Pedigree pundits had a strong angle going for them when selecting Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders in the 1980s: dismissing sons and grandsons of Mr. Prospector. While a parade of well-meant and well-backed horses by the perennial leading sire went into the Derby, none were able to successfully navigate the 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May.
That all changed in 1990 when Unbridled, a grandson of Mr. Prospector, won the Derby at 10-1. And in the six runnings of the Derby since 1995, four colts who trace back to Mr. Prospector -- Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996), Real Quiet (1998), and Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) -- have won the Run for the Roses.
From Thunder Gulch's second crop, Point Given appears poised to make a run at the 2001 Derby, giving the Mr. Prospector line another strong player to extend the dynasty. If successful, Thunder Gulch would join Unbridled (Grindstone) as the most recent Derby winner to sire a Derby winner.
Point Given, a March 27 foal out of Turko's Turn, by Turkoman, came within a nose of being the champion 2-year-old colt of 2000. A winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III), Point Given finished third in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) in New York before coming up just a nose short of Macho Uno in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in November. A subsequent victory in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) helped him to be weighted at 125 pounds on the Experimental Free Handicap for 2000, one pound below champion Macho Uno.
A homebred by Prince Ahmed Salman's The Thoroughbred Corp., Point Given towered over his rivals at 2 -- at least from a size standpoint. Standing at 17 hands as a 2-year-old, Point Given was still agile enough to be a successful runner as a juvenile, and his frame and stride seem to suit the classic distances as he will likely develop at 3.
His sire was one of the most accomplished 3-year-olds of the 1990s while winning seven of 10 starts in 1995. He won the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Florida Derby (gr. I) prior to winning two classics: the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes (gr. I; 1 1/2 miles). He followed up that summer with wins in the Swaps (gr. I), Travers (gr. I; 1 1/4 miles), and Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. III; against older horses) before his retirement to stud.
Point Given's female family, while not laden with stamina, does have more than its share of successful two-turn runners, which should point to his ability to get a distance of ground.
While his stakes-winning dam's lone stakes victory was at 5 1/2 furlongs, but she was stakes-placed at 1 1/16 miles as a 3-year-old. His second dam, Turbo Launch (by Relaunch) won a two-turn stakes race at 2 and also produced the stakes-winning U R Unforgetable.
Accomplished on the turf, U R Unforgetable (by Affirmed), won the 1 1/16-mile Hialeah Breeders' Cup Handicap, defeating grade II winner Anguila, and placed in three graded turf events as a 5-year-old in 1999. Her stakes-placings came at three different distances: a mile, 1 1/16 miles, and 1 1/8 miles.
Turbo Launch is a half-sister to eight-time stakes winner Explosive Girl and Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Dignitas. Explosive Girl's biggest win came in the 1 1/16-mile Ak-Sar-Ben Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap in 1998 and Dignitas won the 1992 Illinois Derby at 1 1/8 miles.
With a Dosage Index of 3.00, Point Given's pedigree suggests getting the Derby trip should be well within his scope. A similar "nick," the Mr. Prospector line over Relaunch mares, is responsible for fellow Derby contender City Zip.