Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Jack Christopher

October 5th, 2021

With a 2 3/4-length victory in the Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont Park, Jack Christopher was one of the first horses to strike on the 2021-2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby. But whether his success on the prep trail can translate to victory in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby (G1) is a key question handicappers must consider.

Speed is Jack Christopher’s greatest weapon, which isn’t surprising, since his pedigree contains abundant speed.

Let’s start with Jack Christopher’s sire, Munnings. A son of champion sprinter Speightstown, Munnings was a speedster, who recorded three graded wins at seven furlongs, including a 5 1/4-length romp in the Woody Stephens S. (G2).

Munnings wasn’t exclusively a sprinter. He finished second in the one-mile Champagne S. (G1) and third in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell S. (G1). Ha has also passed on more than pure speed at stud, with 1 1/4-mile Delaware H. (G1) winner I’m a Chatterbox and 1 1/4-mile Alabama S. (G1) runner-up Bonny South among his more long-winded progeny.

But Munnings definitely sires more sprinters and milers than route runners, as indicated by the average winning distance of his progeny, just 6.4 furlongs. And whereas I’m a Chatterbox and Bonny South were produced by daughters of the graded stakes-winning routers Lost Soldier and Tapit, Jack Christopher hails from a female family that is all about speed.

Jack Christopher’s dam, Rushin No Blushin, is a daughter of Half Ours, a stakes-winning juvenile who matured well enough to win the seven-furlong Richter Scale Sprint Championship H. (G2) at age four. At stud, Half Ours’ standout performer is Gentlemen’s Bet, a three-time stakes-winning sprinter fast enough to finish third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1).

Deeper in Jack Christopher’s female family is Blushing Ogygian, the dam of Rushin No Blushin. A stakes-placed sprinter, Blushing Ogygian is best known for producing Street Boss, a multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter who finished third in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

As a stallion, Street Boss has compiled a résumé comparable to Munnings. A few of his runners have excelled running long, including Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Danza and 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Cathryn Sophia. But high-class sprinters are also common across Street Boss’ stud record, and the average winning distance of his foals stands at just 6.6 furlongs.

Jack Christopher has the pedigree of an elite sprinter or miler, which came through quite clearly with his impressive Champagne triumph. But 1 1/4 miles is a different ballgame, and from a pedigree perspective, the distance of the Kentucky Derby has to be viewed as a question mark.