Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Happy Jack

April 21st, 2022

With third-place finishes in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and San Felipe S. (G2) under his belt, Happy Jack has qualified to the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1). He’ll be a longshot on the first Saturday in May, but from a pedigree perspective, there’s little to dislike about his chances.

Happy Jack is a son of Oxbow, who matured early enough to win the Lecomte S. (G3) and place second in the Rebel S. (G2) on the Road to the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Chasing a blazing pace compromised Oxbow’s chances at Churchill Downs, but he held on best of the speed horses to finish sixth. He subsequently demonstrated his class with a victory in the Preakness S. (G1) and a runner-up effort in the Belmont S. (G1).

At stud, Oxbow has produced a handful of two-turn graded stakes stars, led by Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner Hot Rod Charlie. The latter emulated his sire with a runner-up effort in the Belmont and also crossed the wire third in the Kentucky Derby, proving Oxbow can sire classics-caliber colts.

Happy Jack’s dam, Tapitstry, failed to win in seven starts against maiden special weight company, but she showed versatility while cracking the trifecta six times over a variety of distances on dirt, turf, and synthetic. Her first three starters as a broodmare have been more productive; in addition to Happy Jack, Chest Candy has won a bevy of allowance and claiming races on both dirt and turf, while Toe Tappin Luke (a full brother to Happy Jack) has scored multiple victories on dirt.

Tapitstry, in turn, is a daughter of three-time leading North American sire Tapit out of Chic Sheba, a daughter of Kentucky Derby and Preakness S. (G1) winner Alysheba. Tapit is a respected source of stamina, counting four Belmont winners among his progeny, and his daughters have foaled such noteworthy names as Japanese classic winner Gran Alegria (a six-time Group 1-winning sprinter/miler), Tripoli (victorious in the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 Pacific Classic), and Tenfold (third in the Preakness).

Tapit’s descendants have yet to score a victory in the Kentucky Derby (his own sons are 0-for-12 in the Run for the Roses), but his position as the dam sire in Happy Jack’s pedigree offers different potential. Oxbow combined excellent tactical speed with classic stamina, so Oxbow’s speedier profile is eligible to blend with the stout breeding of Tapit to produce an ideal Kentucky Derby pedigree.

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