Springs nabbed victories in the 1 1/4-mile Suburban (G1) and 1 1/4-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (G1) on dirt, Cherokee Run claimed the 6-furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on dirt, Down the Aisle won the 1 3/8-mile United Nations H. (G1) on grass, and Sterwins romped in the 1 1/8-mile Ben Ali (G3) on Polytrack.
Considering the stud records of Lemon Drop Kid and Runaway Groom, it certainly isn’t surprising to see Field Pass excelling on grass and synthetic tracks. But nor would it be shocking to see Field Pass win a quality race on dirt, making him an interesting wildcard player on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.