Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Early Voting

February 9th, 2022

A favorable pedigree isn’t the only requirement to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). But it’s a good place to start, and Early Voting—winner of the Withers S. (G3) and runner-up in the Wood Memorial (G2)—can check that particular box.

From a Derby perspective, it’s hard to knock Early Voting’s breeding. The dark bay colt is a son of Gun Runner, who matured early enough to finish third in the 2016 Kentucky Derby before earning Horse of the Year honors in 2017. A six-time Grade 1 winner over distances from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/4 miles, Gun Runner combined tactical speed with stamina to rank among North America’s best racehorses of the 2010s.

Early Voting Pedigree

Rides the Rails, 1991
Candy Ride (ARG), 1999
=Candy Girl (ARG), 1990
Gun Runner, 2013
Giant's Causeway, 1997
Quiet Giant, 2007
Quiet Dance, 1993
Early Voting, 2019
Cee's Tizzy, 1987
Tiznow, 1997
Cee's Song, 1986
Amour d'Ete, 2012
Storm Cat, 1983
Silken Cat, 1993
Silken Doll, 1980

Gun Runner is off to an even more successful start at stud. His first foals hit the races in 2021, and their widespread success catapulted Gun Runner to the top of the leading first-crop sire rankings. Three-time Grade 1 winner Echo Zulu led the charge, with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Pappacap, Hopeful S. (G1) hero Gunite, and Adirondack S. (G2) winner Wicked Halo among Gun Runner’s other early standouts.

The bottom half of Early Voting’s pedigree trends in a similar direction. His unraced dam, Amour d’Ete, is a daughter of Tiznow out of a Storm Cat mare. Tiznow was a late-maturing Horse of the Year who twice won the 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), while Storm Cat—one of the most successful sires in history—matured early enough to finish second by a nose in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

Tiznow is widely known as a source of stamina at stud, thanks to such accomplished sons as Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Well Armed, Travers S. (G1) hero Colonel John, and even last year’s Preakness S. (G1) runner-up Midnight Bourbon. His daughters have similarly passed on stamina, most notably foaling Belmont S. (G1) winner Tiz the Law and many other accomplished routers.

Meanwhile, Storm Cat is responsible for a bevy of Grade 1 winners over a wide variety of distances and surfaces. His sons include Preakness S. (G1) and Belmont S. (G1) winner Tabasco Cat, Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) hero Cat Thief, and six-time Group 1 winner Giant’s Causeway. The latter led the North American sire rankings on three occasions.

If there’s one knock on Early Voting’s pedigree, it’s the fact neither Tiznow nor Storm Cat have sired a Kentucky Derby winner despite having ample opportunities to do so. But Gun Runner is a fresh face with an opportunity to change the equation, so if Early Voting is beaten on Derby day, it will be difficult to blame his breeding.