Research credit to Jeff Scott in April 17, 2015 article entitled "Mr. Prospector continues to rule US classics" published on www.thoroughbredracing.com.
In the world of finance and investments, there is a research concept of "top down" or "bottom up" (credit to Trey Songz & Nicki Minaj) securities analysis. Applying this methodology to the projected Kentucky Derby 142 field, I will be covering the top down approach of evaluating the past two decades classic (KY Derby, Preakness & Belmont) sire line victors (credit to Victor Espinoza) rather than the merits of each individual horse. That will follow after the post-position draw. Speaking of Victor, let's start with the recency bias that American Pharoah was from the Mr. Prospector sire line via Pioneerof the Nile. BUT... his only inbreeding was to Northern Dancer and AP registered a dosage index of 4.33, just over the rule of thumb cutoff of 4.0.
In the last 21 years (63 triple crown races) we find an anomaly greater than Brad Cox's gaudy stakes winning percentage this year (credit @bradcoxracing). The number that screams off the page is classic races won by tail-male descendants of the legendary Mr. Prospector (Mr P). Register the first Triple Crown Champion since 1978 Affirmed in American Pharoah, 11 Kentucky Derbies, 12 Preakness Stakes (get your Preak on!) and 15 out of 21 editions of the Belmont Stakes. Come again?! You heard it right, the Mr P sire line has won over 60% of the top races for sophomores, mind-boggling. Due to multiple runners each year, his actual strike rate is just over 15%. Improbable Belmont winners Ruler on Ice and Drosselmeyer (credit to @WinstarFarm) in consecutive years is proof enough for me that sometimes at these testing distances, blood is thicker than water!
So let's apply this metric to the 20 candidates for Derby 142, shall we? Not surprisingly, Mr P is tied for the most progeny at 5; Gun Runner and Danzing Candy both are inbred to the great sire Fappiano while Suddenbreakingnews and Trojan Nation are inbred to Mr P himself rather close up. Finally, Exaggerator has Mr P's daddy, Raise a Native, coursing through his veins via 4s x 5d cross. If any of these are your bubble horses, you may want to give them a long second look for a top placing at Churchill Downs.
Logically, Northern Dancer ranks a clear 2nd with 10 winning grandsons or great-grandsons, but with nearly as many starters as Mr P diluting his strike rate to around 4%. Storm Cat is the near exclusive source of Northern Dancer in this year's Derby and he's had only one sire line winner (Shackleford 2011 Preakness) with nearly 90 starters of triple crown races, ouch! Naturally, the big white face of Shackleford was from a Mr P line mare (via Unbridled).This year Brody's Cause, Mor Spirit (who has 4 strains of ND on his page) and Destin lead the way for this line, while Oscar Nominated and Tom's Ready have inbreeding to ND.
Next comes the Bold Ruler sire line that dominated the 1970's (credit to John Denver and marijuana) with studs Secretariat (credit Penny Chenery), Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid (credit safety pin in hoof). The A.P. Indy line is blossoming today through his grandson Tapit (appropriately named at 300K a pop!). Creator, Lani and Mohaymen will try to sneak Tapit into the Twin Spires winner's circle -- seems bizarre it hasn't happened yet, but then again look at A.P. Indy's progeny record. Shagaf and My Man Sam are interesting in that they are inbred to Fappiano and Mr P, respectively.
That leaves us with a formerly dying vine of Caro (11 total wins but none in last 20+ years) prior to Uncle Mo's burst onto the Derby prep scene! For all the Nyquist "second coming" fans, I must point out his dosage index is a gaudy 7.0. While I'm not fully sold on the 4.0 or below rule myself I am more concerned with his 5X pedigree and just one trace of Mr P via a Seeking the Gold second dam. He may have to be the "Adonis" superstar as portrayed to overcome his speed oriented family tradition (credit to -- all together now -- HANK!). Outwork is bred eerily similar to Nyquist with one strain of Mr P and 2 strains of ND. Mo Tom is actually inbred 5s x 3d to Caro, so he has some "back class" to pull the extra distance from.
The final two outlier horses are Whitmore (Ribot line) who is inbred 4d x 5d to Mr P and Majesto, an In Reality male line that was briefly brought back to relevance by two-time BC Classic winning Tiznow, but seems to have fizzled lately.
Please don't blame me if this discussion changes your picks and screws you out of a big trifecta, but information is power!