Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Forever Young

December 19th, 2023

A powerful seven-length victory in Japan’s Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki Racecourse has launched Forever Young into the picture as a 2024 Kentucky Derby (G1) contender.

Horses based in Japan have enjoyed abundant international success in recent years. 2022 Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun winner Derma Sotogake used his victory at Kawasaki as a springboard to a 2023 campaign highlighted by a win in the UAE Derby (G2), a sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, and a runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). But Forever Young has the potential to rise even higher.

Forever Young is a son of Real Steel, winner of the 2016 Dubai Turf (G1) racing 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) on turf in Dubai. A son of Japan’s legendary Triple Crown winner Deep Impact, Real Steel was produced by the Storm Cat mare Loves Only Me, which makes Real Steel a full-brother to Yoshito Yahagi’s 2021 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Loves Only You.

Loves Only You won four Group 1 races over distances from 2,000 meters to 2,400 meters (about 1 1/4 miles to 1 1/2 miles). Real Steel was a bit speedier, recording all three of his group stakes wins over 1,800 meters, but it’s worth noting Real Steel stretched his speed to finish second by a neck in the Kikuka Sho (G1) traveling 3,000 meters (about 1 7/8 miles) against the top-notch seven-time Group 1 winner Kitasan Black.

At stud, Real Steel is off to a promising start. He ranked second by progeny earnings among Japan’s first-crop sires of 2022, and he’s already sired 2,200-meter (about 1 3/8-mile) St. Lite Kinen (G2) winner Lenbensstil and 1,600-meter (about one-mile) Daily Hai Nisai (G2) winner All Parfait.