Classic Spotlight: Defer & Survivalist

Although the late Ogden Phipps and his son, Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, have raced champions for decades, the Phipps stable has not had a winner of a Triple Crown race since 1989 Belmont Stake (gr. I) victor Easy Goer. This year, Ogden Mills Phipps is represented by two possible Triple Crown contenders in Defer and Survivalist. Both are by Danzig out of Mr. Prospector mares, the same cross as grade/group I winners Pas de Reponse, Brahms, and Dayjur.

Defer, the more accomplished of the two, won last year's Laurel Futurity (gr. Ill). He is out of Hidden Reserve, a full sister to grade I winner Educated Risk and a half-sister to champion Inside Information. Defer's second dam, Pure Profit, is a half-sister to 1980 One Thousand Guineas (Eng-l) winner Quick as Lightning and two other stakes winners. Her dam, Clear Ceiling, is by Bold Ruler out of the blue hen mare Grey Flight.

Clear Ceiling and Pure Profit were both New York allowance-winning fillies and Hidden Reserve was dual grade II-placed. There is no question that Defer has ability, but stamina may be another question. The Danzig/Mr. Prospector cross has tended more toward speed than staying ability, and Hidden Reserve, although placed in the nine-furlong Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II), showed better form at a mile.

If Defer is to get the Derby distance, he will need to draw stamina from further back in his pedigree, probably from his second dam sire Key to the Mint. This caveat may be less applicable to Survivalist, whose reputation to date rests on a sparkling maiden victory.

From the family of La Mome, a daughter of the stamina influence Son-in-Law, Survivalist is out of Miner's Game, a full sister to Seeking the Gold. Seeking the Gold won the 10-furlong Super Derby (gr. I) and much of his stamina can be attributed to Buckpasser, Survivalist's second dam sire.

Both Defer and Survivalist are inbred 4x4 to Native Dancer through Natalma and Raise a Native. In addition, Defer is inbred 5x5 to Mahmoud through his daughters Almahmoud and Grey Flight.