Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Uncle Heavy

February 5th, 2024

A decade after Social Inclusion set the world abuzz as a possible Kentucky Derby (G1) contender, his son Uncle Heavy is embarking down the same path.

Social Inclusion was the talk of the town after opening his career with back-to-back victories at Gulfstream Park, most notably defeating future champion Honor Code by 10 lengths in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Gulfstream Park. His final time of 1:40.97 set a track record that still stands.

Social Inclusion’s Derby dreams were dashed following a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial (G1), though he regained some luster when rerouted to the Preakness (G1), where he finished third and achieved a classic placing. At stud, his progeny have won at the modest average distance of 6.9 furlongs, with the multiple stakes-winning sprinters Gordian Knot and Flor de Sombra ranking among the most accomplished.

But Uncle Heavy is developing in a different direction. While he won his debut sprinting six furlongs at Parx, the bay colt has thrived since stretching out around two turns, rallying to win the one-mile and 70-yard Wait For It S. at Parx before joining the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a stretch-running score in the 1 1/8-mile Withers S. (G3) at Aqueduct.

From a pedigree perspective, Social Inclusion has always had the ability to sire long-winded horses. Social Inclusion is a son of Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile (the sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah) out of Saint Bernadette, placed in the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Breeders’ Cup Oaks (G2) and a daughter of 1 1/8-mile Arlington Classic (G2) hero Saint Ballado. The latter is best known for siring champions Ashado and Saint Liam, tried-and-true route racers who respectively won the 1 1/8-mile Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Uncle Heavy has likely inherited stamina from his dam as well. He’s the second foal produced by Expect Wonderful, who scored her lone victory in a maiden claimer sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Laurel Park. That might be indicative of speed at first glance, but Expect Wonderful is a daughter of Tiz Wonderful, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and one-mile Iroquois (G3).

Tiz Wonderful, in turn, is a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow. Daughters of Tiz Wonderful have foaled not only Uncle Heavy, but also 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Wonder Wheel and 1 1/16-mile Jessamine (G2) heroine California Angel. Prior to Uncle Heavy, Expect Wonderful foaled Roan Burgundy, who has won running as far as 1 1/16 miles.

In short, there’s enough stamina dotted throughout the pedigree of Uncle Heavy to explain his prowess over 1 1/8 miles, and to offer potential for success over the Kentucky Derby’s testing 1 1/4-mile journey.