Bernardini himself was produced from Cara Rafaela, who might well have been named U.S. champion juvenile filly in 1995 had she managed to stave off the late-running My Flag in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). As it was, the daughter of Quiet American collected victories in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I), Matron Stakes (gr. I) and Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) and also placed in five Grade I stakes as a three-year-old. Bernardini is her fifth foal and first stakes winner. Quiet American himself won the 1990 NYRA Mile as a four-year-old and has been a solid sire with champions Real Quiet and Hidden Lake, English/Irish highweight Warrior Queen, and thirty-six other stakes winners to his credit. However, his long-term influence may well be on the distaff side of pedigrees. So far, his daughters have produced twenty-one stakes winners from 265 foals, and those stakes winners include the late Saint Liam, 2005 Horse of the Year; Italian and German Group I winner Cherry Mix; and 2002 Futurity Stakes (gr. I) winner Whywhywhy, whose first foals are yearlings of 2006. A half-sister to two-time Grade III winner Abaginone (by Devil's Bag), Cara Rafaela is out of Oil Fable, a winning daughter of the great Spectacular Bid. Winner of four American championships including Horse of the Year in 1980, Spectacular Bid was more useful than stellar at stud but had some good production from his daughters, whose progeny include Grade/Group I winners Amonita, Mozart, Aube Indienne (Fr), Janfranco, Janet (GB), and Spectacular Tide. Third dam Northern Fable (by Northern Dancer) was a disappointing producer but a good runner who won the 1982 Palomar Handicap (gr. IIIT). But her dam, Fairway Fable (by Never Bend) was one of four stakes winners produced by Fairway Fun (by Prince John), while Fairway Fun herself is a full or half sister to 1972 Prix Morny (Fr-I) winner Filiberto; multiple grade I winner White Star Line; Trick Chick, dam of four stakes winners including 1984 Prix de Diane Hermes (Fr-I) winner Northern Trick and 1977 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) winner On the Sly; and Day Line, dam of 1973 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) winner Magazine.
Royal blood does not guarantee any horse a championship, and Bernardini will have to defeat the best field he has faced yet to claim Horse of the Year honors. But if "blood tells," as the saying goes, Bernardini will be in there at the finish.