Belmont Doings: Mile and a Half or Bust
We have seen numerous occasions when horses who do not have an abundance of stamina in their pedigree fall short going a mile and a half. So, you can do all the handicapping you want, but if your horse can’t get the trip, no Beyer numbers or speed sheets numbers are going to help get him to the winner’s circle.
With that said, who are the horses likely to be unfazed by the 12 furlongs and who are the ones who have enough stamina to enable them to go the distance on mostly talent?
One horse who not only has the stamina top and bottom, but all the physical attributes to handle Belmont Park is First Dude .
This is a mountain of a horse with a stride to match, and he lopes around there as if in a high gallop, but is in reality going much faster than it appears. In his only work at Belmont, he cut the corner beautifully turning for home, which shows he also has some athleticism. Many horses come out of that huge sweeping turn a bit wide, but he was still hugging the rail.
His sire, Stephen Got Even , has had several talented horses, such as Stevie Wonderboy and I Want Revenge , who never got the opportunity to show how far they want to go. He has, however, sired Excellent Shine, a group I-winning champion stayer in Panama, as well as another group I-winning stayer in Panama, Mr. Tommy.
Stephen Got Even is by Belmont (gr. I) winner A.P. Indy (sire of Belmont winner Rags to Riches), who is by Belmont winner Seattle Slew.
On the dam side, broodmare sire Smart Strike is the sire of Curlin , who was beaten a neck in the Belmont, and English Channel , a multiple grade I winner at 1 ½ miles on the grass, including the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) and Turf Classic (gr. IT) twice.
Great-grandsire Relaunch sired Waquoit, a 15-length winner of the 1 ½-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I). And great-granddam, Scatter Plan, is by Belmont winner Quadrangle.
Another horse who should have no trouble getting the distance is Stay Put. Although he has never won beyond 1 1/16 miles, he was closing fast in the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
Stay Put is by the Unbridled stallion Broken Vow . Although Broken Vow hasn’t had many horses who have even attempted 1 ½ miles, if any, he has sired Unbridled Belle, winner of the 1 ¼-mile Delaware Handicap (gr. II). Broken Vow’s dam, Wedding Vow, is by English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II, a major stamina influence in American and Europe.
Stay Put’s tail-female family has several major stamina influences. His great-grandsire, Nasty and Bold, won the Brooklyn Handicap (gr. I), and his time of 2:26 was the third fastest mile and a half ever run on dirt in the U.S. behind Secretariat and Prove Out. Nasty and Bold also won the 1 ¼-mile American Derby (gr. II) and placed in the 10-furlong Travers (gr. I) and Marlboro Cup (gr. I).
Nasty and Bold’s sire, Naskra, finished third, beaten one length, in the Belmont Stakes, and Naskra’s sire, Nasram, won the 1 ½-mile King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot.
Stay Put’s third dam, Corsage, won the Spinster Stakes (gr. I) and is a half-sister to Slewpy, winner of the 1 ¼-mile Meadowlands Cup (gr. II).
Although none of the other pedigrees shout out a mile and a half, several have enough stamina influences to recommend them.
Dave in Dixie is by Dixie Union, whose offspring have not made an impact at 10 furlongs or farther, but his dam side is another story. His dam, Risk, is inbred to the great stamina influence Ribot. His tail-female great-grandsire, Droll Role (by stamina influence Tom Rolfe), defeated two top-class European stayers in the 1 ½-mile Washington D.C. International in a bog. And his great-granddam, Analisa, is by Belmont Stakes winner High Echelon, who won the race over a very sloppy track.
Looking at Fly Down’s pedigree, his broodmare sire, Fly So Free, is a son of Time For a Change, which is the speed branch of the Damascus line. But Fly Down’s sire is Horse of the Year Mineshaft , by A.P. Indy, and it is important to note that he has seven Belmont Stakes winners in his first five generations.
Stablemate Ice Box is also by a son of A.P. Indy, Pulpit, but Pulpit’s offspring have been best from seven furlongs to a mile and an eighth. However, Ice Box has already proven his ability at 1 ¼ miles, thanks to a strong female family. His second dam, Crown of Sheba (by Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alysheba), is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Spend a Buck. This family traces to Belmont Stakes winner Jaipur and inherits a good deal of toughness from Speak John, the sire of Spend a Buck’s dam Belle de Jour.
Ice Box’s broodmare sire, Tabasco Cat, also won the Belmont Stakes, giving Ice Box more than enough stamina to go along with the brilliance of Pulpit.
Stately Victor is by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper , out of a mare by major stamina influence Dynaformer. But remember, Ghostzapper is a half-brother to sprinter City Zip. Stately Victor’s tail-female family is more speed-oriented through Valid Appeal, In Reality, and Dr. Fager, but In Reality and Dr. Fager have also been stamina influences as well. This seems to be a pedigree that can go both ways, and will not stop a horse from getting 1 ½ miles if he’s good enough.
Although Make Music For Me is not exactly inundated with stamina influences, he does have three Triple Crown winners in his first four generations. And his sire, Bernstein, despite the number of milers and sprinters he has sired, did sire Horse of the Year and champion stayer in Argentina, Storm Mayor. Bernstein is out of an Affirmed mare and his second dam is by major stamina influence Round Table.
Make Music For Me’s second dam is by English Derby (Eng-I) winner The Minstrel, and his third dam is by Seattle Slew, so it would come as no major surprise if he was able to get the mile and a half…under the right conditions.
Uptowncharlybrown’s sire, Limehouse is not known for his stamina, but his broodmare sire, Langfuhr , although a sprinter/miler himself, has produced some 10 to 12-furlong horses on the turf. His great grandsire, Forty Niner, did win the Travers, but the main thing he has going for him is his dam being inbred to Tom Rolfe.
Quickly looking at the others, Drosselmeyer has a solid enough pedigree. His maternal great-grandsire, Slew o’ Gold, had a ton of class and stamina, and his broodmare sire, Moscow Ballet, is by Nijinsky II, out of a half-sister to Mill Reef.
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