Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Simplification

March 8th, 2022

When Simplification rallied to a convincing victory in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, he cemented his credentials as a serious player for the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1).

But does Simplification have the breeding to shine on the first Saturday in May? Certainly his pedigree holds promise overall. But Simplification’s bloodlines aren’t necessarily proven for success in the spring classics.

Let’s kick off our review by analyzing Simplification’s sire, Not This Time, a young stallion who retired to stud in 2017 after winning the Iroquois S. (G3) and placing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Not This Time has since emerged as one of the most promising young sires in the nation, with Del Mar Debutante S. (G1) heroine Princess Noor and Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Epicenter among his best runners to date.

Simplification Pedigree

Storm Cat, 1983
Giant's Causeway, 1997
Mariah's Storm, 1991
Not This Time, 2014
Trippi, 1997
Miss Macy Sue, 2003
Yada Yada, 1996
Simplification, 2019
Ride the Rails, 1991
Candy Ride (ARG), 1999
=Candy Girl (ARG), 1990
Simply Confection, 2012
Saint Ballado, 1989
Ballado's Halo, 1999
Goulash, 1993

The progeny of Not This Time have generally shown promise running long, and their average winning distance of 6.9 furlongs is respectable coming from a stallion early in his career. This isn’t surprising when you consider how Not This Time is a son of Giant’s Causeway, a stamina influence whose progeny win at the remarkable average distance of 8.1 furlongs.

Giant’s Causeway led the North American sire rankings on three occasions, but he’s surprisingly never sired a classic winner. In the Kentucky Derby specifically, Giant’s Causeway’s progeny have gone 0-for-9. Winning the Kentucky Derby requires a blend of speed and stamina (seemingly with an emphasis on speed in recent years), so the stout genetics of Giant’s Causeway haven’t quite meshed with the Run for the Roses.

A similar quandary can be found in the bottom half of Simplification’s pedigree. His dam, Rags to Riches S. runner-up Simply Confection, is a daughter of the versatile stallion Candy Ride, who progeny have excelled over a wide variety of distances and surfaces. Chief among them are champions Gun Runner, Shared Belief, and Game Winner, all Grade 1 winners running long on dirt.

Candy Ride was a brilliant miler capable of carrying his speed over 1 1/4 miles, and his progeny tend to inherit a similar blend of speed and stamina. But like Giant’s Causeway, Candy Ride has yet to sire a classic winner despite having many opportunities to do so.

Now, there are some bright sides here. Not This Time was produced by the graded stakes-winning sprinter Miss Macy Sue, previously the dam of Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Liam’s Map, so Not This Time is eligible to pass on a bit more speed than Giant’s Causeway. And Candy Ride is developing a promising record as a broodmare sire, with Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up Search Results among the best horses foaled by Candy Ride’s daughters.

But historically speaking, the bloodlines of Simplification haven’t been known for producing classic winners, which means Simplification will have to break new ground if he’s going to add the Kentucky Derby to his growing resume.