Winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) requires a combination of speed and stamina; if you lack one or the other, you’re unlikely to reach the winner’s circle.
Fortunately for the connections of Mandaloun, their talented colt appears to have inherited a perfect blend of both traits. The Juddmonte Farms homebred emerged as a major Road to the Kentucky Derby player with a victory in the 1 1/8-mile Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds, where he demonstrated enough speed to track the pace and enough stamina to outlast his rivals down the homestretch.
The source of Mandaloun’s speed is obvious. He’s a son of two-time leading sire Into Mischief, a talented sprinter/miler who tends to pass brilliance on to his progeny. Champion female sprinters Gamine and Covfefe are obvious examples, along with two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Goldencents.
But Into Mischief is also a half-brother to four-time Eclipse Award-winning mare Beholder and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn, so there’s a bit more stamina in Into Mischief’s genetic makeup than first meets the eye. This became evident last year when Into Mischief’s son Authentic nabbed the Kentucky Derby, Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and Haskell (G1) during a Horse of the Year campaign.
Even if you view Authentic as an exception and generally consider Into Mischief to be a source of speed, there’s still no reason to worry about Mandaloun’s distance capabilities. After all, the bottom half of his pedigree is stacked with classic stamina.
For starters, Mandaloun was produced by Brooch, a two-time group winner in Ireland over distances ranging from one mile to 1 3/16 miles. Brooch, in turn, is a daughter of Belmont (G1) winner Empire Maker, a source of stamina best known as the sire of two-time Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) winner Royal Delta plus Kentucky Derby runners-up Pioneerof the Nile and Bodemeister. The latter two have further enhanced Empire Maker’s legacy through their own stud records; Pioneerof the Nile is the sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, while Bodemeister is responsible for Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.
But Empire Maker isn’t the only source of stamina in Brooch’s breeding. She was produced by the Dansili mare Daring Diva, whose previous foals include Caponata, winner of the 1 3/16-mile Victor McCalmont Memorial S. and runner-up in the 1 1/4-mile Blandford (G2).
With the speed of Into Mischief and the stamina of Brooch coursing through his veins, there’s no reason to think Mandaloun can’t handle racing 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May.