This is the fifth in a series of articles written by Edwin Anthony examining the pedigrees of leading contenders for this year's Kentucky Derby. Previously, he looked at Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire, Florida Derby winner Quality Road, Santa Anita Derby winner Pioneerof the Nile and the talented Dunkirk.
This week, Anthony examines the bloodlines of I Want Revenge, who made a miraculous worst to first finish in the Wood Memorial after severely stumbling out of the gate. Anthony, who spent six years as the staff pedigree consultant for Three Chimneys Farm and has contributed to numerous publications, is the author of a newly published book, “The American Thoroughbred (Volume I).” Click here to learn more about the book. – Brad Cummings
I WANT REVENGE (Stephen Got Even—Meguial, by Roy)
By all indications, Stephen Got Even was a quality racehorse (G2 winner at 3, G1 winner at 4—on dirt) and has a pretty darn good pedigree (by A.P. Indy from a G1 placed Cox's Ridge mare, next dam is a G3 winner by Blushing Groom). But it seems that demand for his services in the breeding shed have waned somewhat in recent years, gauging by his unbelievably low $7,500 stud fee for 2009. This is somewhat difficult to process, given that we are talking about a horse that had the champion 2YO colt a few years ago (Stevie Wonderboy) and has also sired useful campaigners like Don't Get Mad (G2, $793,000 in earnings), For All We Know (G2, $292,000), Sweet Vendetta (G2, $224,000), and Steve's Double (G3, $479,000).
With this kind of capability, it should surprise no one that Stephen Got Even has come up with another tough and genuine racehorse in I Want Revenge, who proved capable of delivering an astonishingly brave effort in winning the Wood Memorial (G1) over the weekend. I've never made a complete list of ways that a horse can get into trouble during the running of a race, but I Want Revenge certainly tested the boundaries of what a horse can overcome and still win. Mind you, this wasn't the 3rd race at River Downs we're talking about (no offense to my friends in Cincinnati), this was the Wood Memorial—one of the most prestigious races on the racing calendar, against quality horses being forced to the limit in an effort to make it into the Kentucky Derby.
While he displayed speed and an explosive bit of acceleration during the stretch run of the Gotham (G3)—his first race on dirt—I Want Revenge was absolutely left at the start of the Wood Memorial. Only a patient ride by the young but skilled Joe Talamo allowed them to salvage victory from the jaws of defeat and enable the colt to gain valuable traffic experience in the process. One can guess that what transpired Saturday wasn't exactly what I Want Revenge's connections had planned, and a disastrous beginning seldom translates into such a rosy outcome. Thus, his ability to overcome such adversity bodes well for his chances in the Kentucky Derby (G1), where a troubled trip is not only probable; it is expected.
I have a bit of personal experience to glean from Stephen Got Even and his damsire, Cox's Ridge. My family raced Cox's Ridge, and he was undoubtedly the most sound and consistent racehorse that we have owned during 30+ years of racing. He was an excellent stallion for us (and others), siring forward extraordinary soundness in his progeny. I personally raced an allowance winner named Bullion from Stephen Got Even's first crop of runners, and he was both sound and a genuinely hard-trying racehorse.
I certainly endorse Stephen Got Even, and all that he seems to need to get a really nice campaigner (or even a G1 winner) is the willingness of a breeder to send him a quality mare. I Want Revenge is certainly a good example of this, given that his dam by Roy placed 2nd in both the Argentine 1000 Guineas (Arg-I) and Argentine Oaks (Arg-I).
It's not difficult to fall in love with I Want Revenge's chances of winning a classic race, going by his form line. He broke his maiden at 2 in California, and then lost a photo to subsequent Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Pioneerof the Nile in the CashCall Futurity (G1). He certainly has the jump on his competition prepping on synthetic surfaces, as he has logged two impressive victories on dirt and has already displayed the ability to overcome trouble. What does his pedigree tell us about his chances in the Triple Crown series?
While Stevie Wonderboy did not have the opportunity to run in the classics, he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) impressively and most of Stephen Got Even's progeny seem to prosper at a distance. His sire, A.P. Indy, is most definitely a classic influence, and Stephen Got Even himself won 2 notable races over 9 furlongs (1 1/8 miles). Cox's Ridge was capable of racing as far as the classic distance of 1 π miles and sired champions that could win G1 events going as far as 1 ∏ miles. I Want Revenge's damsire Roy was primarily a sprinter, being a son of Fappiano from a mare by Never Bend. Roy has a high concentration of the Frizette family in his pedigree, carrying 6 crosses, including tracing to her directly in tail-female line. This mixes well with Seattle Slew (sire of A.P.Indy), as he carries Frizette's daughter Frizeur (dam of Myrtlewood) 2x—neither of these sources being found in the pedigree of Roy. This Seattle Slew / Roy combination (and Frizette concentration) has already been seen in the pedigree of Great Hunter (G1), and now I Want Revenge makes 2 G1 winners bred that way.
We also see the Blushing Groom / Fappiano combination in I Want Revenge's lineage, which can also be found in the pedigrees of top performers like Awesome Gem (millionaire), Candy Ride (G1, undefeated), First Samurai (G1), Heatseeker (G1), Intangaroo (G1), Lady Joanne (Alabama), 2009 Lane's End (G2) winner Hold Me Back, 2009 G3 winner The Pamplemousse, and Broken Vow (G2, sire of G1 winners).
Beyond American-bred Roy, the dam side of I Want Revenge's pedigree has a very South American influence. Fitzcarraldo, the sire of his 2nd dam, was bred in Argentina and raced there, winning a G2 event and finishing among the top 4 in all 3 races that comprise the Triple Crown events in that country. Vervain, the sire of his 3rd dam, was 1st or 2nd in 7 of 8 starts in Europe, and was exported to Argentina to stand at stud.
In attempting to gauge the quality of the Fitzcarraldo / Vervain portion of I Want Revenge's pedigree, it is interesting to compare it to the family tree of Horse of the Year Invasor. In crossing these 2 pedigrees, we see a daughter of the stallion Cipayo in Invasor's pedigree, while Fitzcarraldo is a son of Cipayo. A mare named Twins is the 4th dam of Invasor, while a full-sister to Twins named Sigma Septima produced the stallion Stallwood, damsire of Fitzcarraldo. Needless to say, Invasor is closely related to Fitzcarraldo.
The European stamina influence Wild Risk sired the dam of Blushing Groom (grandsire of Invasor), while Wild Risk appears prominently in the pedigree of Vervain. Thus, the 2nd dam of I Want Revenge (a mare named Starry Night) has a pedigree that is very similar to that of Invasor. And given that Invasor was an entirely legitimate racehorse going 1 π miles (Breeders' Cup Classic, Suburban, Dubai World Cup), this would seem to bode well for I Want Revenge's chances of getting the Derby distance and possibly winning a classic. At the very least, one has to admire the horse's toughness. Personally, I hope that breeders will take note of Stephen Got Even's admirable habit of siring sound campaigners. The industry needs more good mares to visit stallions like him.
Edwin Anthony was the staff pedigree consultant at Three Chimneys Farm for six years and has penned dozens of articles on pedigree research. He recently published a reference book, The American Thoroughbred (Volume I), which can be ordered via the banner ad link on this this web page.
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