Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Dynamic One

April 17th, 2021

One of the most expensive horses in the 2021 Kentucky Derby field is Dynamic One, the narrowly-beaten Wood Memorial (G2) runner-up who sold for $725,000 as a yearling.

Shelling out a large sum for an unraced thoroughbred always comes with a degree of risk, but the risk can be offset to some extent by a classy pedigree. And in the case of Dynamic One, it’s hard to knock his breeding.

Dynamic One is a son of Union Rags, who has achieved high-level success as a racehorse and stallion, albeit without reaching the absolute pinnacle as either. A Grade 1 winner at ages two and three, Union Rags was never named a champion, but he did secure a classic victory when battling to a narrow triumph in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont (G1) in 2012.

Union Rags’ class arguably played a bigger role than stamina in reaching the Belmont winner’s circle. As a son of Haskell (G1) winner Dixie Union out of a mare by Gone West, Union Rags is bred more like a miler than a classic router, and his progeny have largely followed this example. Three-time Grade 1 winner Paradise Woods, Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Free Drop Billy, Del Mar Debutante (G1) heroine Union Strike, and Alcibiades (G1) winner Dancing Rags rank as Union Rags’ most accomplished runners to date, but all achieved their signature victories between seven furlongs and 1 1/16 miles.

Fortunately for Dynamic One, the bottom half of his pedigree brings a bit more stamina to the mix. His dam, Beat the Drums, was unremarkable as a racehorse, failing to finish better than seventh in two starts. But her pedigree is as classy as they come—she’s a daughter of leading sire Smart Strike out of the Storm Cat mare Storm Flag Flying, a champion filly who won four Grade 1 races up to 1 1/4 miles in distance. Her previous foals include Revved Up, a runner-up in the Arlington H. (G3) racing 1 3/16 miles on turf.

As for Smart Strike, he ranks among the most accomplished North American stallions of the last twenty years. Winner of the Philip H. Iselin H. (G1) racing 1 1/16 miles, Smart Strike has carved out a lasting legacy as a source of elite stamina. Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, champion grass male English Channel, and two-time champion Lookin At Lucky represent just a handful of Smart Strike’s most accomplished runners. All three won Grade 1 races running 1 3/16 miles or farther—with Curlin and Lookin At Lucky nabbing the Preakness (G1)—and all three have followed Smart Strike’s example by passing on stamina at stud.

Smart Strike has also enjoyed strong success as a broodmare sire, with his daughters foaling Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mine That Bird, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Shared Account, Pacific Classic (G1) hero Dullahan, and Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) winner First Dude, along with a handful of Canadian classic winners. The Union Rags/Smart Strike cross has proven particularly potent, with Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) winner Spielberg, and the above-mentioned Grade 1 winner Union Strike, among the standouts produced from this combination of bloodlines.

With a bit of miler speed from Union Rags coupled with some classic stamina courtesy of Smart Strike, it’s easy to see why this cross has been productive. It’s carried Dynamic One all the way to the Kentucky Derby, and perhaps the Derby winner’s circle is the next stop.