Pedigree Analysis: Lemons Forever

Lemon Drop Kid could hardly have picked a better time to have a breakthrough horse. On national TV, his daughter Lemons Forever charged down the stretch to win the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), writing her name into the history of the nation's oldest race for three-year-old fillies and becoming her sire's first grade I winner.

Himself the winner of four grade I races, Lemon Drop Kid  scored his biggest victory in the 1999 Belmont Stakes, a win almost lost in the drama surrounding Charismatic's failed bid for the Triple Crown and career-ending breakdown. Nonetheless, Lemon Drop Kid went on to win the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and, in 2000, gained honors as champion older male.

Despite excellent opportunities, Lemon Drop Kid has been slow getting his stud career rolling. His first two crops, totaling 146 foals, had between them yielded only forty-seven winners and five stakes winners as of May 1, 2006, headed by 2005 Summer Stakes (Can-G2) winner Bear's Kid. As a result, his advertised stud fee has spiraled down from $100,000 in 2001 to $30,000 in 2006.

On pedigree, however, it was probably inevitable that Lemon Drop Kid would come up with a top winner sooner or later. A son of leading sire Kingmambo (himself the result of a dream match between Mr. Prospector and multiple champion Miesque), he was produced from the Seattle Slew mare Charming Lassie. As Charming Lassie is a daughter of Lassie Dear, also the dam of Weekend Surprise (by Secretariat), Charming Lassie is closely related to 1992 Horse of the Year and leading sire A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew–Weekend Surprise).

Lemons Forever was produced from Critikola (Arg), a two-time Group II winner in her native land and twice Grade I-placed in the USA. That Critikola should have shown ability in both Argentina and America is not surprising, for her ancestry is a blend of names familiar in North America with some excellent Argentine strains. Her sire, Grade I-placed Tough Critic (by *Grey Dawn II) was exported to Argentina and enjoyed a useful stud career there, siring the Group I winners Cazador, Justamente, Tough Golda, and El Picha.

Hola Keats, the second dam of Lemons Forever, is by Keats, unbeaten winner of the Grand Premio 25 de Mayo (Arg-G1) and a horse whose pedigree is rich in top-class stamina influences, out of Hello Love, a daughter of Argentine Quadruple Crown winner *Forli who was exported to Argentina as a four-year-old in 1975. *Forli himself, of course, made the opposite journey, standing a long and successful stud career at Claiborne Farm.

Whether Lemons Forever will back up her Oaks form in future races is anyone's guess, but she is bred to relish a distance of ground and on pedigree seems a good bet to move forward for races such as the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and the Alabama Stakes (gr. I), both at ten furlongs. Whatever her future holds, she has certainly proven herself to be no lemon.