Guest Suite Has the Derby Goods
By Casey Laughter
Farish and Kilroy’s early Kentucky Derby (GI) hopeful Guest Suite showed that he can handle any track condition winning from off the pace in the slop at Fair Grounds in the Lecomte Stakes (GIII) last weekend. Overall the son of Quality Road and the Ghostzapper mare Guest House has won three of his five races and also placed in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs before winning an allowance optional claiming event at the same track for trainer Neil Howard. So now the gelding has earned 10 points toward the Kentucky Derby, the question is now, can he make the gate?
Guest Suite’s amazing pedigree says he’s more than capable. His sire, Quality Road, is represented by runners who can handle to turns, including Klimt, Hootenany and Abel Tasman. Sons and daughters of Quality Road are winning at an average distance of 7.12 furlongs while Quality Road was able to win up to nine and place at ten furlongs.
The pedigree behind Quality Road continues to lead us to believe Guest Suite can get the longer distances as well. Sire Elusive Quality sired Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner Smarty Jones and his damsire, Strawberry Road, has been an influential source of stamina around the globe. Other notable names appearing on Guest Suite’s top include winner Secretariat, Gone West, Alydar and his daughter Kobla, who is the dam of Quality Road. Additionally, there is influence from Sir Ivor, Northern Dancer through Nijinsky II and the Bold Bidder line from Bold Ruler.
Nijinsky II has been a leading influence in stamina for decades, siring horses like Green Dancer, Royal Academy and Shadeed. Additionally, Nijinsky II has influences from Hyperion, Polynesian, Native Dancer, Bull Lea and Blue Larkspur. Major sire lines, Northern Dancer, Alydar (Raise a Native), Native Dancer and Secretariat (Bold Ruler) all trace back to highly influential Eclipse.
Guest Suite’s dam, Guest House, has produced three horses of racing age so far, including a 2-year-old of 2017. She has a 2017 yearling by Noble Mission, as well, but Guest Suite is the only foal of hers yet to race. The now 9-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper managed to win only one of her ten starts and was a sprinter, with her lone victory coming at 5 1/2 furlongs, but the pedigree behind this mare is a reassurance that her son can get the classic distance.
Guest House is out of Welcome Surprise, who is a daughter of Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise, by Seeking the Gold. Weekend Surprise, who won two grade 3s and was also multiple grade 1-placed, is the dam of Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall and Belmont Stakes (GI)/Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) hero leading sire A.P. Indy. Welcome Surprise also sired Mr. Sekiguchi, a son of Storm Cat who was sold for $8 million as a yearling and is now a stallion in New York.
Guest House’s sire, Ghostzapper was crowned 2004’s Horse of the Year after winning black type races from six to 10 furlongs. As a sire Ghostzapper has been represented by some quality runners, but none yet to have reached his standout caliber. His offspring are winning at an average distance of 7.21 furlongs and his best include Judy The Beauty, Moreno, Za Approval, Shaman Ghost and Paulassilverlining. However, as a broodmare sire, he is flattered by Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) hero Drefong, who was honored as 2016’s champion male sprinter at the Eclipse Awards.
Ghostzapper has an “old time” pedigree, being the son of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again and out of the Relaunch mare Baby Zip, who is also dam City Zip and City Wolf. Relaunch is a son of In Reality, one of the most prevalent lines remaining that still carries Man O’ War blood. Additionally Ghostzapper hails from the Deputy Minister line of Northern Dancer, arguably one of the strongest and most influential strains. Ghostzapper also gets doses of Nashrullah through Awesome Again’s dam, Primal Force, a daughter of Blushing Groom. There is also influence from Tom Fool, a five-time champion and 1965 leading broodmare sire in England and Ireland. Tom Fool sired Buckpasser and Tim Tam, the 1958 Kentucky Derby & Preakness winner.
So clearly Guest Suite does have very classy breeding on both sides and has shown he can carry himself two turns. There is inbreeding throughout the pedigree, including Mr. Prospector (4Sx4D), Secretariat (5Sx4D), Raise a Native (5Sx5Sx5D), Gold Digger (5Sx5D), and Buckpasser (5Dx5D).