Pedigree profile: Cave Rock

October 10th, 2022

Speed is the greatest weapon a racehorse can possess. Stamina is equally dangerous as distances get longer. Combine speed with stamina, and you have the makings of an elite racehorse.

Clearly Cave Rock has both speed and stamina in abundance. In the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity (G1), he led all the way through blazing fractions of :21.56 and :43.65 to dominate by 5 1/4 lengths in the stakes-record time of 1:20.99. Then Cave Rock showcased his stamina over 1 1/16 miles in the American Pharoah S. (G1), recording an identical margin of victory in the fast time of 1:43.05.

The raw speed Cave Rock displayed in the Del Mar Futurity might prompt some horseplayers to peg him as a sprinter/miler more than a Triple Crown type. But Cave Rock’s pedigree suggests distances up to 1 1/4 miles (and perhaps farther) are within his wheelhouse.

Cave Rock is a son of champion Arrogate, a remarkably talented and long-winded runner who rattled off consecutive victories in the Travers S. (G1), Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Pegasus World Cup (G1), and Dubai World Cup (G1). A standout racing 1 1/4 miles, Arrogate sadly died in 2020 at the age of seven, leaving behind an all-too-few number of foals from his brief stud career.

It’s becoming clear the loss of Arrogate was a blow to the Thoroughbred breed. His first crop of foals produced Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Secret Oath, while his second crop includes Cave Rock and the talented filly And Tell Me Nolies, victorious in the Del Mar Debutante S. (G1) and Chandelier S. (G2).

So far, Secret Oath, And Tell Me Nolies, and Cave Rock have all done their best work racing 1 1/8 miles or shorter. But Secret Oath managed a runner-up effort in the Alabama S. (G1) racing 1 1/4 miles, and there’s no reason to think Arrogate is incapable of siring a major winner over classic distances. His runners have been winning at an average distance of 7.6 furlongs, a lofty number typically seen from stallions who pass on strong doses of stamina.

As for the bottom half of Cave Rock’s pedigree, his dam is Georgie’s Angel, a speedy and early-maturing filly who scored her signature victory in the Schuylerville S. (G3) sprinting six furlongs as a juvenile. It’s tempting to peg Georgie’s Angel as a source of speed, but that might be too simplistic.

True, Georgie’s Angel’s first four foals (Lodestar, Rue de l’Ange, Take Charge Angel, and Frosted Angel) have all proved best as sprinters. But Georgie’s Angel is a daughter of Bellamy Road, a spectacular winner of the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (G1) and runner-up in the Travers.

At stud, Bellamy Road proved to be a decent source of stamina, with his progeny prevailing at an average distance of 7.2 furlongs. His best runner was Diversify, a speedster who stretched out to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and Suburban S. (G2) racing 1 1/4 miles. Bellamy Road also sired 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (G1) winner Toby’s Corner and 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up Land Over Sea.

It's also worth noting Georgie's Angel's broodmare sire is Dynaformer, a renowned source of stamina best known for siring 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.

Combining Arrogate, Bellamy Road, and Dynaformer into one pedigree sounds like a recipe for success over classic distances. The talent Cave Rock has displayed over shorter trips may be the tip of the iceberg for his potential running 1 3/16 miles, 1 1/4 miles, and beyond.