One of the nuggets I learned this year about the Kentucky Derby is that the neither of the two pre-eminent stallions in North America can count a Kentucky Derby winner among their descendants. Neither Storm Cat nor A.P. Indy have a Derby winner of their own, nor do any of their sons or grandsons. I find this astounding. For Storm Cat, not a single winner from Tale of the Cat or Forestry or Johannesburg or Forest Wildcat or Giant’s Causeway. For A.P. Indy, nothing from Mineshaft or Pulpit or Malibu Moon or Tapit or Bernardini (though he’s only in his 2nd crop).
I look back over the last few years of my favorites going into the Derby – Pyro, Friesan Fire, Eskendereya, I Want Revenge – I wasn’t giving myself a chance! The truth is, these sire lines have been massively successful in two-year-old stakes, 3-yr-old KY Derby preps, with 3-yr-old fillies (including Oaks winners), and other Triple Crown Races. Mineshaft colts have run 2nd the last two years – it’s got to be a matter of time, right?
I finally broke my pedigree curse when I favored three colts in the 2012 Derby – Archarcharch, Soldat, and Animal Kingdom, all of whom were higher odds than 3 A.P. Indy grandsons – Nehro, Dialed In and Pants on Fire. What I’m saying is this: the general success of Storm Cat and A.P. Indy-line horses overvalues their specific performance in the Kentucky Derby. Consequently, value can be found by playing horses from other successful pedigrees. Moreover, that value can be found now in Derby Futures wagering.
Let’s look at the pedigrees of the Top 10 KY Derby Contenders (as based on odds found here – I believe the Wynn Sportsbook is the original source):
|10||Union Rags||Dixie Union||Dixieland Band|
|12||Liaison||Indian Charlie||In Excess|
|20||Out Of Bounds||Discreet Cat||Forestry|
|20||Rousing Sermon||Lucky Pulpit||Pulpit|
|25||Creative Cause||Giant’s Causeway||Storm Cat|
|25||Discreet Dancer||Discreet Cat||Forestry|
|25||Ever So Lucky||Indian Charlie||In Excess|
Anything stand out to you? 7 of the Top 10 are SC/API-line horses. Not a ton of value here 4 months out. (Interesting to note that Union Rags is out of Dixie Union (Dixieland Band), a different branch of the Northern Dancer sire line.) For you Indian Charlie fans, remember the ‘Mo.
Now let’s look at some value horses whose sires and grandsires whose progeny have won the Derby. Some notes on this chart:
- KF Odds = KY Future Odds currently available at Wynn
- KDG = Generation in Pedigree Locating a Sire with Derby-winning Descendant; 1 = Sire has KD winner in Sire Line, 2 = Grandsire has KD winner in Sire Line
- KDWs = Number of KD winners in the winning Sire’s Line
- In KDG 2, only 200+ odds horses are considered (my threshold for a future wager before 1st round of preps)
|250||Power World||Distorted Humor||Forty Niner||1||1|
|125||B Shanny||Street Cry||Machiavellian||1||1|
|100||Our Entourage||Street Cry||Machiavellian||1||1|
|350||Friscan||Two Punch||Mr. Prospector||2||9|
|350||Spring To The Sky||Langfuhr||Danzig||2||2|
|200||Summer Front||War Front||Danzig||2||2|
In my data set, just 3 major contenders have sires who have sired a Derby Winner so far (I definitely need to get more horses in here though) I’d only bet Power World at this point, given the odds. What’s really interesting to me is the second group beginning with Friscan, whose grandsire is Mr. Prospector, who counts 9 descendants as Derby Winners, the most recent being Mine that Bird and Street Sense.
The Danzig group is most interesting though. Big Brown is the most recent Danzig-line (Norther Dancer) KY Derby winner. Good reports on Summer Front say he is very much like Big Brown, and I know some folks (hi Ed!) who are very high on Wharton at this time.
200-1 is worth a small bet now, because it sure would be fun to say “I had that back in January”. Moreover, it’s been interesting to point out where the value isn’t, and get started on where it might be come Derby day. Anyone want to make a bet for me?