As of March 8, three stallions are represented by two runners each on the top 20 North American Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard: Curlin , with Good Magic and Solomini; Medaglia d'Oro , with Bolt d'Oro and Enticed; and Street Sense , with McKinzie and Avery Island.
Of these three sires, 2006 champion 2-year-old Street Sense is the only one who could potentially become the 13th stallion to have won the Kentucky Derby and sired a Derby winner. The son of Street Cry and a homebred racing for Jim Tafel and trained by Carl Nafzger, Street Sense won the first leg of the Triple Crown in 2007 and also became the first horse to win both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and the Derby.
"A Derby winner to his résumé would be incredible," said Darren Fox, sales manager at Darley. "We are very hopeful. He's got two live shots this year in McKinzie and Avery Island. It's very exciting."
Grade 1 winner McKinzie is undefeated in three starts and is ranked sixth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 20 points. His grade 1 victory came via a disqualification in the Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (G1) Dec. 9.
A $170,000 purchase by Three Amigos from the Lane's End consignment to the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale, McKinzie is out of the grade 1-placed Petionville mare Runway Model.
While McKinzie is the only horse representing the cross of Street Sense with a Petionville daughter, other broodmare sires that are sons or grandsons of Seeking the Gold have produced two stakes winners from 11 starters for an 18% strike rate. By comparison, Street Sense when crossed with all other broodmares sire lines has a 7% success rate, with 50 stakes winners from 744 starters.
Avery Island, a grade 2 winner at 2, is 13th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 14 points. His runner-up finish in the Dec. 2 Remsen Stakes (G2) earned four points and a score in the Feb. 3 Withers Stakes (G3) gave him 10 more.
A homebred for Godolphin, Avery Island is out of the A.P. Indy mare Kinda Spicy, who won both of her only two starts. Kinda Spicy's dam, Isola Piu Bella, was a four-time group 1 winner in her native Chile and won two graded stakes in the U.S.
The Street Sense/A.P. Indy cross also has been successful, having produced four stakes winners from 31 starters for a 13% strike rate. The cross has produced grade 1-placed stakes winner Light the City and grade 1-placed Carnival Court, as well as black-type winners Financial Modeling and City Plan.
Street Sense entered stud at Darley in Kentucky in 2008 for a fee of $75,000 and shuttled between Kentucky and Australia until 2012. After the 2012 Australian breeding season, he was sent to Japan, returned to Australia, and then for the 2014 season was sent back to Kentucky, where he has remained. His 2018 stud fee was dropped to $35,000.
"He's obviously an important stallion to us," Fox said. "He had no 3-year-olds in America last year, because he spent the year in Japan (in 2013) ... To come roaring back with two colts like this, we couldn't really have scripted it any better.
"We were cognizant of that (when setting his 2018 stud fee). We were confident that once his American crops started flowing again that he would come back to his peak, but it was just a question of timing ... He was at $45,000 the previous year, we dropped him a tick to make him excellent value and make sure he gets a great book. ... He's been booked full for some time."
Ranked 15th on the general sires list, Street Sense is the sire of nine grade 1 winners, including three in Australia. He has a total of six horses nominated to the Triple Crown, including Blaze of Glory, Call West, Locomotion, and Walk in the Sun.
The other Derby winners to sire a Derby winner are Halma (Alan-a-Dale, 1902), Bubbling Over (Burgoo King, 1932), Reigh Count (Count Fleet, 1943), Gallant Fox (Omaha, 1935), Bold Venture (Assault, 1946, and Middleground, 1950), Pensive (Ponder, 1949), Count Fleet (Count Turf, 1951), Ponder (Needles, 1956), Determine (Decidedly, 1962), Swaps (Chateaugay, 1963), Seattle Slew (Swale, 1984), and Unbridled (Grindstone, 1996).