Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up Dr Post clearly has the talent of an elite racehorse, and the qualification points he’s earned on the Road to the Kentucky Derby are more than sufficient to secure him a spot in the Churchill Downs starting gate.

Yes, speed isn’t a question mark for Dr Post. It’s stamina that could potentially trip him up while traversing 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in September.

Dr Post Pedigree
Elusive Quality
Quality Road
Kobla
Dr Post
Hennessy
Mary Delaney
Crafty Emerald

Dr Post is a son of Quality Road, a four-time Grade 1 winner with the talent to win Saratoga’s 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam (G2) in the track-record time of 1:13.74. Speed was always Quality Road’s forte, and while he stretched his brilliance far enough to win the Florida Derby (G1), Donn H. (G1), and Woodward (G1) racing 1 1/8 miles, he failed to secure a victory from three starts over 1 1/4 miles.

At stud, Quality Road has tended to stamp his progeny with similar tendencies. They lean toward speed more than stamina, and while some have won going 1 1/8 miles in top company—Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Abel Tasman and Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner City of Light being prime examples—Quality Road’s only major winner over 1 1/4 miles has been Spring Quality, who posted an upset victory in the Manhattan (G1) on turf.

Both Abel Tasman and Spring Quality were produced by Deputy Minister mares, noteworthy since Deputy Minister sired a bevy of long-winded Grade 1 winners and champions, including Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) victor Awesome Again and Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. Even better, Deputy Minister has become a noteworthy stamina influence as a broodmare sire, with his daughters foaling Belmont Stakes winners Sarava, Jazil, and Rags to Riches, plus two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron.

These facts hint Deputy Minister may have been more responsible for the stamina of Abel Tasman and Spring Quality than Quality Road, a noteworthy tangent since the female side of Dr Post’s pedigree is decidedly less stout. In place of Deputy Minister we find Hennessy, a high-class 2-year-old who counted the 7-furlong Hopeful (G1) as his longest and most significant victory.

Hennessy was a success at stud, but as with Quality Road his progeny tended to thrive running slightly shorter than classic distances. Johannesburg won the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and was primarily a sprinter. Henny Hughes nabbed the 7-furlong King’s Bishop (G1), but was beaten in two starts going a mile or farther. Madcap Escape stretched out to win the 1 1/16-mile Ashland (G1), but achieved most of her victories in sprints.

Certainly Dr Post’s dam, Mary Delaney, was a prototypical Hennessy speedster. A three-time stakes-winning sprinter, Mary Delaney secured her signature victory in Keeneland’s 7-furlong Madison (G2), beating future champion Ginger Punch by 1 1/2 lengths.

We can also draw interesting conclusions by examining the Quality Road/Hennessy cross, which has proven highly productive from limited opportunities. In addition to Dr Post, stakes winners produced by this cross include Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny (whose stamina topped out going a mile) and 7-furlong Toboggan (G3) winner Great Stuff.

Again, there’s no shortage of speed and class in Dr Post’s pedigree—he’s bred to be a talented performer up to 1 1/8 miles in distance. But the testing 1 1/4-mile journey of the Kentucky Derby might prove to be a furlong or two beyond Dr Post’s ideal distance.