Turf pedigree comes up roses in the Derby
Animal Kingdom is bred for the turf but proves a superior runner on dirt
by John P. Sparkman
It would be difficult to write a more turf-oriented pedigree than that of 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Animal Kingdom. In the first three generations of his pedigree, only two horses, his sire Leroidesanimaux (Brz) and Bubble Company (Fr), dam of Leroidesanimaux's sire Candy Stripes, even ran on dirt, and neither won. And yet, in his first start on dirt, Animal Kingdom blew away the field in the final eighth of the Derby.
Only two horses in the fourth generation of Animal Kingdom's pedigree, his great-great grandsire Red God and Navajo Princess, dam of Dancing Brave, the sire of Animal Kingdom's second dam, won on dirt. That did not stop Animal Kingdom from winning the first jewel of the American Triple Crown on May 7.
Animal Kingdom is from the second crop of 2005 champion turf male Leroidesanimaux, whose defeat in the 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) by Artie Schiller ended an eight-race win streak that stretched over two racing seasons. Winner of one of three starts and placed in the Grande Premio Associacao Brasileira de Criadores e Proprietarios de Cavalo de Corrida (Brz-G1) in his native Brazil, he lost his first North American start, before sweeping all before him for the next eighteen months. That streak included wins in the 2004 Citation (G1), Inglewood (G3), and Morvich (G3) Handicaps, and the '05 Atto Mile (Can-G1), Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (G1), and Fourstardave Handicap (G2).
A half-brother to Brazilian Group 1 winner Uapybo, by Blush Rambler, out of a half sister to the dams of leading French sire Dansili and Grade 1 or Group 1 winners Banks Hill (GB), Cacique (Ire), Champs Elysees (GB), Heat Haze (GB), Intercontinental (GB), and Promising Lead (GB), Leroidesanimaux retired to Richard and Audrey Haisfield's Stonewall Stud at a fee of $30,000 in 2006. A lengthy, handsome, correct horse very much in the mold of his line-founding grandsire Blushing Groom (Fr), Leroidesanimaux's stud career may have been hampered by the financial difficulties Stonewall encountered. Leroidesanimaux transferred to Stonewall's Ocala, Florida farm for the 2011 season, where he stands for a fee of $7,500.
Animal Kingdom is his third stakes winner and third graded winner from 140 foals age three and up, following multiple Grade 2 winner Always a Princess (out of Gabriellina Giof [GB], by Ashkalani) and Grade 3 winner Leroy's Dynameaux (Dyna Peak, by Dynaformer).
Animal Kingdom is the first foal of his dam, Dalicia (Ger), by the great German racehorse and sire Acatenango, a mare whose pedigree is German or Hungarian for nine generations. Bred in Germany by Carlton Consultants Ltd., Dalicia won only three of 21 starts, but one of those three wins came in the 2005 Preis der Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe (Ger-G3), where she beat multiple Group 1 winner Soldier Hollow by two lengths over 2,000 meters (9.96 furlongs). Imported to America by Team Valor and the Haisfields's Nevertell Racing Stable, Dalicia won one of five starts, a ten-furlong optional claimer over Santa Anita's turf course.
Dalicia is a full sister to Darwinia, dam of Daveron (Ger), by Black Sam Bellamy, winner of the Beaugay Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park on Derby day. Dalicia's dam Dynamis, by Dancing Brave, is half sister to Henckel Rennen (Ger-G2) (German One Thousand Guineas) winner Diacada, by Cadeaux Genereux), German highweight Desidera, by Shaadi, and stakes winner Diable, by Big Shuffle, from a family that has been producing top Central European stakes winners for 100 years.
Animal Kingdom is inbred 4x4 to Lyphard, with an inbreeding coefficient of 0.88%. Although his pedigree is basically an outcross, he is, in theory, inbred for ability on the turf.
That did not slow him down in the 2011 Kentucky Derby.