Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Barber Road

April 21st, 2022

The pedigree of Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up Barber Road presents a promising blend of speed and stamina, suggesting he’ll handle the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby (G1) just fine.

But will Barber Road be ready for a peak performance on the first Saturday in May? Although he showed plenty of promise during the winter and spring, placing in four straight Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifiers, Barber Road’s bloodlines suggest there’s a good chance his best efforts will come sometime later than Derby Day.

Let’s explore this possibility in greater detail. Barber Road’s sire is Race Day, a late-maturing son of three-time North American leading sire Tapit. Race Day didn’t compete at age two and failed to visit the winner’s circle until the autumn of his three-year-old season, when he scored three straight victories against maiden and allowance company.

Race Day peaked at the age of four, when he rattled off victories in the 1 1/16-mile Razorback H. (G3), 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn H. (G2), and 1 1/8-mile Fayette S. (G2) against quality competition. Two starts against Grade 1 company failed to produce superfecta finishes, though Race Day was beaten less than two lengths when coming home fifth against a deep field in the 1 1/8-mile Clark H. (G1) to conclude his career.

Meanwhile, Barber Road’s dam is Encounter, who finished seventh in her lone start. She’s a daughter of Southern Image, who came to hand impressively at the end of his three-year-old campaign. A victory in the seven-furlong Malibu S. (G1) set the stage for triumphs in the 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita H. (G1) and 1 3/16-mile Pimlico Special H. (G1) at age four, an impressive streak of top-level successes demonstrating Southern Image’s distance versatility.

The concern for Barber Road is the fact both Race Day and Southern Image peaked at age four, suggesting Barber Road’s strongest races are unlikely to come during the spring of his sophomore season. Check out Southern Image’s stud record, and you’ll find names like Southern Speed (a Group 1 winner at age four in Australia) and Calibrachoa (victorious in a quintet of Grade 3 stakes at ages four and five).

Of course, there are some bright spots too. Race Day is the sire of Florida Derby (G1) winner White Abarrio and Silverbulletday S. winner Charlie’s Penny, both stakes winners early in their three-year-old seasons. And Encounter has produced several juvenile winners, suggesting her foals can come to hand at an early age.

But on the whole, Barber Road’s pedigree is geared toward late maturity, suggesting his best efforts will come later on — perhaps even as a four-year-old in 2023.

Check out these other Kentucky Derby pedigree profiles
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