Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Summer Is Tomorrow

April 21st, 2022

It’s been fascinating to watch Summer Is Tomorrow develop into an accomplished dirt horse. A runner-up effort in the UAE Derby (G2) qualified the bay colt to compete in the Kentucky Derby (G1), even though his pedigree is geared strongly toward success on turf.

The grass influences begin with Summer Is Tomorrow’s sire, the capable turf miler Summer Front. Victorious in seven grass stakes between the ages of two and five, Summer Front never quite managed to win at the Grade 1 level, though he did finish second in a trio of top-level prizes.

Summer Front, in turn, is a son of elite stallion War Front. While War Front was best as a dirt sprinter, his progeny have largely excelled on grass. Declaration of War, Lancaster Bomber, U S Navy Flag, Air Force Blue, and Brave Anna have all achieved high-level success over a wide variety of distances in Europe, though War Front’s U.S. campaigners include such notable dirt stars as Preakness S. (G1) hero War of Will (also a Grade 1 winner on turf) and three-time Grade 1 winner Omaha Beach.

Meanwhile, Summer Is Tomorrow’s dam is the Badge of Silver mare Always Tomorrow. While Always Tomorrow scored her lone victory on dirt, Badge of Silver ran some of his best races on turf, winning the 1 1/8-mile San Gabriel H. (G2) and placing third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). His progeny have followed suit, with runners like Silver Max, Bigger Picture, and Silver Medallion winning multiple graded stakes on grass.

So where is Summer Is Tomorrow’s dirt talent coming from? Well, there are a few possible sources. While Summer Front has sired a number of stakes-winning turf horses, his most accomplished runner to date is Ete Indien, winner of the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) and third in the Florida Derby (G1) on dirt. And as talented as Badge of Silver was on turf, he achieved even more on dirt, winning a trio of graded stakes while placing second in multiple editions of the Cigar Mile H. (G1).

Taking these facts into consideration, it’s clear Summer Is Tomorrow’s pedigree isn’t quite as turf-oriented as it appears at first glance, and there’s ample explanation for his success on dirt. The bigger concern is the fact Summer Front and Badge of Silver were both at their best racing one mile to 1 1/8 miles, suggesting the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby might be a furlong or two beyond Summer Is Tomorrow’s ideal distance.

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