Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Improbable

WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Starlight Racing’s Improbable moved his sterling mark to three wins from as many outings with an impressive, five-length score in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) on Saturday. The juvenile colt capped off a fine two-year-old season for conditioner Bob Baffert, which also saw the youngster roll home in the Street Sense at Churchill Downs.

Improbable was bred in the Bluegrass State by St George Farm and G. Watts Humphrey. The chestnut passed through the sales ring on a pair of occasions, bringing $110,000 as a weanling at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale before fetching a final bid of $200,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

He is by the late City Zip, who is responsible for at least 79 black type winners from 14 crops to date. He amassed six graded wins and achieved his greatest success when annexing the 2000 Hopeful (G1) in a dead heat. While he was a one-turn performer on the track, City Zip has become a very versatile stud who has sired top runners over various surfaces and distances. Champions Catch a Glimpse, Dayatthespa, Work All Week and Finest City, as well as 2017 Pacific Classic (G1) star Collected, are among the top runners he has sired.

Improbable is the first foal out of the winning A.P. Indy mare Rare Event. That lass has since produced an unnamed yearling filly by Quality Road and an unnamed weanling colt by Oxbow.

A.P. Indy has been a wildly successful sire as well as a stellar broodmare sire. The 1992 Horse of the Year has been the broodmare sire of more than 195 black type winners who have banked in excess of $170 million to date. And he has been in the top-five on the broodmare sire list for the majority of this decade.

He has had a big impact on each leg of the Triple Crown, too. A. P. Indy is the sire of 2007 Belmont Stakes (G1) heroine Rags to Riches, and his daughters produced 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1) star Super Saver as well as 2017 Preakness (G1) victor Cloud Computing. Game Winner, the top two-year-old in 2018, is out of a daughter of A.P. Indy as well.

The second dam of Improbable, Canadian stakes heroine Our Rite of Spring, is a three-quarter sister to dual classic-placed Grade-1 winner and top sire Hard Spun.

Improbable has been impressive from day one. The chestnut has shown improvement as the distances have increased this campaign, and the juvenile colt looks to have plenty more in the tank with the way he finishes his races. The colt is an extremely exciting prospect with a high ceiling. Improbable receives ample stamina through his female line and has the look of a classics-type horse going forward.

Improbable (c) Benoit Photo

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Savagery an intriguing prospect in Los Alamitos Futurity

The American Graded Stakes Committee announced recently that the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) would be downgraded next year to Grade 2 status. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the 1 1/16-mile event 10 times and has two of the strong choices in Saturday’s field of six. Rain in the Southern California area could result in a wet track.

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MUCHO GUSTO (#6) (3-1) broke his maiden over the track going six furlongs in a fast time, then shipped to Del Mar to win the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs when he went to the front and controlled the pace. Baffert wins 27 percent first time going long and 35 percent first start after a win, so logic dictates Mucho Gusto will be tough in here.

IMPROBABLE (#1) (6-5) is the other Baffert runner and is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. He broke his maiden by a neck at 2-5 in his career debut at Santa Anita going six furlongs, then shipped to Churchill Downs for the Street Sense Stakes. There, the chestnut was shuffled back a bit from an inside draw but exploded in the one-mile event when Drayden Van Dyke let it out a notch and won by more than seven lengths. His 99 BRIS Speed rating is the highest of this field.

For years, you could mine pari-mutuel gold by going with the “other Baffert.” However, in this contest, I’m not sure how much different the odds will be on his two starters.

The horse that intrigues me is SAVAGERY (#2) (8-1). It took him awhile to get it together but I like his last three races. After breaking maiden by 11 lengths against maiden $62,500 claimers, he came back and was a good second in a Cal-bred stakes race at Santa Anita. Last out in the Bob Hope, the bay colt chased Mucho Gusto the entire trip and grimly hung on for second.

Here’s what I like about Savagery in this spot. Trainer Peter Miller removes blinkers for the first time. Blinkers off is a major move as horses suddenly race more relaxed and can carry their speed better. Miller wins an extraordinary 28 percent when he removes blinkers, and the last 88 times he made that equipment change he shows a major flat-bet profit.

Savagery draws inside, which is critical at Los Alamitos going two turns since the track is like a paper clip with two very sharp turns. Miller switches to jockey Florent Geroux, who does great with horses that have speed so a ground-saving trip is almost assured. Plus, Savagery is by Bellamy Road, who loved going two turns and has sired two-turn Grade 1 winners like Diversify and Toby’s Corner.

An inside post, natural speed, a rider who excels getting speed horses to relax, blinkers off and a sire who does well with these types are all the ingredients for an upset. Savagery is 8-1 on the morning line and could be higher if the Baffert horses take more money.

After all, Baffert can’t win all these races. Can he?

Win: #2

Exacta: 1, 6 with 2

Savagery romped by 11 lengths to break his maiden at Del Mar on August 15, 2018 (c) Benoit Photo

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