Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Fierceness

November 8th, 2023

A blend of tactical speed and staying power carried Fierceness to a 6 1/4-length triumph against a stellar field in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), stamping the bay colt as the early favorite for the 2024 Kentucky Derby (G1).

The source of Fierceness’ speed and stamina is easy to see. It’s written all over his classy pedigree.

Fierceness is a son of City of Light, a speedy yet versatile runner who won the Malibu (G1) and Triple Bend (G1) sprinting seven furlongs, the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) racing a one-turn mile, and the Pegasus World Cup (G1) and Oaklawn H. (G2) racing 1 1/8 miles around two turns. For good measure, he stretched his speed over 1 1/4 miles to finish third in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1).

City of Light’s first foals hit the races in 2022, and they’ve since shown a propensity to shine racing around two turns. Chop Chop won the Juvenile Fillies S. racing one mile on turf before switching to dirt for a runner-up finish in the Alcibiades (G1). Mimi Kakushi nabbed the UAE Oaks (G3) racing 1,900 meters (about 1 3/16 miles). And now Fierceness has shown abundant talent over 1 1/16 miles in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

But wait, it gets better. The dam of Fierceness is Nonna Bella, a daughter of Stay Thirsty out of Nonna Mia. Stay Thirsty was long-winded enough to win the 1 1/4-mile Travers (G1) and finish second in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont (G1), but speedy enough to cut back in trip and win the one-mile Cigar Mile H. (G1). Nonna Mia finished third in the one-mile Frizette (G1) and previously foaled 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby participant Outwork.

While Stay Thirsty hasn’t set the world on fire at stud, he’s sired several graded stakes winners led by Hopeful (G1), H. Allen Jerkens (G1), and Cigar Mile H. (G1) winner Mind Control. He’s also the sire of Golden Leaf, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Premio Ricardo Ortiz de Zevallos (G1) and 1 1/2-mile Derby Nacional (G1) on dirt in Peru.

A mixture of miler speed and stamina is often the secret to success in the Kentucky Derby, and since the pedigree of Fierceness contains hefty doses of both, he has to be viewed as a major threat to prevail on the first Saturday in May.