The 2-1 favorite for the Epsom Derby tomorrow is the Irish-bred Montjeu colt Jan Vermeer, a French Group 1 winner at 2. He inherited the leading man’s role after another, more highly regarded son of Montjeu, St. Nicholas Abbey, was pulled from the race. Today, the winner of the Group 1 Coronation Stakes over the same trip at Epsom was the Montjeu colt Fame and Glory, runner-up to the transcendent Sea the Stars in the Derby last year (and winner of the Irish equivalent). Yes, I’m hammering away here how preternaturally prolific is Montjeu’s output, because would you believe he’s had a classic winner from every crop to date? Chronologically, he’s responsible for 2005 Epsom Derby winner Motivator (GB), 2005 Irish Derby winner Hurricane Run (Ire), 2005 St. Leger winner Scorpion (Ire), 2006 Prix Royal Oak winner Montare (Ire), 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorized (Ire), 2008 Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire (Ger), 2008 AJC Australian Derby winner Nom du Jeu (NZ), 2008 Pune Derby winner Phenomenale (Ind), 2009 Irish Derby winner Fame and Glory (GB) and 2009 AJC Australian Derby winner Roman Emperor (NZ).
Weatherbys employee @bloodstock_Al from Twitter was kind enough to post Jan Vermeer’s catalogue-style pedigree today, reproduced here. Note the familiar American classic connection under the 4th dam, Comely Nell, the dam of 1976 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Bold Forbes. A speedy son of Irish Castle who began his career in Puerto Rico, Bold Forbes was transferred to Laz Barrera, who expertly developed the speedball into a classic winner with the aid of Angel Cordero. Check out Angel’s cheeky ride of Bold Forbes in the Derby here, where he gets a big early lead, keeps looking around like a thief while relaxing the ex-Puerto Rican, and then outlasts Honest Pleasure in the straight. Laz got Bold Forbes ready for the Belmont with long, slow, gallops, and again “stole” another classic.
Stamina, however, shouldn’t pose a problem for Jan Vermeer. His sire can get runners to go as far as they write races on the flat these days.