Art Collector looks to make history for sire Bernardini in the Preakness Stakes (Coady Photography)
If Art Collector can topple Kentucky Derby (G1) star Authentic in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1), he would elevate sire Bernardini to an exclusive club.
Bernardini, the victor of the 2006 Preakness, stands to become the 10th winner of the Pimlico classic to sire one. The most recent was Curlin (2007), thanks to Exaggerator (2016). Prior to them, Summer Squall (1990) was responsible for Charismatic (2000).
The first was the immortal Man o’ War (1920), sire of Triple Crown sweeper War Admiral (1937). Next came Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935), still the only father-and-son Triple Crown heroes. Bold Venture (1936) sired Triple Crown winner Assault (1946), and Triple Crown legend Citation (1948) got Fabius (1956).
There are also two instances of a father/son/grandson sequence, making for three generations of Preakness winners. The Polynesian (1945)/Native Dancer (1953)/Kauai King (1966) triple was followed by Bold Ruler (1957), his Triple Crown record-setting son Secretariat (1973), and Secretariat’s greatest son, Risen Star (1988).
Bold Ruler is also the male-line ancestor of 1977 Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew, whose own line is on a sure footing through his son A. P. Indy, sire of Bernardini and grandsire of Tapit.
Thousand Words can also raise the historic profile of his sire, Pioneerof the Nile. His place in Thoroughbred racing history assured as the sire of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, Pioneerof the Nile would nevertheless distinguish himself with a second Preakness winner. He nearly attained that status in 2017, when his champion son Classic Empire was denied by Cloud Computing.
Pioneerof the Nile ran in the Preakness himself in 2009, but wound up a too-bad-to-be-true 11th in what turned out to be his final start. That Preakness is memorable for the exploits of Rachel Alexandra, the first filly in 85 years to succeed here.
Now the filly Swiss Skydiver will try to follow in her hoofsteps. She’s also hoping to become the first Preakness winner from the Halo sire line since Sunday Silence (1989). Swiss Skydiver’s sire, Daredevil, descends from another branch of Halo via More Than Ready.
Mr. Big News, by Storm Cat’s European great Giant’s Causeway and out of a Galileo mare, has Halo close up on his dam’s side. His second dam is a full sister to three of Halo’s most notable progeny – Glorious Song, Devil’s Bag, and Saint Ballado.
Authentic likewise hails from the Storm Cat male line, via his descendant Into Mischief. North America’s leading sire, Into Mischief came close to a Preakness score last year with Owendale, who was third to War of Will after an unfavorably wide trip.
Pneumatic is by champion Uncle Mo, who sired 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in his first crop. Nyquist was sent off as the 7-10 favorite next time out in the Preakness, but a ferocious pace duel in the slop took its toll as he tired to third behind mudlark Exaggerator.
Pneumatic’s dam, Teardrop, is by Tapit, who also sired Excession’s dam, Grade 1-placed Draw It. Excession is by 2012 Belmont (G1) hero Union Rags.
Tapit features prominently in the top half of the pedigree of Jesus’ Team, by Tapit’s son Tapiture. Jesus’ Team traces to A. P. Indy not only on his sire’s side, but on his dam’s as well since she is by the A. P. Indy stallion Suave.
Jesus’ Team shares a maternal bond with Liveyourbeastlife: both descend from the influential matron Golden Trail. Liveyourbeastlife, by Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, is a half-brother to Time and Motion, the 2016 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) winner. Their dam, Ellie’s Moment, is a three-quarter sister to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Brian’s Time, runner-up in the 1988 Preakness. Further back, this is the family labeled 4-r that produced six Preakness winners in the early years from 1882 (Vanguard) to 1911 (Watervale).
Max Player, a half-brother to British Group 2 scorer Seahenge, is from the first crop of A. P. Indy’s champion son Honor Code. Out of the Maryland-bred Fools in Love, a daughter of her home state’s longtime top sire Not for Love, Max Player is bred along similar lines to 2014 Derby and Preakness champion California Chrome.
Ny Traffic’s pedigree also echoes a productive cross. His sire, Cross Traffic, is by Unbridled’s Song, and his dam is by Graeme Hall, a son of Dehere. Unbridled’s Song sired two of his major winners from Dehere mares, champion Will Take Charge and Grade 1 hero Graydar.