Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Wild On Ice

March 28th, 2023

An upset victory in the Sunland Park Derby (G3) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby propelled Wild On Ice into the spotlight. The previously unheralded gelding has a chance to become the third Texas-bred Kentucky Derby (G1) winner following Triple Crown winner Assault (1946) and Middleground (1950).

But don’t let the Texas-bred designation fool you; Wild On Ice is bred much like the Kentucky colts who win the Derby more often than not. He’s a son of Tapizar, a Kentucky-bred runner who capped off a productive career with an upset victory in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

Tapizar sadly died at the young age of 12, but first he made a mark at stud as the sire of Monomoy Girl. The two-time Eclipse Award winner nabbed 14 of her 17 starts, including the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Monomoy Girl was at her best running long on dirt, but true route racers are a bit uncommon among the progeny of Tapizar. Even though Tapizar is a son of three-time leading North American sire Tapit, who counts four winners of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont (G1) among his progeny, Tapizar is a source of speed whose progeny win at an average distance of 6.7 furlongs.

The bottom half of Wild On Ice’s pedigree paints a similar picture. Dam Slamitagain was a pure sprinter whose three victories came over distances from five to seven furlongs. Her first two foals are Grand American (a maiden claiming winner sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs) and Unique Babe (who achieved two of her three victories sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs or less).

Slamitagain, in turn, is a daughter of Grand Slam, who did his best work racing around one turn, with victories in the 1 1/16-mile Champagne (G1) and one-mile Futurity (G1) plus a runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). At stud, Grand Slam’s progeny compiled a speed-oriented average winning distance of 6.6 furlongs, with some of the best including Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat and Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up The Lumber Guy.

Daughters of Grand Slam aren’t incapable of producing classy route racers, with horses like Mattese Diosa and Tiz a Slam winning group and graded stakes over 1 1/4 miles or farther. But Grand Slam’s daughters are better known for foaling speedsters like Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Spun to Run and the two-time Group 1-winning British miler Toronado.

In short, Wild On Ice’s pedigree suggests the 1 1/8-mile trip of the Sunland Park Derby is at the upper range of his distance capabilities. Stretching out over 1 1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby is a question mark, though as Wild On Ice demonstrated in the Sunland Park Derby, he doesn’t mind defying the odds.