Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Zozos

April 20th, 2022

Speed, speed, speed. It’s no wonder why Zozos employed pacesetting tactics to finish second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and qualify for the Kentucky Derby (G1). His pedigree is full of fast horses and speed influences.

Zozos is a son of Munnings, a three-time Grade 2-winning sprinter who also placed six times at the Grade 1 level over distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. While not a speed-crazy frontrunner, Munnings was definitely at his best over shorter trips, a tendency possibly inherited from his sire, champion sprinter Speightstown.

At stud, Munnings has consistently passed on his speed. That’s not to say he’s never sired a capable route runner; I’m a Chatterbox won the 1 1/4-mile Delaware H. (G1) and finished second in the 1 1/4-mile Alabama S. (G1). But sprinters and milers have been far more common among Munnings progeny, as indicated by their speed-oriented average winning distance of 6.4 furlongs.

The bottom half of Zosos’ pedigree is similarly speedy. Dam Papa’s Forest achieved all nine of her victories over distances from 5 1/2 furlongs to one mile, which is not unlike the racing profile presented by her sire, Forestry. While Forestry won the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer S. (G2) and placed in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell H. (G1), he achieved his signature victory in the seven-furlong King’s Bishop S. (G1).

At stud, Forestry has sired graded stakes winners over a variety of distances and surfaces, and son Shackleford even won the 1 3/16-mile Preakness S. (G1). But the average winning distance of Forestry’s progeny is only 6.3 furlongs, indicating he’s a source of sprinting speed more than classic stamina.

On the bright side, Forestry’s daughters have produced some elite-level route runners, including Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and 1 1/4-mile Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Country Grammer. But Nyquist is a son of Uncle Mo (who consistently passes on stamina), and Country Grammer was sired by long-winded Belmont S. (G1) winner Tonalist. When Forestry’s daughters are bred to speedier stallions, they’re more inclined to foal horses like Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) hero Bobby’s Kitten, Grade 1-winning sprinter/miler Turbulent Descent, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Rushing Fall.

In short, there’s a remarkable amount of speed in Zozos’ pedigree. He has arguably already outrun his bloodlines by finishing second in the Louisiana Derby over 1 3/16 miles. But stretching out over 1 1/4 miles against tougher competition in the Kentucky Derby is bound to be Zozos’ most difficult task to date.

Check out these other Kentucky Derby pedigree profiles
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