Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Drum Roll Please

January 8th, 2024

Drum Roll Please joined the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a third-place finish in the Remsen (G2), and a subsequent 3 3/4-length win in the Jerome S. at Aqueduct reiterates his emergence as a Kentucky Derby (G1) contender.

At first glance, Drum Roll Please’s pedigree might appear more speed-oriented than ideal for the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. But dig a little deeper, and stamina becomes apparent.

Drum Roll Please is a son of Hard Spun, who was fast enough to win the seven-furlong King’s Bishop (G1) but stout enough to finish second in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) racing 1 1/4 miles.

Hard Spun was known for his speed, but as a stallion his progeny win at the average distance of 7.4 furlongs, which indicates Hard Spun is passing on stamina with regularity. Sure, some of his runners have been speedsters—Aloha West won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Spun to Run took the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1)—but Hard Spun has also sired major winners over classic distances and longer.

To name a few, there’s 1 1/4-mile Alabama (G1) winner Questing, 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million (G1) hero Hardest Core, 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) winner Hard Aces, and 1 1/4-mile Cape Derby (G1) winner Ertijaal. Hard Spun is also the sire of Two Phil’s, runner-up in the 2023 Kentucky Derby, and Rocketry, winner of the 1 3/4-mile Marathon (G2) and 1 5/8-mile Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G2).

The bottom half of Drum Roll Please’s pedigree is also encouraging. He’s the first foal produced by Imply, a seven-time stakes winner on dirt, turf, and synthetic. Six of her seven stakes wins came racing one mile or farther.

Imply, in turn, is a daughter of E Dubai, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Suburban H. (G2) and runner-up in the 1 1/4-mile Travers (G1) and 1 1/4-mile Super Derby (G1). While the progeny of E Dubai have won at the modest average distance of 6.8 furlongs, he’s best known as the sire of Fort Larned, a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner who also took the 1 1/8-mile Whitney H. (G1) and 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster H. (G1).

Furthermore, E Dubai is the dam sire of 1 1/8-mile Clark H. (G1) winner Effinex, whose exploits over 1 1/4 miles included a runner-up finish behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Breeders’ Cup Classic plus back-to-back victories in the Suburban.

Taking all of these factors together, the pedigree of Drum Roll Please mixes enough stamina with speed to suggest racing 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May will be a good fit.