Pedigree notebook: More ‘Mischief' as Practical Joke turns stakes triple

March 7th, 2023

There’s a lot of pedigree coverage for contenders on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail, but what about all the other divisions in Thoroughbred racing? This is a space to highlight a wider range of pedigree musings.

Stakes triple for Practical Joke

Practical Move’s convincing victory in the San Felipe (G2) alone would have been an advertisement for young sire Practical Joke, who now has a proper Kentucky Derby contender to his credit.

But Practical Joke also scored a stakes double at Aqueduct earlier on Saturday. His four-year-old colt Little Vic, from his first crop, earned a graded breakthrough in the Tom Fool H. (G3), and unbeaten filly Shidabhuti jumped into the Kentucky Oaks (G1) picture in the Busher S.

Shidabhuti has a Chocolate Gelato flavor

Shidabhuti is bred on the same cross as Practical Joke’s Frizette (G1) winner Chocolate Gelato, who also would have been on the 2023 Oaks trail if she hadn’t been sidelined. Both Chocolate Gelato and Shidabhuti are out of Candy Ride mares. Because Practical Joke is a scion of the Storm Cat sire line, they’re the mirror image of the Candy Ride-Storm Cat cross discussed in last week’s Pedigree Notebook.

Moreover, the dams of Shidabhuti and Chocolate Gelato also have A.P. Indy as a prominent factor in their own maternal ancestry. A.P. Indy doesn’t turn up in Practical Move’s dam, but another son of Seattle Slew does — General Meeting.

Emphasis on 'Reason'

Practical Move’s pedigree is covered by J. Keeler Johnson in his series of Derby profiles, so I’ll just note an interesting echo with Little Vic. Their dams sport a similar pattern of inbreeding.

Little Vic’s dam, Rock and Glory, has a duplication of champion and influential sire Hail to Reason, through his principal sons Roberto and Halo. Rock and Glory’s sire, Rock Hard Ten, hails from Roberto’s male line, and her dam is by Southern Halo.

Practical Move’s dam, Ack Naughty, has two crosses of Roberto. Her sire, champion Afleet Alex, is out of a mare from the Roberto sire line. Ack Naughty has Roberto’s son Lear Fan in her maternal ancestry.

That’s an angle worth watching, as Practical Joke himself doubles up on Halo. His two crosses appear further back, in the fifth generation.

Mischief-making dynasty

Practical Joke is following through on the attractive profile he brought upon retirement to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in 2018. By Into Mischief, who’s since become the perennial leading sire, Practical Joke was a star two-year-old who continued to perform at the highest level at three. He’s bred along similar lines to Into Mischief’s first major son at stud, Goldencents, whose success might have been a harbinger.

Goldencents and Practical Joke are both out of Forty Niner-line mares. But Practical Joke’s dam is by the influential Distorted Humor, while Goldencents’s dam is by the less memorable Banker’s Gold.

In a curious twist, both have a connection to 1983 Kentucky Derby winner Sunny’s Halo, who doesn’t pop up too often. Practical Joke’s great-granddam (third dam) in the female line is by Sunny’s Halo, while Goldencents descends from the same ancestress as Sunny’s Halo.

Into Mischief is just warming up in the sire-of-sires category, with a number of high-profile sons eligible to make a dynasty. Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby (G1) hero and third in Justify’s Kentucky Derby, will have his first runners this year, as will Maximus Mischief, the 2018 Remsen (G2) winner.

Authentic, who clinched 2020 Horse of the Year honors by landing the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and juvenile sensation Instagrand will send out their first-crop yearlings to the sales. Among the Into Mischiefs just entering stud this season are $4.5 million-earner Life Is Good (himself out of a Distorted Humor mare) and promoted 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun.