Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Rock Your World

April 4th, 2021

Turf or dirt, it doesn’t seem to matter to Rock Your World. The undefeated colt won his first two starts on grass before emerging as a Kentucky Derby (G1) contender with a resounding victory in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on dirt.

Rock Your World’s multi-surface versatility isn’t surprising when you analyze his pedigree. Certainly there are many turf influences in the mix, but they are balanced by an equal number of dirt influences, and it’s not a stretch to believe Rock Your World might eventually wind up a Grade 1 winner on both surfaces.

The most obvious source of Rock Your World’s versatility is his sire, Candy Ride—himself a Grade 1 winner on both dirt and turf. Undefeated in six starts, Candy Ride was a sensation in his native Argentina, most notably dominating the Gran Premio Joaquin S. de Anchorena (G1) in the stunning time of 1:31.01 for the metric mile on turf. But against all odds, Candy Ride was equally spectacular on dirt in the U.S., winning Del Mar’s 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic (G1) in the track-record time of 1:59.11.

At stud, Candy Ride has sired a bevy of major winners across all surfaces. Horse of the Year Gun Runner and champion two-year-olds Shared Belief and Game Winner rank among Candy Ride’s numerous Grade 1 winners on dirt. But Shared Belief also won the Pacific Classic (G1) on synthetic, joining Santa Anita H. (G1) winner Misremembered and Santa Anita Derby hero Sidney’s Candy among Candy Ride’s top-level winners on artificial going. Throw in Manhattan (G1) winner Ascend and Canadian classic winner Desert Ride as elite turf stars, and it’s clear the Candy Rides have no limit as far as surface preferences are concerned.

The bottom half of Rock Your World’s pedigree is just as balanced in terms of dirt and turf breeding. Consider his dam, Charm the Maker, and the many counterbalancing influences she brings to the table:

  • Charm the Maker placed third in the Oak Leaf (G1) on dirt, second in the Hollywood Starlet (G1) on synthetic, and third in the Autumn Miss (G3) on turf.
  • Charm the Maker’s first foal, She’s Our Charm, placed third by less than a length in the Robert J. Frankel (G3) on turf. She’s Our Charm is actually a full sister to Rock Your World.
  • Charm the Maker’s sire is Belmont (G1) winner Empire Maker, a source of stamina responsible for Grade 1 winners on dirt (Royal Delta, Pioneerof the Nile, Bodemeister, etc.), turf (Emollient), and synthetic (Acoma, Country Star, Mushka, etc.). Acoma and Mushka, in fact, won graded stakes on all three surfaces.
  • Charm the Maker was produced by Charm the Giant, whose previous foals include John Henry Turf Championship (G2) winner Liam the Charmer and the two-time turf winner Odysseus.
  • Charm the Giant, in turn, is a daughter of international turf star Giant’s Causeway out of the multiple Grade 2-winning dirt star Olympic Charmer. Giant’s Causeway was versatile, finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on dirt, and his progeny have won a seemingly endless number of Grade 1 races on both dirt and turf.

The other important takeaway from Rock Your World’s pedigree is the combination of speed and stamina laced within. Candy Ride is the definition of a brilliant miler who could carry his speed 1 1/4 miles, and his progeny have demonstrated similar abilities, with Gun Runner, Shared Belief, Misremembered, Ascend, and Desert Ride all winning major races over the Kentucky Derby distance.

Meanwhile, Empire Maker and Giant’s Causeway are strong stamina influences. Empire Maker in particular warrants attention as the sire of Kentucky Derby runners-up Pioneerof the Nile and Bodemeister, respectively the sires of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. In addition, Empire Maker ranks as the damsire of 1 1/2-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) winner Arklow, 1 1/8-mile Spinster (G1) winner Valiance, 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (G1) winner Outwork, and 1 1/8-mile Risen Star (G2) winner Mandaloun, to name just a few.

With all of these pedigree factors in play, it’s really not a stretch to conclude Rock Your World has the pedigree to thrive over almost any surface and two-turn distance. Racing 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May might be made to order for the exciting dark bay colt.