Sunday, February 3, 2013

Derby Hopeful: Revolutionary

Derby Hopefuls feature the horses I view as the best contenders leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Each horse spotlighted in a Derby Hopeful will join the 2013 PTG Derby Hopeful roster, found on the right side of the blog. Horses will be listed in an order that corresponds to how highly I think of them, with the horse I think most highly of ranking at the top. A horse featured in a Derby Hopeful may be taken off the roster if its performances after its article are published are not up to par or if that horse is taken off the Triple Crown trail, though those articles will remain on my blog.

Saratoga in the summer is a land of promise for juvenile Thoroughbreds. Any impressive performance from a talented two-year-old often lands a horse on watch lists, with hopes focused upon the Kentucky Derby (GI), several months and more than 800 miles away. But it is typical for just the outstanding maiden winners to land themselves a position on watch lists, leaving the horses that ran well but did not find the winner’s circle to frequently be abandoned.

However, that is not the case for Revolutionary. Despite not winning his debut at Saratoga on closing day, Revolutionary earned himself a place on my list, being featured in a Juvenile Spotlight in September. Suffering a poor break from the gate, in which he was slammed into, Revolutionary was forced to check in the early stages of the five and one-half-furlong maiden special weight. The short distance of the race made it difficult for Revolutionary to regain his momentum, but despite also going wide prior to running greenly, the colt closed remarkably to finish a game third.

Following a runner-up finish at Belmont and a third-place result at Aqueduct, Revolutionary finally broke through with his first victory. Going to post in a one-mile maiden special weight over Aqueduct’s inner oval, Revolutionary settled just off the leaders and as the field neared the quarter pole, the colt surged to the lead and never looked back, coasting to a magnificent 8 ½-length victory that was just .73 seconds off the track record.

With his dominant triumph, Revolutionary turned heads as hopes for the Derby soared higher and higher. He made his graded stakes debut in his initial start as a three-year-old, the Withers Stakes (GIII) at Aqueduct. Breaking alongside Valid, who miraculously stayed up after a terrible stumble at the start, Revolutionary found a position along the rail near the rear of the field. The WinStar Farm-owned colt maintained a ground-saving trip down the backside, a handful of lengths separating him from the leader. The colt appeared full of run as the field approached the far turn, but he remained at the rear, a wall of horses in front of him. Revolutionary began to gain ground under minimal urging from Javier Castellano, departing his position on the rail to gallop around adversaries. But the Todd Pletcher trainee was force to weave his way through traffic and once he found room to run, the colt shot forward, accelerating in eye-catching fashion to find room between horses and win the race by a neck.

Revolutionary clearly has tremendous talent and ability to overcome trouble, but he also receives support from his pedigree. A son of the late 2007 Champion Two-Year-Old Male, War Pass, Revolutionary is a member of the first crop of his ill-fated sire, who died in 2010. War Pass was a result of the mating between Cherokee Run, a champion sprinter who produced nearly fifty black-type winners, and a black-type-placed Mr. Prospector mare, Vue. Though this side of Revolutionary’s pedigree suggests that he is limited to short distances, the colt receives assistance for stamina from his dam side.

The dam of Revolutionary is the grade one-winning Runup the Colors, an earner of $555,024. As a three-year-old, Runup the Colors won the ten-furlong Alabama Stakes (GI) at Saratoga. She is also the dam of Tafaseel, runner-up in the 2003 Jerome Handicap (GII), run at a mile, and Ice Road, who finished third in the nine-furlong Ohio Derby (GII). Revolutionary is sure to gain stamina from not only his classic-winning dam, but the ancestry from which his dam descends.

Revolutionary’s broodmare sire is A.P. Indy, a son of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew that won the 1992 Belmont Stakes (GI) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI). As a sire, A.P. Indy has produced nearly thirty grade one winners, including the outstanding distance horses Bernardini, Mineshaft, Music Note, and Rags to Riches. He has also proven to be a top broodmare sire of routers, yielding the dams of the likes of Bluegrass Cat, Super Saver, and Wait a While.

Notably, Revolutionary descends from a dam line abounding with Reine de Course mare, as he is a direct descendant of the legendary broodmare La Troienne, who is also found in the tail female line of the Derby winners Go for Gin, Sea Hero, Smarty Jones, and Super Saver. The nearest Reine de Course mare in Revolutionary’s dam line is his granddam, Up the Flagpole, a daughter of another Reine de Course mare in The Garden Club. Up the Flagpole was a graded stakes-winning runner who produced three grade one winners: Flagbird – a European champion who won at ten furlongs on two occasions; 2003 Broodmare of the Year Prospector’s Delite – a two-time grade one winner at or beyond a mile who produced the grade one winners Mineshaft (a Horse of the Year that won at ten furlongs twice) and Tomisue’s Delight (who won a Saratoga grade one at ten furlongs); and the aforementioned Runup the Colors, Revolutionary’s dam.

The sire of Revolutionary’s third dam, The Garden Club, is Herbager, a French champion who was excellent at long distances, winning the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud (GI) – run at 2,400 meters – and the Prix du Jockey Club (GI) – run at 2,100 meters.

Despite his speedy top side, Revolutionary clearly has a pedigree for distance. An absolutely beautifully bred colt, Revolutionary may be the bravest horse on the Derby trail, as he has proven many times that he can run well despite suffering a troubled trip. Time will tell just how good this colt is, but the sky is the limit for this colt.

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