Triple Crown and Mr Prospector Line

The victory of American Pharoah in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday was impressive indeed. The winner of the Kentucky Derby managed to win the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown in great style and will no doubt be odds-on favourite in the Belmont Stakes on June 6. If he is luckier than California Chrome last year, he could become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Affirmed, the last Triple Crown winner, was sired by Exclusive Native, one of the most successful sons of excellent sire Raise A Native. Raise A Native’s most successful son was Mr Prospector who had his first two-year-olds on the racecourse in the year when Affirmed won the Triple Crown. These were foaled from his stay in Florida where he launched his stud career with a fee of 7,500 dollars. This was not a small sum for Florida at that time, nevertheless it was just a fraction of his later fee at Claiborne Farm.

Mr Prospector, or his line, became the most successful producer of Triple Crown winners in the U.S. – so far it has produced thirty-one winners who won a total of forty-two U.S. Triple Crown races. Although Mr Prospector is predominantly a source of speed, the first victory by his progeny was achieved in the longest Triple Crown race, Belmont Stakes, won in 1982 by Conquistador Cielo. Three years later Tank’s Prospect won the Preakness Stakes but for the Kentucky Derby triumph Mr Prospector had to wait longer. It arrived thanks to Fusaichi Pegasus of Mr Prospector’s twenty-first crop. Before that, however, two of his sons, Fappiano and Gulch, had produced winners of the Kentucky Derby.

The last and longest Triple Crown race has seen most victories by horses of this line – sixteen in total and we are yet to see this year’s edition. Thoroughbreds of the Mr Prospector line have won fourteen times in the Preakness Stakes and twelve times in the Kentucky Derby.

Mr Prospector has produced winners of all three Triple Crown races and of his line the same feat was achieved by Unbridled, winner of the 1990 Kentucky Derby, sire of the Kentucky Derby winner (Grindstone), Preakness Stakes (Red Bullet) and Belmont Stakes (Empire Maker). The line established by his sire Fappiano is clearly the most successful branch of Mr Prospector’s line by victories in Triple Crown races. It has produced ten winners with twelve wins. In 1998 the branch won all three Triple Crown races – Real Quiet (Quiet American) won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and finished second in the Belmont, where he was beaten by Victory Gallop (Cryptoclearance). Mr Prospector’s line has won all Triple Crown races in a single season five times (1995, 1998, 2000, 2003 a 2004), and this year’s edition is still open..

Triple Crown races winners of Mr Prospector Line

year Kentucky Derby Preakness Stakes Belmont Stakes
1982 Conquistador Cielo
1985 Tanks Prospect
1986 Editors Note
1990 Unbridled
1991 Hansel Hansel
1995 Thunder Gulch Timber Country Thunder Gulch
1996 Grindstone
1998 Real Quiet Real Quiet Victory Gallop
1999 Lemon Drop Kid
2000 Fusaichi Pegasus Red Bullet Commendable
2001 Point Given Point Given
2002 War Emblem War Emblem
2003 Funny Cide Funny Cide Empire Maker
2004 Smarty Jones Smarty Jones Birdstone
2005 Afleet Alex Afleet Alex
2006 Jazil
2007 Street Sense Curlin
2009 Mine That Bird Summer Bird
2010 Lookin At Lucky Drosselmeyer
2011 Ruler On Ice
2012 I'll Have Another I'll Have Another
2013 Palace Malice
2014 American Pharoah American Pharoah ???

American Pharoah, the hope for the first Triple Crown in thirty-seven years, heads in the paternal line to the most successful branch of Mr Prospector’s line in the Triple Crown, Fappiano - Unbridled. His grandsire Empire Maker was the runner up to Funny Cide in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, but had his revenge in the Belmont taking the victory with Funny Cide third. Empire Maker, now at stud in Japan, has not produced a winner of Triple Crown races but his son Bodemeister, placed second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes two years ago. Three years before, in 2009, another of his sons Pioneerof the Nile finished second to Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby. Pioneerof the Nile was retired to stud after injury and his first season fee at Vinery Farm was 20,000 dollars. He covered 130 mares. His first crop included Social Inclusion who finished third in the Preakness Stakes behind California Chrome and Ride On Curlin. He thus became fifty-fifth horse of Mr Prospector’s line who won or placed in a race of the U.S. Triple Crown. Then came Social Inclusion, the biggest chance of Mr Prospector to take the Triple Crown. A brilliant two-year-old career and excellent performances in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes give a hope that this chance could be taken up.

Miloslav Vlček

Thanks very much, this is again a very interesting story for a pedigree freak like me.
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