Saturday, May 10, 2014

California Chrome

The winner of the Kentucky Derby is California Chrome who extends the recent trend of winners that are inbred maternally to either Mr Prospector or Northern Dancer. His pedigree has been described by others as plebian, ordinary, non classic, etc, as pundits struggle to understand where his racing excellence is coming from. Many thought he did not have the pedigree to go the distance but a closer look proves otherwise.

He is outcrossed on sire line - Nearco to Native Dancer and has a maternal inbreeding from his dam to his grandsire of Mr Prospector 4x3.  His sire, Lucky Pulpit whose stud fee is $2500 is another source of puzzlement to the thorobred pedigree experts. In addition to standing in California he was a modest racehorse although his dam is inbred maternally to Princequillo 4x4 and to Royal Charger (Nearco) 6x4 in a pattern of success familiar to standardbred breeders.

It is the dam of California Chrome, though, that likely provides the key to his excellence. Love The Chase was a low level claimer, bought for $8000, but her bargain price disguised a million dollar pedigree. She is outcrossed on sire line Mr Prospector to Northern Dancer and inbred to Northern Dancer maternally. That alone is sufficient to attract attention since mares inbred to Northern Dancer have been producing significant numbers of top horses in recent years. The real point of interest in the dam, however, is the mare Numbered Account who is 3x3 in X-factor position and thus Love The Chase is sibling inbred to a son, Polish Numbers (Northern Dancer) and a daughter, Dance Numbers (Danzig, son of Northern Dancer) of Numbered Account.

Numbered Account is by two time Horse Of The Year Buckpasser who was undefeated at three but not eligible for the Triple Crown races, although he soundly beat the top three year olds. Her dam is Intriguing by a Kentucky Derby winner in Swaps, and Intriguing is well named since she could well be the key to the pedigree of California Chrome.

In her book The X-Factor, Marianna Hahn detailed the search for the "large heart gene" supposedly responsible for the performance of Secretariat whose dam was by the same Princequillo that is doubled up maternally in Lucky Pulpit. She traced the genetic trail back to a mare called Pocahontas 1837, whose three sons, Stockwell, King Tom, and Rataplan, are noted maternal influences through their daughters. As I showed in my book "Queen Among Queens" the trail actually does not stop there but goes back through Diomed, the first winner of the English Derby and whose two best daughters, Young Giantess and Young Noisette, are doubled in X-factor position in Marpessa, the dam of Pocahontas.

Swaps, the sire of Intriguing, has an x-factor double to Stockwell maternally in his dam but more importantly his second dam is by Triple Crown winner War Admiral, who also is from a mare that has an x-factor double to Pocahontas through two of her sons, Stockwell and King Tom. But it gets better than that since the second dam of Intriguing is also by War Admiral making her a 4x3 x-factor inbred to a triple crown winner and double inbred to Pocahontas and to the two best daughters of Diomed accordingly. Now that is maternal power.

By the way, California Chrome's second dam is also inbred maternally to Princequillo, sire of the dam of Secretariat.  Not bred to go the distance eh?

Intriguing isn't it ?

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