2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Shagaf

March 10th, 2016

We continue our pedigree profiles of the 2016 Kentucky Derby hopefuls with Gotham (G3) hero Shagaf, who has joined fellow Shadwell Stable colorbearer Mohaymen as a prominent contender.

Unlike Mohaymen, a $2.2 million auction purchase, Shagaf is a Shadwell homebred. Both are bred in the purple, with Shagaf boasting perhaps the more obvious classic pedigree.

Shagaf is by champion Bernardini, winner of the Preakness (G1), Travers (G1), and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) during his Eclipse Award campaign in 2006.

From the male line of 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew, via his Hall of Fame son A.P. Indy, Bernardini made an immediate splash by siring multiple Grade 1-winning millionaires Stay Thirsty and To Honor and Serve in his first crop. Stay Thirsty, who was a close second in the 2011 Belmont (G1), emulated his sire by capturing the Travers. So did the highest profile member of Bernardini’s second crop, multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Alpha, albeit in a dead-heat for the 2012 Travers.

Bernardini has several offspring on the 2016 Derby trail, including Zulu, Greenpointcrusader, and Seymourdini, as well as Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender Rachel’s Valentina (daughter of Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra). But Bernardini is also responsible for Cavorting and Dame Dorothy, both dirt sprint specialists, and such turf stars as New Zealand champion 2-year-old filly Ruud Awakening and five-time Australian Group 1 victor Boban.

Shagaf’s maternal half reinforces the classic look. His dam, Muhaawara, is a stakes-winning daughter of Unbridled’s Song and multiple Grade 1 heroine Habibti, by 1994 Preakness and Belmont winner Tabasco Cat. Third dam Miss Sobriety is by champion Temperence Hill, who garnered the 1980 Belmont, Travers, and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Shagaf’s pedigree thus sports 4x4 inbreeding to the influential Fappiano – the same degree of duplication found in Risen Star (G2) winner Gun Runner.

Unbridled’s Song is carving out quite a legacy. Aside from siring champions Will Take Charge and Midshipman (one of his Breeders’ Cup winners along with Liam’s Map, Unbridled Elaine, and Unrivaled Belle), Unbridled’s Song appears as the broodmare sire of Japanese standouts Danon Platina and Toho Jackal and American headliners Carpe Diem and General Quarters.

Muhaawara is a half-sister to millionaire marathoner Eldaafer. By A.P. Indy, and thus sharing the same male and female line as Shagaf, Eldaafer scored his signature wins in the 1 3/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Marathon (G3) in 2010 and the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn (G2) the prior year.

Habibti’s memorable victories came as a juvenile in the 2001 Hollywood Starlet (G1) and Del Mar Debutante (G1), and chief among her trio of Grade 1 placings at three was the Kentucky Oaks.

Kentucky Oaks winner Gal in a Ruckus (1995) hails from the same family, as does recent Rachel Alexandra (G2) shocker and current Oaks candidate Venus Valentine. Another notable relative is South African champion Soft Falling Rain, a successful globetrotter who annexed the Godolphin Mile (G2) on Dubai World Cup night as well as the Joel (G2) at Newmarket.

This is a branch of the same maternal line as the prolific No Class, dam of US and multiple Canadian champion Sky Classic along with fellow Sovereign Award winners Grey Classic, Regal Classic and Classy ‘n Smart. The latter is a blue hen in her own right, having produced Hall of Famer Dance Smartly (dam of Queen’s Plate-winning champion and Grade 1 victress Dancethruthedawn) and leading sire Smart Strike.

Shagaf traces to the superb No. 23-b family, the tap root of 1978 Triple Crown legend Affirmed and seven other Kentucky Derby winners. In recent decades that list includes Tim Tam (1958), Winning Colors (1988), Lil E Tee (1992), Mine That Bird (2009) and I'll Have Another (2012).




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

Photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Susie Raisher.