Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Complexity

October 15th, 2018

Unbeaten Champagne (G1) winner Complexity is living up to his pedigree now, but he’ll have to transcend it to stay the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Complexity is by Maclean’s Music, who famously won his only career start, a six-furlong maiden at Santa Anita, in a brilliant 1:07.44. Although his sire Distorted Humor has begotten classic horses from the right mares, Maclean’s Music was produced by the Grade 2-winning sprinter Forest Music, thereby reinforcing the aptitude for speed. Forest Music’s other progeny likewise excelled around one turn, even her colt by the stout Tiznow, Kentuckian, who captured the seven-furlong Laz Barrera (G3) in 2015.

Maclean’s Music is transmitting that speed to his offspring, resulting in an Average Winning Distance of just 6.0 furlongs according to Brisnet. The most glaring exception to the rule is his son Cloud Computing, hero of the 2017 Preakness (G1) for trainer Chad Brown and co-owner Klaravich Stables – ironically the same connections as Complexity. Note that Cloud Computing’s distance capacity was boosted by his broodmare sire, A.P. Indy. (Maclean’s Music also has a 1 1/4-mile stakes winner in Panama, California Music, but his relevance in this context is questionable.)

Complexity’s broodmare sire, in contrast, is the speedball Yes It’s True. Precocious at two, Yes It’s True did not progress on the step up to two turns but developed into a top-class sprinter at three. He not only bossed fellow sophomores in a series of graded stakes, but also beat older horses twice, in the 1999 Maryland Breeders’ Cup H. (G3) (remember when that fan walked onto the track and took a swing at Artax?) and the Frank J. De Francis Dash (G1).

Yes It’s True’s top performers include La Verdad, champion female sprinter of 2015; Proud Accolade, whose biggest victory came in the 2004 Champagne; 2014 King’s Bishop (G1) winner The Big Beast; and $875,385-earning multiple Grade 2 hero Aikenite. As a broodmare sire Yes It’s True has demonstrated a greater range, depending upon how much stamina is contributed by his daughters’ mates.

Complexity’s dam, the unraced Goldfield, is a case in point. She is herself an example of speed marrying speed, since her dam, Folly Dollar, was a Grade 2-placed, stakes-winning sprinter whose maximum trip was seven furlongs.

When Goldfield was bred to the stamina-laden Curlin, she produced a smart router in Valadorna. Runner-up in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Valadorna captured the 2017 Tiffany Lass and 2018 Doubledogdare (G3). Yet even she has largely stuck to the 8-8 1/2-furlong vicinity, and in her only try at 1 1/8 miles, she finished a subpar sixth in the Fleur de Lis (G2). Valadorna would be entitled to another crack at that trip, so it’s telling that she shortened up thereafter.

Goldfield’s other two winners have scored at a mile, Naylor (by Afleet Alex), on Turfway’s Polytrack and the Churchill Downs slop, and Microburst (by Awesome Again) on synthetic and turf at Golden Gate Fields.

Breeding Goldfield to Awesome Again made sense since her half-sister, Grade 2 romper Springside, was by the same sire. Springside, who never ran again after conquering the 2008 Demoiselle (G2), is the most notable maternal relative close up on the page. Further back one finds multiple Grade 2 winner Real Cash; multiple Grade 1-placed sprinter Noble Court, also successful at the Grade 2 level; and current multiple stakes heroine Divine Miss Grey, a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography