2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Mor Spirit

February 12th, 2016

Following on from our first pedigree profile of Mohaymen, we turn to another recent Kentucky Derby (G1) prep winner, Mor Spirit. The Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) hero made it two straight in last Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis (G3).

Mor Spirit is easily the best runner so far sired by Eskendereya, whose on-track exploits have been more notable than his results at stud. A beautifully bred son of Giant’s Causeway and a mare by 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew, descending from the female line of Northern Dancer and Halo, Eskendereya rocketed to fame in the spring of 2010. His runaway victories in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Wood Memorial (G1) made him the heavy favorite for the Kentucky Derby – until an injury forced hi out of the Run for the Roses and prematurely ended his racing career.

Eskendereya’s first crop featured a few stakes performers, notably the fillies Isabella Sings and Eskenformoney. But there were no headliners, and the erstwhile Kentucky-based stallion was sold to Japan last fall.

As sometimes happens in the bloodstock world, the progeny of an exported stallion begin to fire after he’s left these shores. And so it occurred in the case of Eskendereya. Not only did Isabella Sings become his first graded stakes winner when upsetting the 2015 Mrs. Revere (G2) on the Churchill Downs turf, but Mor Spirit soon burst onto the scene.

Mor Spirit gets his routing ability from his sire, because he’s out of a pure sprinter in Ima Dixie Girl. Peaking as a juvenile in 2004, Ima Dixie Girl romped in the Colleen S. but cut it a lot closer in the Bassinet. Her chief stakes placing was a third in the Astarita (G3), and she retired with a record of 11-3-2-1, $167,320.

In addition to Mor Spirit, Ima Dixie Girl has produced four minor winners, including $229,165-earner Sheikinator. Mor Spirit’s full brother, In for the Money, flashed promise by winning his first two starts in New Mexico, but unfortunately was vanned off in last year’s Riley Allison. We’ll never know just what he might have become.

Ima Dixie Girl is by Dixie Union, who is also making waves as the broodmare sire of Mohaymen. Hero of the 2000 Haskell Invitational (G1) and Malibu (G1), Dixie Union has sired such major performers as 2012 Belmont S. (G1) victor Union Rags, Overanalyze, and Dixie Strike.

Interestingly, Dixie Union is bred along similar lines to Eskendereya: both are representatives of the Northern Dancer/Seattle Slew cross, with second dams by Raise a Native-line sires. Thus Mor Spirit's pedigree boasts duplications of these potent influences.

Ima Dixie Girl’s dam is the hardy multiple stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Im Out First, who raced 56 times over the course of her career and bankrolled $438,628. She won or placed in a total of 32 starts, 11 of them stakes.

This is the family of Stellar Wind, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, and Grade 1 winner Great Hunter. Tracing the matrilineal descent much further, Mor Spirit hails from the same tap root mare as Derby winners *Tomy Lee (1959), Genuine Risk (1980) and Swale (1984).

Pedigree information courtesy of Brisnet (products 105E and 750, respectively).

Photo courtesy of Benoit.