Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: High Definition

October 3rd, 2020

At first glance, it seems as though High Definition should be a viable contender for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. He joined the European Road to the Kentucky Derby with an impressive late-running triumph in the Beresford (G2) at the Curragh in Ireland, and trainer Aidan O’Brien has already saddled half a dozen European shippers in the Run for the Roses.

High Definition Pedigree
Sadler's Wells
Urban Sea
High Definition
Fastnet Rock
Lady Icarus

But High Definition’s pedigree is a cause for pause. One would be hard-pressed to find a single dirt influence in the breeding of this talented turf runner, suggesting a surface switch for the Kentucky Derby is unlikely.

High Definition’s sire, Galileo, needs no introduction. An elite stallion arguably equal to any in history, Galileo has sired more Group 1 winners than any stallion in the record books, including six winners of the historic Epsom Derby (G1).

Galileo’s progeny are versatile when it comes to distance preferences. Many have shown high-class miler speed (including the undefeated superstar Frankel), even though Galileo himself was an Epsom Derby winner who thrived running 1 1/4 miles or farther. But dirt runners have been few and far between among Galileo foals, which isn’t surprising since Galileo himself showed a disdain for the surface when finishing sixth in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

The bottom half of dam Palace’s pedigree is geared in a similar direction. Palace was a listed stakes winner on turf, and her previous foals include 2019 Beresford winner Innisfree, a full brother to High Definition. Palace, in turn, is a daughter of Fastnet Rock, a multiple Group 1-winning turf sprinter in Australia.

Fastnet Rock has proven to be a rousing success at stud, siring dozens of Group 1 winners. But just like Galileo, Fastnet Rock’s foals have thrived racing on grass in Europe and Australia, raising questions about their suitability for dirt racing. The same tendencies can be seen in Fastnet Rock’s record as a broodmare sire, with multiple Group 1-winning turf sprinter Santa Ana Lane among the best foals produced by Fastnet Rock’s daughters.

According to, O’Brien has indicated High Definition will pursue the European classics next season, with the Epsom Derby surely looming as a long-term goal. Considering his strongly grass-oriented pedigree, this is almost assuredly the best move for High Definition, who has the talent and potential to develop into an elite turf star.