Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Crown Pride

March 28th, 2022

After driving to a 2 3/4-length triumph in the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan in Dubai, Crown Pride is poised to become only the second Japanese-bred horse to compete in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

This makes things challenging for American pedigree handicappers unfamiliar with Crown Pride’s immediate lineage. But rest assured, there’s no reason to doubt Crown Pride’s ability to handle the dirt surface and 1 1/4-mile distance of the Run for the Roses.

Crown Pride is a son of Reach the Crown, a turf miler who managed to stretch his speed far enough to finish second in the 2009 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) over 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles). Reach the Crown failed to factor in his lone dirt start, finishing 10th in the February S. (G1), but his potential to sire long-winded dirt runners can’t be dismissed.

After all, Reach the Crown’s sire is 2,400-meter Japan Cup (G1) winner Special Week, a son of 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness S. (G1) winner Sunday Silence. And Reach the Crown’s dam is Crownpiece, a maiden winner racing 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) on dirt and a daughter of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.

The bottom half of Crown Pride’s pedigree is also worth our attention. His dam is the winning dirt performer Emmy’s Pride, a daughter of King Kamehameha out of Emmy’s Smile.

King Kamehameha (a grandson of breed-shaping American classics sire Mr. Prospector) was a grass star who won the Tokyo Yushun. Many of King Kamehameha’s best runners have excelled on grass (including Tokyo Yushun winners Rey de Oro and Duramente), but he’s also the sire of 1,800-meter Champions Cup (G1) winner Chuwa Wizard. The latter is a tried-and-true dirt star boasting second- and third-place finishes from the last two editions of the 2,000-meter (1 1/4-mile) Dubai World Cup (G1).

Meanwhile, Emmy’s Smile won a pair of minor turf races over distances of 1,600 meters and 2,000 meters, but she has produced winners on dirt. This is understandable when you consider how Emmy’s Smile is a granddaughter of the above-mentioned Sunday Silence.

Certainly there are many turf influences in Crown Pride’s pedigree, but his prowess on dirt is also readily explainable. The numerous stamina influences in Crown Pride’s pedigree are also appealing, so if you like his chances in the Kentucky Derby, his breeding shouldn’t concern you.