Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Locked

March 18th, 2024

After overcoming a wide trip to win the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), Locked ranks among the early favorites for the 2024 Kentucky Derby (G1).

His popularity stems not only from his obvious talent, but from his classy pedigree. Any way you slice it, Locked is bred to shine over the Derby’s 1 1/4-mile distance.

Locked is a son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner, a six-time Grade 1 winner over distances from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/4 miles. Third in the 2016 Kentucky Derby, Gun Runner has emerged as one of the most successful young stallions in North America, with 2022 Preakness (G1) winner Early Voting and 2021 champion two-year-old filly Echo Zulu among his most successful runners.

Gun Runner is siring top-notch sprinters and route racers alike, so it’s clear he’s capable of passing on speed as well as stamina. That’s a good sign for Locked, because a mixture of speed and stamina is often the secret to success in the Kentucky Derby.

Additional mixes of speed and stamina can be found in the bottom half of Locked’s pedigree. His dam is Luna Rosa, who scored her lone victory on turf in a one-mile maiden special weight. Her first foal, Mega Moon, more or less emulated his dam as a grass miler when breaking his maiden in a $62,500 maiden claimer racing 1 1/16 miles over the Del Mar turf.

These turf influences are likely coming from Luna Rosa’s dam, the British-bred mare Gabriellina Giof, whose grass exploits on the California circuit included a win in the 5 1/2-furlong Manhattan Beach S. and a runner-up finish in the one-mile San Clemente H. (G2).

But Luna Rosa’s sire is Malibu Moon, best known for siring 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb. Orb was obviously best running long on dirt, a trait he shares with fellow Malibu Moon progeny like Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Magnum Moon, Santa Anita Derby (G1) hero Gormley, Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) winner Devil May Care, and Beldame (G1) winner Life At Ten, all Grade 1 winners racing 1 1/8 miles.

However, Malibu Moon has also sired speedy sprinter/milers on dirt such as one-mile Acorn (G1) heroine Carina Mia, two-time six-furlong Bing Crosby (G1) winner Ransom the Moon, and seven-furlong Del Mar Debutante (G1) and 1 1/16-mile Chandelier (G1) winner Moonshine Memories.

The same tendencies can be seen in Malibu Moon’s record as a broodmare sire. His daughters have foaled talented dirt runners over a wide variety of distances. Standout route racers include 1 3/16-mile Preakness (G1) runner-up Midnight Bourbon, champion three-year-old filly Stellar Wind, and 1 1/8-mile Haskell (G1) winner Girvin, while elite sprinter/milers include multiple Grade 1 winners Bellafina and By the Moon.

When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, you don’t want a horse with speed but no stamina. Nor do you want a horse with stamina but no speed. Locked’s pedigree contains strong doses of both, setting the stage for success on the first Saturday in May.