Preakness winner Bernardini (A.P. Indy – Cara Rafaela, by Quiet American) has 13 Triple Crown nominees this year, third behind only Uncle Mo (19) and Tapit (16). Standing at Darley for $100,000 in 2016, the same as his entry fee in 2007, the stallion has been on an extended roll since last summer after a bit of a lull that saw his fee drop to $85,000 in 2015. I profiled the stallion here as his first crop raced in 2010, and five-plus years later it’s safe to say he’s the real deal and one of many representatives of the A.P. Indy sire line that are seemingly involved in the classics picture year after year. In fact, with the Fappiano branch of Mr. Prospector, the A.P. Indy branch of Seattle Slew (which includes Tapit) appears to be the ticket into the Triple Crown trail and Bernardini is doing his part.
The Bernardinis, like their sire, really get going early at 3, though Bernardini has had his share of late-season 2-year-olds as well like Rachel’s Valentina, winner of the G1 Spinaway Sept. 5; Greenpointcrusader, winner of the G1 Champagne Oct. 3 (inbred Fappiano 4×3); and Lewis Bay, first in the G2 Demoiselle Nov. 28 (inbred 3×3 Weekend Surprise).
But some of his recent maiden and allowance winners are building the anticipation that even more is to come, and they include, among others:
Shagaf: 2 for 2 and $58,800 in earnings. Won a mile maiden special at Aqueduct Nov. 22 on his debut by six lengths and an AOC over the same trip on Jan. 29 at Gulfstream. Inbred 4×4 Fappiano. A homebred.
Battery: 1 for 3 and $34,587. A Canadian-bred colt and possible Queen’s Plate contender. Won a mile and sixteenth maiden special at Gulfstream West by three-and-a-quarter lengths on Nov. 21 and ran second to the highly regarded Paddy O’Prado colt Cherry Wine over the same distance on Jan. 9. He’s scheduled to race next in an AOC on Feb. 10. A $300,000 yearling and $350,000 2-year-old.
Zulu: 2 for 2 and $46,800. Won a six-furlong maiden special at Gulfstream Dec. 5 by two lengths in 1:10.08 and returned on Jan. 15 at the same track to score by seven-and-a-quarter lengths over seven furlongs. Inbred 3×3 Weekend Surprise. A $400,000 yearling and $900,000 2-year-old.
Malibu Sunset: 1 for 1 and $24,000. Won a six-furlong maiden special at the Fair Grounds by 10 1/2-lengths on Jan. 31. He has since been transferred to Bob Baffert in California. Inbred 4×4 Secretariat. A $240,000 yearling. More on his pedigree here.
Bernardini has 13 G1 winners to date and he will probably add to that total by the end of the year, judging by the potential of his current 3-year-olds.