Since Spectacular Bid, the champion 2-year-old colt of 1978, won the Derby in 1979, two other champion juvenile colts have emulated him in the ensuing 36 years: American Pharoah in 2015 and Street Sense in 2007. This isn’t a flattering endorsement for championship form at 2 for the Derby, and it extends to the winners of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, too. Since the BC’s advent in 1984, Street Sense remains the only colt to win both races. And since 1998, the only 2-year-old G1 winners of the Derby are Real Quiet, Street Sense, and American Pharoah — two of them trained by Bob Baffert.
There’s another link among the three: each is a Mr. Prospector-line horse, and two of them, Real Quiet and American Pharoah, trace to Mr. Prospector through his son Fappiano — the sire of Derby winner Unbridled.
This year there are three 2-year-old G1 winners in the Derby field — champion Nyquist (Uncle Mo), Mor Spirit (Eskendereya; trained by Baffert), and Brody’s Cause (Giant’s Causeway) — and none traces to Fappiano.
Since 1990, when Unbridled won the Derby, 13 of 26 Derby winners, or 50 percent, have traced to Mr. Prospector in the sire line.
This year, only four horses trace to Mr. Prospector tail-male: Gun Runner (through Candy Ride via Fappiano), Exaggerator (Curlin via Smart Strike), Danzing Candy (Twirling Candy via Candy Ride to Fappiano), and Trojan Nation (Street Cry, sire of Street Sense).
This year, three sires or their sons are responsible for 10 of the 20 runners: Tapit (3) and his son Trappe Shot (1); Uncle Mo (3); and Giant’s Causeway (2) and his son Eskendereya (1).
Two of the last three Derby winners were from the A.P. Indy sire line, and this year there are six members of this line in the field: Mohaymen (Tapit), Lani (Tapit), Creator (Tapit), My Man Sam (Trappe Shot), Suddenbreakingnews (Mineshaft), and Shagaf (Bernardini).
Those are the facts.