Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Encino

April 1st, 2024

Versatility is a strong suit for Encino. After joining the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a stretch-running score in the John Battaglia Memorial S. on Tapeta at Turfway Park, he switched to dirt for Keeneland's Lexington (G3) and prevailed in gate-to-wire fashion.

Pedigree handicappers could have predicted Encino would handle the switch to dirt just fine. He's bred top and bottom to shine on dirt, which bodes well for his chances of factoring in the 2024 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Encino is a son of 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, who won five Grade 1 races on dirt during a decorated career that saw him voted champion two-year-old male of 2015. He’s passed on that dirt prowess at stud, with his best foals including Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and champion two-year-old filly Vequist, Awesome Again (G1) winner Slow Down Andy, Alabama (G1) heroine Randomized, and graded stakes winners like Turnerloose, Xigera, New York Thunder, Scalding, and Nysos.

The bottom half of Encino’s pedigree is likewise geared toward success on dirt. His dam, Glittering Jewel, scored her lone victory on synthetic in a 1 3/16-mile maiden race at Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom, but on dirt in the U.S. she cracked the trifecta in a trio of allowance optional claimers at Tampa Bay Downs.

That’s hardly surprising since Glittering Jewel is a daughter of Bernardini out of Bedazzle. Bernardini needs no introduction; the champion three-year-old male of 2006 counted the Preakness (G1) among his three Grade 1 wins on dirt, and at stud he’s sired top-tier dirt campaigners like Travers (G1) winners Stay Thirsty and Alpha, Woodward (G1) hero To Honor and Serve, Pegasus World Cup (G1) winner Art Collector, and three-time Grade 1 winner Cavorting. As a broodmare sire, he’s responsible for Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress, Saudi Cup (G1) victor Emblem Road, Travers winner Catholic Boy, and other Grade 1 dirt winners like Clairiere, Maxfield, Dunbar Road, Matareya, and Speaker’s Corner.

The name Bedazzle might not be as instantly recognizable, but she’s in the history books as the dam of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. In other words, Encino is a son of a Kentucky Derby winner (Nyquist) out of a mare who’s a half-sister to a Kentucky Derby winner (Street Sense).

That’s really all we need to know about the pedigree of Encino. Any way you slice it, he’s bred for success in the Run for the Roses.