I Want Revenge has tangled twice so far with Pioneerof the Nile and has come off the worse both times. But since coming East, the colt has turned in impressive performances in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) and the Wood Memorial (gr. I) to establish himself as one of the leading candidates for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Should he defeat Pioneerof the Nile and as many as 18 other rivals in the Run for the Roses, revenge could hardly be sweeter for his connections, or more timely.
Bred and owned by David Lanzman, who sold a half-interest in the colt to IEAH Stables following the Gotham, I Want Revenge is a son of Lane’s End stallion Stephen Got Even. The son of A.P. Indy has sired 192 winners (55.7%) and 18 stakes winners (5.2%) from the 345 named foals of his first five crops of racing age, including 2005 champion juvenile Stevie Wonderboy.
Winner of the 2000 Donn Handicap (gr. I), Stephen Got Even comes from a solid female family, but one that has been more notable for producing good runners and broodmares than sires. A full brother to the stakes-winning fillies Indy Glory and Grand Merger, he was produced from Immerse, a grade I-placed daughter of Cox’s Ridge and 1986 Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) winner Baroness Direct. The last-named mare was by Blushing Groom (FR) out of Avum, by Umbrella Fella, and so a half-sister to 1986 Seminole Handicap (gr. II) winner Minneapple (by Riverman) and French stakes winner Lyphard’s Princess (by Lyphard). The best stallion produced by this family in modern times is 1980 champion juvenile Lord Avie, a Lord Gaylord half-brother to Avum who sired 84 stakes winners from 854 foals.
Unlike the closely inbred Stevie Wonderboy (3 x 3 to 1992 KTOB Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise), I Want Revenge is an outcross within five generations. This is not surprising considering that his dam, Meguial (ARG), is an Argentine import. True, her sire, the Fappiano horse Roy, was American-bred, but Stephen Got Even has an unusual pedigree by modern American standards in that it is completely free not only of Mr. Prospector (sire of Fappiano) but of Mr. Prospector’s sire Raise a Native and grandsire Native Dancer.
Although only grade II-placed on the track, Roy proved a tremendous success at stud in South America, leading the sire list in Chile nine times and the Argentine sire list twice. He was not a success when brought back to the United States, however, and in this he paralleled another notable American expatriate, Southern Halo (by Halo). Nine times the leading sire in Argentina, Southern Halo sired only one top horse in North America, 2000 King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) winner and successful shuttle sire More Than Ready .
Roy’s pedigree is notable for combining six lines of descent from the great taproot mare Frizette, ancestress of both Mr. Prospector and Seattle Slew. As A.P. Indy is a son of Seattle Slew (who carries two extra crosses of Frizette, including one via 1947 Kentucky Derby winner Jet Pilot), any cross of these two sires will combine at least nine strains of Frizette. While A.P. Indy and his sons have not had many opportunities with Roy mares, the cross has struck gold before in Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) winner Great Hunter, by Aptitude (by A.P. Indy) out of Roy’s daughter Zenith.
Meguial was one of Roy’s Argentine-bred stakes winners, capturing the Premio Juan Salvador Boucau at 3 and placing in three Argentine group I races. Sent to the United States, she placed in three minor California stakes races at 4 before retiring to the paddocks. Her first foal, the Doneraile Court gelding The Royals Court, has won six of 24 starts to date; I Want Revenge is her second foal. Her third foal, the 2007 Thunder Gulch colt I Want Noise, has yet to race.
Meguial is out of Starry Night (ARG), whose sire Fitzcarraldo (ARG) has been a worthy successor to his own sire, three-time champion Argentine sire Cipayo (ARG). Starry Night, in turn, is out of multiple Argentine group III winner Very Dark (ARG), whose sire Vervain (GB) is a stakes-winning son of the stout Epsom Derby winner Crepello (GB). Another daughter of Very Dark, Dark Beauty (ARG) (by Mat-Boy (ARG)), has produced the Argentine group I winners Basko Pinton (ARG) and Esposado (ARG), both by Engrillado (ARG). The female family has been in Argentina since the 1893 importation of the French-bred Favorita (FR), a direct descendant of the great taproot mare Pocahontas.
I Want Revenge’s pedigree contains a solid blend of speed and stamina, so the Derby distance should not be a problem for him. All that remains now is to see whether the same combination of talent and heart that has made him a Derby favorite can carry him to the roses on May 2.