Both of Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful Hit Show’s parents are celebrities. But if you look further, his ancestry includes lesser-known names.
Here are 12 pedigree fun facts on Hit Show:
1. Sire Candy Ride was unbeaten on dirt and turf on two continents.
Hit Show is by Candy Ride, a champion in his native Argentina who maintained his perfect record at the highest level of competition stateside. After a pair of romps in Group 1s over a metric mile on turf, Candy Ride was privately acquired by Sid and Jenny Craig, on the advice of Hall of Fame trainer John McAnally. He left a lasting impression from his three U.S. starts, most memorably beating Medaglia d’Oro in track-record time in the 2003 Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar.
2. Candy Ride sired Gun Runner as well as the dam of Epicenter.
Candy Ride has transmitted his brilliance as a sire of enduring significance. His champion offspring include Gun Runner, the 2017 Horse of the Year and record-setting first-crop sire, as well as Shared Belief and Game Winner. Candy Ride’s undefeated son Mastery hinted of championship caliber, only to sustain a career-ending injury before he could fulfill his potential. In addition to Hit Show, Candy Ride has other prospects on the 2023 Derby trail in Confidence Game and Geaux Rocket Ride.
Candy Ride’s daughters are likewise making an impact through their foals. Last year’s champion three-year-old male, Epicenter, is out of a Candy Ride mare. So are millionaire Search Results, the close second in the 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1), and Chocolate Gelato, heroine of last fall’s Frizette (G1), among others.
3. Candy Ride’s sire, Ride the Rails, traded decisions with stars on the 1994 Derby trail.
Candy Ride is a son of Kentucky-bred Ride the Rails, who mixed it up with Hall of Famer Holy Bull, champion Dehere, and the future Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin in early 1994. Ride the Rails upset Dehere in a Gulfstream Park allowance, then placed third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) to Dehere and Go for Gin, when Holy Bull was a subpar sixth. In the Florida Derby (G1), Ride the Rails was a distant second to a resurgent Holy Bull, leaving Go For Gin back in fourth. Ride the Rails was sent off as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby (G2), but wound up fourth to Concern, the eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) hero, and was sidelined.
4. Ride the Rails is by $3.3-million earner Cryptoclearance, a competitor in the 1987 Triple Crown.
Ride the Rails is a son of the deep-closing warrior Cryptoclearance, who posted 25 top-three finishes in stakes during a 44-race career. Victorious in the 1987 Florida Derby, he was fourth in the Kentucky Derby, third in the Preakness (G1), and second in the Belmont (G1). Cryptoclearance continued to perform at a high level as an older horse, retiring as a multiple Grade 1 winner with more than $3.3 million in earnings. He went on to sire champion Victory Gallop, best known for denying Real Quiet the Triple Crown in the 1998 Belmont, and Volponi, the upset winner of the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
5. Cryptoclearance is a son of the fantastic Mr. Prospector stallion Fappiano.
Fappiano, who scored his signature win in the 1981 Metropolitan H. (G1), has carved out his own branch of the prolific Mr. Prospector sire line. In addition to Cryptoclearance, Fappiano established his legacy through his 1990 Kentucky Derby-winning son Unbridled and Quiet American (sire of Real Quiet). Unbridled is himself the sire of Empire Maker (and thus paternal ancestor of Triple Crown sweeper American Pharoah) and the broodmare sire (i.e., maternal grandfather) of Tapit.
6. Hit Show is out of Actress, who broke her maiden on a big stage and later beat Hoosier Philly’s dam.
Actress finished second in her first two starts sprinting, including the 2017 Game Face S. at Gulfstream Park, but she clearly wanted distance. She got it next time out in the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico, where she rallied from well off a fast pace to win by a head. Runner-up Lights of Medina went on to produce Pioneer of Medina, a 2022 Kentucky Derby participant. Actress later exploded to an 8 1/4-length romp in the Comely (G3) at Aqueduct; the fourth-place finisher that day was Tapella, now known as the dam (mother) of Triple Crown-nominated Hoosier Philly.
7. Actress is a daughter of the influential patriarch Tapit.
Tapit, the 2004 Wood Memorial (G1) victor who was ninth in the Run for the Roses, has emerged as an outstanding sire. He’s responsible for a record-tying four Belmont winners, a feat previously managed only by 19th-century legend Lexington. Tapit has a gaggle of promising three-year-olds this season, including Tapit Trice. His influence is extending through such sons as Constitution, Frosted, and Tapwrit, and through his daughters. Aside from Hit Show, other Derby aspirants out of Tapit mares include Rocket Can, Red Route One (by Candy Ride’s son Gun Runner), and Kingsbarns.
8. Actress is out of Canadian champion and millionaire Milwaukee Appeal.
Milwaukee Appeal earned a Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion three-year-old filly of 2009. The winner of the Woodbine Oaks, she also just missed versus males in the first two jewels of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate (third by a neck) and Prince of Wales S. (second by a nose). Milwaukee Appeal placed in a total of 12 stakes, including the 2009 Alabama (G1) and 2010 Spinster (G1), and finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) (then called the Ladies’ Classic).
9. Milwaukee Appeal’s sire, Milwaukee Brew, is a two-time Santa Anita H. (G1) winner.
Milwaukee Brew joined an exclusive club by winning back-to-back runnings of the Santa Anita H. (G1). A four-length hero in 2002, Milwaukee Brew scored a repeat in 2003 by outstaying the brilliant and gutsy Congaree by a head. Ironically, his final career start came in Candy Ride’s Pacific Classic, where he trailed home last of four. Milwaukee Brew has a cosmopolitan pedigree. By Wild Again, the winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1984, Milwaukee Brew is out of a mare by South African great Wolf Power, from a French family.
10. Milwaukee Appeal’s dam, Appealing Forum, has some obscure stallions in her background.
Appealing Forum is by Open Forum, whose stakes win came in the 1997 Risen Star under a crafty front-running ride by Donna Barton Brothers. Although obscure as a stallion, Open Forum is a well-bred son of Deputy Minister from the family of champion Tempest Queen.
Appealing Forum’s dam was by successful sire Valid Appeal, but the next dams in the maternal line are daughters of stallions not often seen in pedigrees. Ohio-bred Here’s Inez is the only stakes winner by Venetian Court, a son of lesser-known 1960 Kentucky Derby winner Venetian Way. Here’s Inez is out of Ky. Morn, whose sire Kentucky Pride is a blue-collar full brother to Hall of Famer Real Delight. Ky. Morn’s maternal grandmother was by Morvich, an unbeaten champion two-year-old who became the first California-bred Kentucky Derby winner in 1922.
11. Appealing Forum sports a rare duplication in her pedigree.
Appealing Forum’s ancestry features two crosses of an uncommon influence, Royal Coinage. A son of Hall of Famer Eight Thirty and 1944 Kentucky Oaks vixen Canina, Royal Coinage was a top-class juvenile of 1954. He captured the Saratoga Special, Sapling S., and Great American S. in his only season of racing. Royal Coinage factors as the sire of the aforementioned Venetian Way, and one of Royal Coinage’s daughters appears as the ancestress of Open Forum.
12. This maternal line belongs to the celebrated American family number 1.
Tracing the direct matrilineal descent, one finds the great 19th-century matron Ballet, belonging to the tribe labeled American family number 1. Her ancestress Margaret Wood was presented to Kentucky statesman Henry Clay as a gift, and the Clay family played a noteworthy role in cultivating her equine family.
Six Kentucky Derby winners ultimately descend from Margaret Wood – Riley (1890), Azra (1892), Ben Brush (1896), Regret (1915), Exterminator (1918), and Gato del Sol (1982). The last trio traces to three different daughters of Ballet; Hit Show traces to yet another of Ballet’s daughters, Peg Woffington, by the legendary Longfellow.