Derby Contenders

Prep Race History

PDF Download Past Performances
Date Race Grade Distance Finish Chart Replay
Apr 7 2012 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial Aqueduct I 1 1/8 Miles 2 REPLAY
Feb 4 2012 Withers Aqueduct III 1 1/16 Miles 1 REPLAY
Nov 5 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Churchill Downs I 1 1/16 Miles 11 REPLAY
Oct 8 2011 Champagne Belmont Park I 1 Mile 2 REPLAY


Kiaran McLaughlin


Kiaran began his career as an assistant trainer for top trainers including D. Wayne Lukas. After a stint training in the United Arab Emirates where he was the leading conditioner in Dubai three different times, McLaughlin returned to the United States with his own string of horses. In 2006, he trained Belmont Stakes winner Jazil as well as Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year Invasor, who would go on to win the 2007 Dubai World Cup. Other top horses include Henny Hughes, Lear's Princess, It's Tricky, Soldat and Flashy Bull. Kiaran has started four horses in the Kentucky Derby with his top finisher, Closing Argument, being a close second in 2005.

Rajiv Maragh


Maragh grew up in the horse racing industry in his native Jamaica. Maragh’s father was a jockey but he forced Rajiv to earn his high school diploma before he was allowed to ride a racehorse. His first winner came aboard Pricedale Kid on February 1, 2004 at Tampa Bay Downs. His breakout year came in 2009 winning the Apple Blossom (G1) aboard Seventh Street at Oaklawn Park, the Ballerina (G1) at Belmont and Belldame (G1) at Saratoga on Music Note, and the Just A Game Stakes (G1) at Belmont with Diamondrella. Maragh’s only Kentucky Derby start came in 2010 aboard Louisiana Derby (G1) winner Mission Impazible who finished 9th.



Godolphin is a global racing operation founded by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister and ruler of Dubai. In 1996 he founded the Dubai World Cup which currently ranks as the world's richest race. Godolphin has won the Dubai World Cup five times including a win by Horse of the Year Invasor who captured the Breeders Cup Classic as well. They were named Eclipse champion owner in 2009 and consistently are among the top stables throughout Europe. Other top runners include Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, Daylami, Dubai Millenium, Street Cry, Fantastic Light, Tempera, Regal Ransom and Discreet Cat. Sheikh Mohammed also races under the Darley Stable banner.

  • Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese

  • Photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese


Bernardini--Munnaya, by Nijinsky II

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Alpha is equine royalty from top to bottom: by Bernardini, out of a mare by English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II, from a female line that has kept churning out high-class performers for more than a century.

Bernardini was honored as the champion three-year-old of 2006 on the strength of a six-race winning streak. The regally-bred bay developed too late to be ready for the Kentucky Derby, but quickly made up for lost time. After running away with the Preakness, he went on to dominate his opponents in the Jim Dandy, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup, and was just denied in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He retired with six wins and a second from only eight starts, and a bankroll of $3,060,480.

A third-generation classic winner, Bernardini is by A.P. Indy, hero of the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic during his 1992 Horse of the Year campaign, who is in turn by 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew.

Bernardini is already living up to his bloodlines by siring four Grade or Group 1 winners in his first crop. Of these, only Travers hero Stay Thirsty scored at the highest level at 1 1/4 miles. The others have excelled at a mile -- Cigar Mile victor To Honor and Serve, Frizette heroine A Z Warrior and Italian Gran Criterium scorer Biondetti. His first crop also included Group 3 queen Theyskens' Theory, twice Group 1-placed on turf; Indiana Derby victor Wilburn; and Wood Memorial near-misser Arthur's Tale.

Alpha is one of the highlights from Bernardini's second crop, in addition to fellow Derby hopeful Algorithms and Group 2 victress Gamilati, winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas and an English classic contender. The future looks bright given the quality of his book of mares. 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta is currently carrying a Bernardini foal, and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra is due to visit him this season.

Alpha's dam, Munnaya, raced just four times in England. Her lone victory came in the 1 3/8-mile Oaks Trial at Lingfield, but she also finished third in the Pretty Polly (named after her direct maternal ancestress) at Newmarket and a decent fifth in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot.

Munnaya has produced 11 runners. Nine are winners, five at or beyond the 1 1/4-mile distance. Five of her winners are stakes performers. Alpha, her youngest to race, is also her most accomplished. His notable half-siblings include French stakes victress and Group 3-placed Mystic Melody; French stakes-placed Yaya and Dubai stakes-placed Numaany; and multiple Grade 2-placed Lavender Sky.

Munnaya was sired by the legendary Nijinsky, likely the last horse ever to achieve the English Triple Crown. An unbeaten champion two-year-old in England and Ireland, the son of Northern Dancer went on at three to sweep the 2000 Guineas at one mile, the Epsom Derby at 1 1/2 miles and the St Leger in excess of 1 3/4 miles. He also landed the Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes during that golden 1970 season.

Nijinsky became an exceptional stallion. Aside from turning a rare double by siring both a Kentucky Derby winner (Ferdinand in 1986) and Epsom Derby winners (Golden Fleece in 1982, Shahrastani in 1986 and Lammtarra in 1995), he was responsible for such champions as Canadian Hall of Famer Sky Classic, Breeders' Cup Mile hero Royal Academy, French classic victors Green Dancer and Caerleon. Nijinsky's male line isn't as dominant as others of the Northern Dancer tribe, but it's still around -- its latest star is unbeaten Australian sensation Black Caviar, a paternal granddaughter of Royal Academy.

Nijinsky's daughters have carved out a permanent place in the breed, producing Hall of Famers Sky Beauty and Flawlessly; European Horse of the Year and American turf champ Fantastic Light; Japanese super-siblings Dance in the Dark, Dance in the Mood and Dance Partner; and a raft of champions from sprinters like Rubiano, turf milers like Russian Rhythm, dirt routers like Heavenly Prize, and extreme stayers like Sadeem. Moreover, Nijinsky mares factor in the families of many more stand-outs, such as noted stallion Pulpit, champion Blame and current Derby hopeful Union Rags.

Munnaya is out of Hiaam, a Group 3-winning daughter of Hall of Famer Alydar, best remembered for his epic battles with 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Hiaam is out of Canadian champion and Broodmare of the Year Kamar, making her a half-sister to 1990 Kentucky Oaks queen Seaside Attraction, Canadian champion and classic winner Key to the Moon, and multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Gorgeous.

Kamar is herself a full sister to Grade 1 heroine Love Smitten, the dam of multiple English champion Swain. Kamar and Love Smitten are out of Canadian Hall of Famer Square Angel, a champion on the racetrack and a prolific broodmare. She comes from the same female line as Canadian Hall of Famer Nearctic, the sire of Northern Dancer. Nearctic and Square Angel trace to the great racemare Pretty Polly, a fan favorite in England right after the turn of the 20th century.

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