Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Hush of a Storm

February 28th, 2021

We know Hush of a Storm handles Tapeta just fine—he’s excelled over the synthetic footing at Turfway Park, most notably rallying to victory in the John Battaglia Memorial on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

But can Hush of a Storm handle the transition to dirt for the Kentucky Derby (G1)? The answer is unclear. Hush of a Storm finished eighth in his sprint debut over the Churchill Downs main track last fall, but he’s clearly improved in the interim. Just as importantly, his pedigree suggests the surface switch won’t be an issue.

For starters, Hush of a Storm is a son of Creative Cause, an alumnus from the 2012 Kentucky Derby. Although Creative Cause could only finish fifth under the Twin Spires, he never failed to crack the trifecta in his other nine starts. On dirt, he won the Norfolk (G1) and placed in the Preakness (G1), Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and Santa Anita Derby (G1); on synthetic, he recorded a runner-up effort in the Del Mar Futurity (G1).

At stud, Creative Cause has sired major winners across multiple surfaces. Many of done their best work on dirt, including Stephen Foster (G1) winner Pavel and Southwest (G3) winner My Boy Jack. But Significant Form has won multiple graded stakes on grass, and Hush of a Storm has obviously shown an affinity for synthetic.

This versatility is easy to understand when you analyze Creative Cause’s bloodlines. His sire, Giant’s Causeway, was an elite European grass star who handled dirt just fine when narrowly beaten in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). A three-time leading sire, Giant’s Causeway has sired classy dirt, turf, and synthetic stars alike, including Belmont (G1) runner-up Destin and the versatile Personal Ensign (G1) winner Vexatious, a graded stakes winner on both dirt and turf.

Notably, Destin and Vexatious are full siblings to Creative Cause produced by the Siberian Summer mare Dream of Summer, who counted the Apple Blossom H. (G1) among her four graded stakes wins on dirt. Any way you slice it, Hush of a Storm has plenty of stamina-oriented dirt breeding in the top half of his pedigree.

The same can be said for Hush of a Storm’s female family. His dam, the maiden claiming winner Hush Now, is a daughter of the successful stallion Flatter, who counts Belmont winner A.P. Indy and breed-shaping classics sire Mr. Prospector as his sire and dam sire.

Flatter is bred top and bottom to excel running two turns on dirt, and many of his best foals have done exactly that, including champion three-year-old West Coast and two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Flat Out. But there’s also a bit of speed in Flatter’s genetic makeup—his progeny win at an average distance of just 6.9 furlongs, with Grade 1-winning sprinters Taris and Paola Queen ranking among the speediest of Flatter’s elite runners.

Until Hush of a Storm actually plies his trade on dirt again, we can’t say with 100% certainty that he’ll handle the surface. But at least his pedigree provides a meaningful reason for confidence.