Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: King Fury

April 12th, 2021

There’s a reason why stretch-running Lexington S. (G3) winner King Fury sold for $950,000 as a yearling: the up-and-coming colt boasts an elite pedigree unquestionably geared toward success in the spring classics.

This might sound like a bold statement, but the evidence supports it. King Fury’s bloodlines represent a blend of speed and stamina coupled with a license to mature during the spring of his sophomore season, which is exactly the recipe for success in the Kentucky Derby.

King Fury’s sire, Curlin, needs no introduction. Winner of seven Grade 1 races and more than $10.5 million across two Horse of the Year campaigns, Curlin relished classic distances, recording five of his top-level victories between 1 3/16 miles and 1 1/4 miles. Although Curlin peaked as an older horse, he also matured early enough to win the Preakness (G1), place second in the Belmont (G1), and rally for third in the Kentucky Derby.

At stud, Curlin has acquired a reputation as a sire of long-winded dirt stars. Preakness winner Exaggerator and Belmont hero Palace Malice lead the charge, along with champions Vino Rosso and Stellar Wind plus Curlin’s classic-placed sons Good Magic, Keen Ice, Tenfold, Ride on Curlin, and Irish War Cry. And already in 2021, Curlin is responsible for 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita H. (G1) winner Idol, 1 1/8-mile Ashland (G1) winner Malathaat, and 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby (G1) winner Known Agenda, with the latter looming alongside King Fury as a contender for the Kentucky Derby.

Curlin alone is reason to believe King Fury can excel in the spring classics, but the bottom half of King Fury’s pedigree is just as exciting. King Fury is the only foal produced by Taris, a mare fast enough to win the Humana Distaff (G1) sprinting seven furlongs, yet stout enough to beat Grade 1 winner Birdatthewire by daylight in the 1 1/16-mile La Canada (G2).

Taris, in turn, is a daughter of Flatter, the sire of champion three-year-old male West Coast and two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner Flat Out—both top-level winners over 1 1/4 miles. But despite the fact Flatter is a son of Belmont winner and renowned stamina influence A.P. Indy, Flatter has also proven capable of siring high-class sprinters, as evidenced by the versatility of Taris.

Speaking of Taris, she was produced by the Theatrical mare Comedy. While Comedy is best known for foaling sprinters and milers, including Taris’ stakes-winning full brother Stoweshoe, she herself is a daughter of the long-winded Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Theatrical, a champion grass horse known as a source of stamina. His descendants as a broodmare sire include fellow Breeders’ Cup Turf winner English Channel and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) hero Rail Link.

The takeaway? It’s difficult, and perhaps impossible, to knock King Fury’s pedigree from a Kentucky Derby standpoint. Only time will tell if the improving youngster has the class to prevail on the first Saturday in May, but if he comes up short, you won’t find anyone blaming his ancestry.