Arcangelo, by 2016 Travers conqueror Arrogate, beat Forte (green cap) and Tapit Trice (pink silks) in the Belmont (Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)
Saturday’s Travers (G1) is a veritable summit of leading three-year-olds, pitting last year’s champion juvenile Forte against the winners of the three Triple Crown races – Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Mage, Preakness (G1) scorer National Treasure, and Belmont (G1) victor Arcangelo.
Arcangelo is a son of the 2016 Travers
, whose track-record tour de force at Saratoga
was the first of his major wins. The gray would go on to beat California Chrome in that fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic
(G1), set another track record in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) at Gulfstream Park, and score a remarkable victory in the Dubai World Cup (G1) despite a bad start.
Arrogate was just inducted
into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. Arcangelo would add another laurel for his late sire, if they join the club of father-and-son Travers winners.
The third-place finisher in Arrogate’s Travers, and second in the Dubai World Cup
, was none other than eventual 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner
. Now a terrifically successful sire, Gun Runner sent out last year’s Travers runner-up, Cyberknife, in his very first crop. He has another contender on Saturday in Disarm
Both Disarm and Arcangelo are out of mares by the influential patriarch Tapit, sire of 2021 Travers champ Essential Quality as well as Saturday’s hopeful, Tapit Trice. Tapit has also sired four horses who placed in the Travers – second-placers Tacitus (2019) and Rattlesnake Bridge (2011) along with thirds Frosted (2015) and Tonalist (2014).
Forte comes from the same maternal line as Essential Quality. They descend from “blue hen” mare *La Troienne, ancestress of a total of six Travers winners. Moreover, those winners trace from four different daughters of *La Troienne, just one snapshot of her profound impact on the breed.
Essential Quality and Forte trace to the Baby League branch of the family, as does 1990 Travers victor Rhythm. Hall of Famer Easy Goer (1989) and Sea Hero (1993) are descendants of Big Hurry, while all-time great Buckpasser (1966) is a grandson of Businesslike. Ten Most Wanted comes from one of the lesser-known daughters, Belle of Troy.
Forte also has a Travers connection close up in his male line, as a paternal grandson of 2002 Travers winner Medaglia d’Oro. National Treasure likewise counts Medaglia d’Oro as a grandfather, but on the bottom half of the pedigree, as the sire of his dam.
Like Arcangelo and Disarm, National Treasure is the son of a past Travers participant. His sire, Quality Road, was third in the 2009 running. National Treasure is a direct matrilineal descendant of Masda, a full sister to the legendary Man o’ War, the 1920 Travers hero. A more recent Travers winner from Masda’s tribe is Stay Thirsty (2011).
Mage and the late-developing Scotland are both sons of champion Good Magic, whose career ended on an anticlimactic note when ninth as the favorite in the 2018 Travers. Good Magic is by Hall of Famer Curlin, whose Keen Ice famously upstaged Triple Crown star American Pharoah here in 2015.
Scotland’s dam is by Speightstown, sire of Golden Ticket who dead-heated with Alpha for the win in the 2012 Travers. Scotland hails from the family of 1979 Travers romper General Assembly, the track record-holder until Arrogate came along.
Mage’s dam, a daughter of 2008 Kentucky Derby champion Big Brown, descends from the same female line as Travers winners Fisherman (1954), Hall of Famer Twenty Grand (1931), and Rataplan (1884).
Disarm has a remote matrilineal link to one of the earliest Travers victors, Glenelg (1869). You have to go back to the late 18th century, however, to find their common ancestress, Lady Bolingbroke.
Arcangelo traces to the same maternal line as two Travers winners separated by nearly a century, Frank Gill (1907) and Birdstone (2004), while Tapit Trice belongs to the same tribe as Bold Reason (1971).
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