When handicappers speculate about possible classic contenders, several key factors come to mind. Speed. Stamina. Pedigree. Another integral element to a classic winner is performance. Major stakes winners are usually considered top Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders, regardless of their pedigrees.Take for example, Monarchos. That son of Maria's Mon scored an victory in the 2001 Florida Derby (gr. I), but was dismissed by handicappers due to a loss in the Wood Memorial (gr. II). However, he proved all the skeptics wrong by romping home in the Kentucky Derby in 1:59 4/5, the fastest Derby time since Secretariat. Another instance of this is Borrego. He is a multiple graded stakes placed son of El Prado, and deemed by many as an unfit classic contender due to the fact that he had never won a stakes race. Based on his classic-oriented pedigree, Borrego is a true contender for the classic races of 2004. Borrego's sire is El Prado, the 2002 leading sire, and the sire of Travers (gr. I) and Whitney Stakes (gr. I) winner Medaglia d'Oro. El Prado was a champion juvenile in Ireland. He is by Sadler's Wells, the champion sire in England/Ireland for over a decade. El Prado's dam, Lady Capulet, won the Irish One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), and her sire was Sir Ivor, and her dam was Caps and Bells, by Tom Fool, sire of Buckpasser. Caps and Bells was the dam of the good, but unsound, sire Drone, a three-quarter brother to Lady Capulet. She was also the dam of group II winner Sir Wimborne, and was the second dam of group III winner Turkish Treasure.Caps and Bells' dam, Ghazni, was also the dam of American Derby victor Dunce. Ghazni was by Epsom Derby winner Mahmoud, out of Sun Miss. Sun Miss' dam, Missinaibi, was a stakes winner and the dam of stakes winners Dark Mission and Sun Mission, dam of Futurity winner Chance Sun. Missinaibi was also the dam of the Epsom Oaks winner Beam. She was the daughter of Mistrella, second dam of Ascot Gold Cup victor Foxhunter. The latterÕs dam, Trimsestral, was the dam of three consecutive Ascot Gold Cup winners, and the ancestress of Brazilian group I winner Sun Exotic. Mistrella was out of the Royal Hampton mare Ark Royal, the ancestress of stakes winners Prince Argo, Elastic, Harpo, Adirondack Stakes winner Hidden Ship, Newmarket Abingdon Plate winner Germinate, etc. Most importantly, Germinate was the third dam of Ismone, winner of such famous Italian races as the Milan Gran Premio del Jockey Club, and the Premio Estate, and Astese, winner of the Premio Roma, and the fourth dam of Italian Two Thousand Guineas victor Ciacolesso. This line traces back to Paraffin, the ancestress of Genuine Risk, Epsom Derby victor Never Say Die, etc. Even farther back, Paraffin was a half-sister to One Thousand Guineas and St. Leger victor Achievement and English Triple Crown victor Lord Lyon. Paradigm's half-sister Rouge Rose was the dam of the great Bend Or. Other family members are One Thousand Guineas victress Problem, St. Leger winner Sunbeam, and Grand National winner Sergeant Murphy. Borrego's dam is Sweet as Honey, a daughter of 1991 Derby winner Strike the Gold, out of stakes victress Cup of Honey, dam of multiple grade I winner I Ain't Bluffing and 1992 Canadian champion juvenile male Truth of It All. Cup of Honey's dam was Honey Deb, the dam of stakes winners Dinner Money, Double Win, etc. Her daughter Silvery Money also was the dam of Washington Park Handicap winner Powerful Punch. Honey Deb's sire was French champion Herbager, and her dam was Smart Deb, champion juvenile filly in 1962. Smart Deb was by champion Dedicate, and was the dam of stakes winners Logical, a good Argentine sire, and Smart Bask. Smart Deb was out of Demree, dam of stakes winners Cap Size and second dam of grade III winner Ancient Fables. Demree's sire was Revoked, a stakes-winning Blue Larkspur horse, and her dam was stakes-placed Demolition. Demolition, in turn, was out of the excellent broodmare Escutcheon.Escutcheon won the Alabama, and produced 1937 Kentucky Oaks victress Mars Shield and Polly Drummond winner Strange Device, dam of the Washington H. winner Abstract. But, best yet, Escutcheon was the dam of Bourtai. Bourtai was the dam of champion Bayou, CCA Oaks winner Levee, dam of Shuvee, and Delta, dam of Dike. Bourtai was also the ancestress of champion Slew o' Gold and Belmont S. winner Coastal. Bourtai's dam, Affection, was also the dam of Hug Again, dam of Sun Again. Affection's half-sister Heloise was the dam of United Stakes Hotel Stakes winner Boy Knight, Matron and Spinaway winner Dinner Date, etc. This family is Bruce Lowe Family #9, and also includes the great sires Bull Lea and Nasrullah.
As is visible, Borrego is suited to the classic races due to his splendid classic pedi