Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Skinner

April 24th, 2023

Rallying third-place finishes in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and San Felipe (G2) have stamped Skinner as a talented racehorse with the credentials to compete in the Kentucky Derby (G1). And if his pedigree is any indication, racing 1 1/4 miles at Churchill Downs may bring about a career-best performance from the bay colt.

Skinner Pedigree
Smart Strike
Sherriff's Deputy
Malibu Moon
Winding Way
More Than Pretty

Skinner is a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, whose Triple Crown exploits included a win in the Preakness (G1), a second in the Belmont (G1), and a third in the Kentucky Derby. At stud, Curlin has proven to be a remarkable source of classic stamina, siring Preakness winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator, Belmont hero Palace Malice, and the classic-placed colts Good Magic, Keen Ice, Irish War Cry, Ride On Curlin, and Tenfold.

That’s an impressive roster, and it doesn’t even mention Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Vino Rosso, Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Malathaat, six-time Grade 1 winner Stellar Wind, and three-time Grade 1 winner Nest, all champions thanks to their successes running long on dirt.

Stellar Wind was produced by the Malibu Moon mare Evening Star, and that Curlin/Malibu Moon cross has been recreated with Skinner. Skinner’s dam is Winding Way, a Malibu Moon mare sufficiently fast to win the 6 1/2-furlong Rancho Bernardo H. (G3) and place second in two other Grade 3 stakes.

Winding Way was at her best competing on turf and synthetic, but her three winning foals (Skinner, Vicarage, and My Bronx Tail) have performed best on dirt. That isn’t surprising since Malibu Moon is a dirt influence best known for siring 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb. As a broodmare sire, Malibu Moon’s most accomplished runners include the above-mentioned Stellar Wind, Preakness runner-up Midnight Bourbon, and Haskell (G1) hero Girvin, as well as the multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter/milers By the Moon and Bellafina.

Orb notwithstanding, the descendants of Malibu Moon have tended to excel racing 1 1/8 miles or less, with champion two-year-old male Declan’s Moon, Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Magnum Moon, Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Gormley, Acorn (G1) heroine Carina Mia, and the multiple Grade 1 winners Life At Ten, Devil May Care, and Moonshine Memories scoring their signature victories in shorter routes. All told, the progeny of Malibu Moon win at an average distance of 7.1 furlongs, half a furlong lower than Curlin’s 7.6 rating.

That might be good news for Skinner, because a combination of speed and stamina is often the key to winning the Kentucky Derby. Crossing the abundant stamina of Curlin with the speedier genetics of Malibu Moon (through the talented sprinter Winding Way) figures to give Skinner a shot at success on the first Saturday in May.