Pedigree Insights: Audible

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Audible | Horsephotos

By Andrew Caulfield

Last Saturday saw two important GI Kentucky Derby trials, each carrying 100 points for the winner. The big difference between the two was that they were staged roughly 12,600 kilometres apart, in Dubai and Miami, yet both were won very decisively by progressive colts on a winning roll. And–remarkably–there are some strong similarities between the pedigrees of the two winners.

Of course the GI Florida Derby fell to the very progressive Audible (Into Mischief) (pedigree), now a winner of the last four of his five starts, while the Group 2 UAE equivalent was won even more decisively by the well-traveled Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) (pedigree), who was securing his third consecutive win. Mendelssohn, with the distinction of being the highest-priced American yearling of 2016, was sired by a Storm Cat line stallion from 2016’s Broodmare of the Year, Leslie’s Lady (Tricky Creek). Needless to say, this makes him a slightly-more-than-half-brother to Into Mischief, the great-grandson of Storm Cat responsible for Audible.

I have to admit that the UAE Derby is a race I learned to mistrust, especially as a Kentucky Derby trial. Of the winners which attempted the double, the 2000 winner China Visit finished a respectable sixth at Churchill Downs, but since then Express Tour could finish only eighth in 2001, Essence of Dubai was ninth in 2002, Regal Ransom (Distorted Humor) was eighth in 2009, Daddy Long Legs (Scat Daddy) failed to finish in 2012, Lines of Battle (War Front) was seventh in 2013, Mubtaahij (Dubawi {Ire}) was eighth a year later and then the Japanese-trained Lani (Tapit) was ninth in 2016.

This string of substantial defeats hardly gives confidence that a UAE Derby winner will be able to reproduce his best form thousands of miles away just a few weeks later, but there are reasons for thinking that Mendelssohn will be a serious contender at Churchill Downs. For a start, he has already made a triumphant trip to the U.S., when he won the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and he is bred for dirt. There’s also a good chance that the relatively new dirt track at Meydan is much more similar to the Churchill Downs surface than the Tapeta which it replaced.

Last year’s UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow (Helmet {Aus}) threw his chance away with his bucking bronco display on leaving the stalls in the Kentucky Derby, but this admirably versatile colt has since been in fine form on the Meydan dirt and his nearly-six-length defeat of West Coast (Flatter) in the G1 Dubai World Cup makes me wonder what might have been at Churchill Downs. On the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for 2017, Thunder Snow was rated just 2lb inferior to Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bodemeister).

Remember too that the 2014 UAE Derby winner Toast of New York (Thewayyouare) went very close to defeating Bayern (Offlee Wild) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic and that Mubtaahij won the GI Awesome Again S. last year and once went close to winning the GI Woodward S. Lani’s third in the GI Belmont S. was another indication that UAE Derby winners can hold their own in the U.S.

Chances are, though, that people will prefer Audible to Mendelssohn simply because his story is more conventional. Whereas Aidan O’Brien has little to show from his previous Kentucky Derby raids, Audible will be bidding to provide Todd Pletcher with his third winner, following Super Saver and Always Dreaming.

Always Dreaming also prepped for the Triple Crown with a victory in the Florida Derby, as have so many Kentucky Derby winners, such as Nyquist, Orb, Big Brown, Barbaro, Monarchos, Thunder Gulch, Unbridled, Swale and Spectacular Bid.

In winning the Florida Derby, Audible also followed in the footprints of his grandsire Harlan’s Holiday, who went on to land the GI Blue Grass S. and to earn the position of favorite for the 2002 Kentucky Derby. Although Harlan’s Holiday finished only seventh, he later showed that he just about stayed a mile and a quarter, notably finishing second in the G1 Dubai World Cup and the GI Hollywood Gold Cup.

I should own up to wondering whether a son of Into Mischief would stay well enough to win a Kentucky Derby. However, Audible’s performance at Gulfstream Park offered plenty of encouragement, even though his pedigree doesn’t guarantee that he’ll stay.

Audible’s first two dams, the sprinter Blue Devil Bel and the once-raced Fahamore, were respectively sired by Gilded Time, a champion two-year-old who contested the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as a three-year-old, and Gulch, a winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Don’t forget, though, that Gulch won the Wood Memorial before contesting all three legs of the Triple Crown, and he sired a Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner in Thunder Gulch.

If Audible proves suits by a mile and a quarter he can probably thank his third dam, Cathy’s Gal. Her only win came over a sprint distance but she was bred to stay very well by American standards. Her sire Easy Goer won the GI Belmont S. and GI Jockey Club Gold Cup over a mile and a half, in addition to the GI Travers S. and the Woodward over a mile and a quarter. Audible’s fourth dam, the GI Alabama S. winner Classy Cathy, also stayed pretty well, as might be expected of a filly sired by Private Account from a Tom Rolfe mare.

When Classy Cathy was mated to Mr Prospector, the resultant foal was Placerville, who stayed a mile and a quarter under more demanding European conditions. His finest hour came when he defeated Urban Sea, the future Arc winner, in the G2 Price of Wales’s S. at Royal Ascot.

It is going to be fascinating to see what happens when Audible eventually meets the likes of Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) and McKinzie (Street Sense), two colts with pedigrees which look ideal for the Triple Crown.

 

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