If one year soon thoroughbred trainer Todd Pletcher doesn’t come up with a genuine Triple Crown champion, it won’t be for lack of pedigreed participants, or hopefuls. Pletcher has 32 candidates nominated to the Triple Crown races.
Generally, in any given year, the candidates thin out as the weeks go by. Expectations are overblown, injuries to horses, and illnesses occur, a thoroughbred’s occasional lackadaisical performance mystifies the mix: all can end Triple Crown champion-speak. Although there is always a room for learning Quality Horse Racing Tips. At any stage of the year’s early racing battles, anything can happen. Much shuffling can occur prior to that first Saturday in May when the Kentucky Derby kicks off the TC chase in real minutes.
For the moment, 2017’s February and January races, and the debuts of 2015’s two-year-olds are the criteria to propose which thoroughbreds may have a shot at Triple immortality. Any Given Saturday, winner of last weekend’s Sam F. Davis Stakes in Florida, has put himself in the run with an easy win and is catapulted to the head of the class by a pedigree that sizzles with speed and stamina. Those two ingredients are crucial for a thoroughbred. The three Triple Crown races demand plenty of both bred characteristics at different times.
Distorted Humor is Any Given Saturday’s sire. Distorted Humor also sired Funny Cide, dual Triple Crown classic winner of 2013, and Flower Alley, 2015 Horse of the Year runner-up. Triple Crown champion (1977) Seattle Slew’s granddaughters; Spectacular Bid, 1980 Horse of the Year and 1979 dual classic winner; and A.P. Indy, a Breeder’s Cup and Belmont Stakes champion, all show up in Any Given Saturday’s ancestry. A.P. Indy has sired twelve of this season’s Triple Crown nominees.
Ravel, also a Pletcher horse, is overflowing with pedigree. His sire is Fusaichi Pegasus, who boasts twelve sons among 2017’s Triple Crown candidates. A.P. Indy is here, too. His daughter Let is Ravel’s dam. Daughters of Northern Dancer and Damascus have places in Ravel’s lineage. Proven stamina and brilliant speed have come from Ravel’s bloodlines.
An extremely interesting lineage comes with Liquidity, trained by Doug O’Neill. His pedigree goes back five generations to the 1937 Triple Crown champion, War Admiral, and his winning daughter Bee Mac. Liquidity’s direct sire is Tiznow, a two-time Horse of the Year. In addition, Rahy, a late bloomer, sired Liquidity’s dam, Boa.
Nobiz Like Shobiz stepped into the Triple Crown ring this season with a bloodline that includes five winners of the Belmont Stakes. In his lineage are the speedy male genes of Ribot, Northern Dancer, and Raise A Native. At twelve furlongs, the Belmont Stakes is the Triple Crown’s “test of a champion” in stamina and heart. In Nobiz Like Shobiz’s parentage, there’s no shortage of either characteristic. On his dam’s side is the staying line of Hail to Reason. Barclay Tagg, trainer of Funny Cide, has Nobiz Like Shobiz enthusiastically under his tutelage.
Street Cry, of Ireland, is Street Sense’s daddy, and he brings to the table, Machiavellian, Mr.Prospector’s best son, who raced in Europe. The leading North American broodmare sire of 2004, Dixieland Band, sired Bedazzle, Street Sense’s dam. It makes sense to hope that Street Sense’s pedigree influences for staying power serve him well as he shows steady improvement on the Triple Crown trail. Training the dark bay colt is Carl Nafzger.
Other mentionables on the racing glory road include recent winners Bwana Bull, Noble Court, Hard Spun, Buffalo Man, Teuflesberg, Takedown, and Tie Rod. The latter three colts, the three T’s, all showed up well in the west this past week.
Stewart Elliott, of whom so little has been heard since he rode Smarty Jones to goose-bump wins in the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, guided Teuflesberg successfully through Southwest Stakes traffic on Feb. 19 at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. Teuflesberg scored a notable win over unbeaten, four-time winner Hard Spun, upsetting the favorite by 1-1/2 lengths. Now with four victories from thirteen starts, Teuflesberg’s earnings climbed to $317,931. He had finished third to Hard Spun on Jan. 13 in the Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Tie Rod, a gelding, ran to a two-win from eight starts juvenile season, and has won both his stakes races in 2017. The three-year-old beat Mr. Charlypotatoes and In to the West on Jan. 26 at Turf Paradise, Phoenix, Arizona in the Rattlesnake Stakes. He covered the one mile distance in 1:36.12. On Feb. 17, Tie Rod beat favorite Gregorian Bay and, again, In to the West in the Turf Paradise Derby in a good time of 1:43.91 over 1-1/16 miles.
Takedown has been on the board two of the last three times, winning Feb. 17 in the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park, New Mexico. His time for the 1-1/16 mile Derby was 1:44.64. With pedigree showing up, Takedown has potential. His sire is the grand Point Given, ridden to Preakness and Belmont fame in 2001 by Gary Stephens.
It’s never easy to guess which colt, or filly will show up on Kentucky Derby day with all pistons firing. Sometimes immaturity gets in the way in a three-year-old. Other times pedigree shines through, like it did for Dynaformer’s son, Barbaro, in 2015.
This season’s reality show is scheduled for May 5, the first Saturday in May, when roses bloom, or fail to open, and the world waits to enshrine the next thoroughbred champion.