Pedigree profile: Imagination

March 4th, 2024

A tenacious victory in the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita has stamped Imagination as a talented three-year-old worth following.

Purchased for $1.05 million as a yearling, Imagination has plenty of speed and led for much of the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe. But his pedigree suggests he’ll carry his speed over distances up to 1 1/4 miles, making races like the Preakness (G1), Haskell (G1), and Travers (G1) viable targets for the bay colt.

Imagination is a son of five-time leading North American sire Into Mischief, a sprinter/miler widely known for passing on speed at stud. Some of his most accomplished runners include Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) winners Gamine and Covfefe and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) heroes Life Is Good and Goldencents.

But Into Mischief is also the sire of two 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby (G1) winners: Authentic (2020) and Mandaloun (2021). Authentic reiterated his prowess over 1 1/4 miles by defeating older rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), in the process locking up Horse of the Year honors. It seems Into Mischief is capable of siring top-tier route racers under the right circumstances.

In the case of Mandaloun, he likely inherited stamina from his dam, Brooch, a daughter of long-winded 1 1/2-mile Belmont (G1) winner Empire Maker. Sons of Empire Maker include Kentucky Derby runners-up Pioneerof the Nile and Bodemeister, who have respectively sired Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. Clearly classic stamina flows through the veins of Empire Maker and his descendants.

That’s good news for Imagination, because his dam—Magical Feeling—is likewise a daughter of Empire Maker. Magical Feeling herself was best as a sprinter, winning the seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie H. (G2) and placing third in the seven-furlong Humana Distaff (G1), but her foals have proven considerably stouter. Imagination’s full-sister Occult dominated the 1 1/16-mile Monmouth Oaks (G1) and placed in a couple of Grade 1 races over distances from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles, while half-siblings to Imagination include one-mile and 70-yard She’s All In S. winner Magical and Oaklawn Mile S. hero Exulting.

Even Magical Feeling’s less accomplished foals have done well running long. Icon and Times Square both won multiple races over one mile or farther, with Times Square dominating a 1 1/4-mile maiden special weight at Turfway Park. Her own speed notwithstanding, Magical Feeling has consistently passed on Empire Maker’s stamina.

In short, the pedigree of Imagination is packed with classic influences, and a strong season may be on the horizon.