Saturday’s Belmont S. (G1) is three furlongs shorter than customary, but there’s no reduction in the pedigree influence of late Hall of Famer A. P. Indy. The hero of the 1992 Belmont factors in the ancestry of six of the 10 runners.
Four contenders descend from A. P. Indy’s outstanding grandson Tapit, led by heavy favorite Tiz the Law. From the first crop of Tapit’s son Constitution, Tiz the Law aims to become the first New York-bred to win the Belmont since Forester (1882). According to NYRA, two other Empire State natives had won in the early years, inaugural heroine Ruthless (1867) and Fenian (1869).
Tiz the Law is out of Tizfiz, a Grade 2-winning daughter of Hall of Famer Tiznow, who perpetuates the sire line of 1920 Belmont romper Man o’ War. Tiznow has sired a Belmont winner in Da’ Tara, the shocker in the 2008 running. Tizfiz is in turn out of a mare by Go for Gin, the 1994 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Belmont runner-up.
Tiz the Law’s pedigree features three crosses of 1977 Triple Crown legend Seattle Slew. Sire of A. P. Indy, “Slew” also appears in the dam's side of Constitution as well as in Tiznow (whose dam is by Seattle Song).
Tapit himself is the sire of Tap It to Win, who bids to give his leading sire a fourth Belmont winner. In addition to the victorious Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016), and Tapwrit (2017), four other Tapit sons have placed in the Belmont – Frosted (2015) was second to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, Lani was third to Creator in 2016, Hofburg (2018) finished third to Triple Crown star Justify, and Tacitus was runner-up last year. Tap It to Win’s dam is by Medagalia d’Oro, who was just denied in the 2002 Belmont, and comes from the family of champion filly Songbird.
Tapit is the broodmare sire of stablemates Jungle Runner (by Candy Ride) and Pneumatic (by Uncle Mo). Jungle Runner’s second dam (granddam) is by 1993 Belmont winner Colonial Affair, and his third dam (great-granddam) is by Triple Crown sweeper Affirmed. As discussed going into the Matt Winn (G3), Pneumatic’s dam is a close relative of Pyro.
Modernist is bred along similar lines to Pneumatic, as a son of Uncle Mo from an A. P. Indy-line mare. Modernist’s dam, Symbolic Gesture, is by A. P. Indy’s champion son Bernardini. Her pedigree interestingly includes both Spectacular Bid, who infamously lost his Triple Crown in the 1979 Belmont, and his familiar foe Flying Paster. Spectacular Bid turns up on Bernardini’s dam’s side, while Flying Paster factors in Symbolic Gesture’s dam, Sweet Life. Honored as Broodmare of the Year for 2009, Sweet Life produced that year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Life Is Sweet as well as 2004 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) champion Sweet Life.
Max Player is from the first crop of another champion son of A. P. Indy, Honor Code, who is inbred to the immortal Secretariat. The 1973 Triple Crown conqueror appears in Honor Code’s pedigree through two of his key daughters – Weekend Surprise, the dam of A. P. Indy, and Terlingua, the dam of Storm Cat. Honor Code is out of a Storm Cat mare descended from Hall of Famer Serena’s Song.
Max Player’s maternal half is also noteworthy. His dam, stakes winner Fools in Love, is by Not for Love who is also the broodmare sire of California Chrome. Fools in Love has produced three other stakes performers besides Max Player, most notably Aidan O’Brien’s Group 2 winner Seahenge.
Turning to the remaining four without A. P. Indy:
Stablemates Dr Post and Farmington Road are both by Quality Road. From the Mr. Prospector male line, Quality Road is by Elusive Quality, the same sire as Smarty Jones who suffered an agonizing Belmont loss that cost him the 2004 Triple Crown. Dr Post’s dam is the Grade 2-winning sprinter Mary Delaney, by the Storm Cat stallion Hennessy. Farmington Road is out of a half-sister to turf marathoner Silverfoot.
Fore Left hails from the “Mr. P” line but by a different way, through his son Fappiano. He comes from the same branch as the aforementioned Jungle Runner. Fore Left is by the Candy Ride stallion Twirling Candy and out of a mare by Unbridled’s Song. Because both Candy Ride and Unbridled’s Song descend from Fappiano, Fore Left is inbred to that influential sire.
Sole Volante is the only runner representing Storm Cat’s sire line, but his more significant pedigree angle is inbreeding to a fantastic racemare – European celebrity Miesque. The two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) queen is the ancestress of Sole Volante’s sire, Karakontie, and she is also the dam of Sole Volante’s broodmare sire, Kingmambo.
Karakontie, himself the Breeders’ Cup Mile winner in 2014, is by Bernstein, who also sired champion turf mare and 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine Tepin. Karakontie’s dam is by Sunday Silence, whose 1989 Triple Crown attempt was thwarted by Easy Goer in the Belmont.
Sole Volante’s dam, the Kingmambo mare Light Blow, is a full sister to 2007 Epsom Oaks (G1) winner Light Shift who produced European champion Ulysses. This is also the family of U.S. champion Main Sequence.