Hot Rod Charlie, by Preakness winner Oxbow, is a half-brother to champion sprinter Mitole (Jamie Newell/TwinSpires.com)
If Hot Rod Charlie can win the Kentucky Derby (G1), he’d represent a breakthrough for his branch of the Northern Dancer sire line as well as a unique historic accomplishment for his dam.
Supersire Northern Dancer, the 1964 Derby and Preakness champion, is the direct male-line ancestor of several winners of the Run for the Roses. But so far, none have originated from the branch arising via son Vice Regent, who left a profound legacy in Deputy Minister.
A Canadian Hall of Famer on the racetrack and influential at stud, Deputy Minister sired such great fillies as Go for Wand and Open Mind; champion colt Dehere; and Touch Gold, who snuffed out Silver Charm’s Triple Crown bid in the 1997 Belmont (G1).
Arguably Deputy Minister’s best son, Awesome Again, also beat Silver Charm in one of the deepest editions of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in 1998. Awesome Again went on to sire Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, the record-setting star of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and three other Breeders’ Cup race winners – Wilko in the 2004 Juvenile (G1) along with Distaff (G1) queens Round Pond (2006) and Ginger Punch (2007).
Himself a Canadian classic winner in the 1997 Queen’s Plate, Awesome Again is responsible for two U.S. classic heroes – 2019 Belmont victor Sir Winston and 2013 Preakness (G1) scorer Oxbow, Hot Rod Charlie’s sire. Oxbow was overlooked at 15-1 that day, having gone winless since his Lecomte (G3) romp at Fair Grounds early in the season. But he sprang the upset at Pimlico, thanks to a heady front-running ride by un-retired Hall of Famer Gary Stevens.
Oxbow, also runner-up in that year’s Belmont, is closely related to 2012 Belmont near-misser Paynter. Both are by Awesome Again and out of full sisters to Hall of Famer Tiznow, the only two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner (2000-01).
Hot Rod Charlie is the leading performer so far for Oxbow, whose other notable progeny include 2018 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) vixen Coach Rocks; Blackberry Wine, briefly on the 2020 Derby trail; and well-regarded Dubai Carnival runner Tuz.
Oxbow’s classic-oriented pedigree helps to balance the speed that Hot Rod Charlie inherits from the maternal side of his ancestry.
Hot Rod Charlie’s dam, Indian Miss, is best known for producing the champion male sprinter of 2019, Mitole. Capping his brilliant season in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), Mitole dominated the seven-furlong Churchill Downs S. (G1) and Forego S. (G1) and stretched his speed as far as a mile in the Metropolitan H. (G1).
No dam of a Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner has produced the winner of a Triple Crown race, so Hot Rod Charlie could put Indian Miss in the record book.
One other mare has had a similar chance – Silken Cat. The dam of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champ Speightstown, Silken Cat later in life delivered Irap, the 2017 Blue Grass (G2) hero, who wound up 18th behind Always Dreaming in the Kentucky Derby. Ironically, Irap was trained by Doug O’Neill, now the trainer of Hot Rod Charlie.
Another mare worth mentioning in this context is Kanmary, dam of 1996 Breeders’ Cup Sprint victor Lit de Justice. Kanmary was also responsible for Colonel Collins, who had placed in three European classics in 1994.
Indian Miss is by Indian Charlie, the 1998 Santa Anita Derby (G1) hero and third-placer as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. That was his first and only loss, as he never raced again.
Indian Charlie has revived his sire line – tracing to *Nasrullah via *Grey Sovereign and Caro – by getting champion and outstanding stallion Uncle Mo. But Indian Charlie’s daughters have shown superb ability themselves, with Eclipse champions Indian Blessing and Fleet Indian as well as Canadian champs Roxy Gap and Indian Apple Is.
As a broodmare sire, Indian Charlie is responsible for Canadian Horse of the Year Biofuel and fellow Sovereign Award winner Tu Endie Wei; multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Quip; smart sprinters Frank’s Rockette, Gypsy Robin, and Switzerland; and current Kentucky Oaks (G1) hopefuls Crazy Beautiful, Dayoutoftheoffice, and Souper Sensational.
Indian Miss is herself a half-sister to 2013 Davona Dale (G2) heroine Live Lively. Their dam, Glacken’s Gal, won her only two career starts as a juvenile including the 2007 Astoria S.
Glacken’s Gal is a daughter of champion sprinter Smoke Glacken. The 1996 Hopeful (G1) romper was given his chance on the 1997 Derby trail. After airing in the Southwest (G3), Smoke Glacken was nabbed as a close third in the Louisiana Derby (G2), then held at 1 1/16 miles, and placed a distant second (to the aforementioned Touch Gold) in the Lexington (G3). He reverted to his optimal sprint trips for his final three outings, winning all to clinch an Eclipse Award.
Smoke Glacken’s Grade 1 winners were all fillies – millionaire On Fire Baby, Irish Smoke, and Persistently, who toppled then-reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the 2010 Personal Ensign (G1). A $1.5-million earner by Smoke Glacken, Smok’n Frolic, became the dam of Canadian champion Hunters Bay (by the aforementioned Ghostzapper).
Glacken’s Gal is herself out of Lady Diplomat, a multiple stakes-placed daughter of Silver Deputy. Because unbeaten Silver Deputy is a son of Deputy Minister, Hot Rod Charlie sports two crosses of Deputy Minister. Lady Diplomat’s dam, multiple Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Mercedes Miss, is by 1984 Travers (G1) victor Carr de Naskra.
The next mare in the matrilineal sequence, Kermis, is by the ultra-talented Graustark, who unfortunately suffered a career-ending injury before the 1966 Triple Crown. Kermis is out of Fiesta Libre, a multiple Grade 1-placed daughter of 1967 Preakness and Belmont-winning Hall of Famer Damascus.
Hailing from the family labeled 11-d, Hot Rod Charlie shares a mid-19th century ancestress in common with 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont champion Thunder Gulch. Their respective female lines converge in Claret Cup, whose dam Gramachree is a full sister to the celebrated stallion Birdcatcher and Faugh-a-Ballagh, sire of *Leamington (a leading U.S. patriarch and sire of the first Kentucky Derby winner, Aristides.)