Derby Winning Pedigree: Barbaro
by Avalyn Hunter
Date Posted: 5/6/2006 8:51:32 PM
Last Updated: 6/17/2006 9:57:31 PM

First Saturday in May is big day on two continents for Barbaro owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
If there's a couple in America walking on air right now, it must be Roy and Gretchen Jackson. Earlier today, George Washington – a Danehill colt they bred and sold to the partnership of John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, scored an impressive victory in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) at Newmarket. But as marvelous as the feeling of having bred an English Classic winner must be, it surely must pale beside the feeling of being both owners and breeders of Barbaro, winner of the 132nd Kentucky Derby.

There is certainly precedent for Classic success in Barbaro's pedigree: his paternal grandsire, Roberto, won the 1972 Derby Stakes (Eng-G1). Nonetheless, the Roberto branch of the Hail to Reason male line has had its greatest successes on turf. Prior to Barbaro, the closest any Roberto-line horse had come to winning an American Triple Crown race was in 1988, when Roberto's son Brian's Time – like Barbaro, a winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I) – ran second to Risen Star in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and third behind Risen Star and Kingpost in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Like his sire, Dynaformer (whose dam is the Grade I-winning His Majesty mare Andover Way) has also been better known for his turf runners than his dirt performers, although he is the sire of the dirt Grade I winners Perfect Drift (third in the 2002 Kentucky Derby), Critical Eye, and Starrer. Nonetheless, Dynaformer showed good form on dirt himself, winning the 1988 Jersey Derby (gr. II) and the Discovery Handicap (gr. II) before retiring to stud at Wafare Farm. Despite never getting the quality of mares presented to the Bluegrass elite, Dynaformer has worked his way steadily up the stallion ranks and currently stands at Three Chimneys (where he has been since 1995) at an advertised fee of $100,000 live foal.

La Ville Rouge, dam of Barbaro, perhaps foreshadowed her son's versatility, for she was graded stakes-placed both on turf and on dirt. A daughter of the very quick Carson City, she was precocious enough to run second to Matron Stakes (gr. I) winner Oh What a Windfall in the 1998 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) as a juvenile but trained on well enough to place in three graded events at age four. She was produced from Toddler Stakes winner La Reine Rouge, a daughter of 1973 Carter Handicap (gr. II) winner King's Bishop and the winning Nearctic mare Silver Betsy.

Barbaro is inbred 4x5 to the 1955 Preakness and Belmont winner Nashua through the latter's daughters Bramalea (dam of Roberto) and Gold Digger (dam of Carson City's sire Mr. Prospector), who share some pedigree similarities on the dam's side. Bramalea was produced from Rarelea (Bull Lea–Bleebok, by Blue Larkspur), while Gold Digger is a granddaughter of Miss Dogwood (by Bull Lea's sire *Bull Dog–Myrtlewood, by Blue Larkspur). This pairing of Bramalea and Gold Digger is also seen in the pedigree of 2005 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) winner Rock Hard Ten and in 1993 champion three-year-old filly Hollywood Wildcat, both by Kris S. (by Roberto) out of Mr. Prospector mares.

With a pedigree completely free of Northern Dancer except for a remote strain at the sixth generation but boasting a daughter of the Dancer's sire Nearctic, Barbaro seems certain to attract attention as a possible outcross sire for mares from the popular Northern Dancer line when he does go to stud. In the meantime, the Jacksons have a lot to look forward to. Not only can they hope for more Classic success from Barbaro, they welcomed a new full brother to the unbeaten Derby winner on March 15 and should have another full sibling on the way as La Ville Rouge has been returned to Dynaformer for 2006. If either of these youngsters prove to have half the talent of their elder brother, the Jacksons should be smiling for a long time to come.

To purchase photos of Barbaro from this year's Kentucky Derby, click here.

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