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Storm Cat ‘Voodoo’ Kentucky Derby Curse Poised to End

Storm Cat ‘Voodoo’ Kentucky Derby Curse Poised to End: According to a Washington Post author, Storm Cat progeny are 0 for 44 in the Kentucky Derby since 1988. The trend includes horses with Storm Cat anywhere in their pedigree, whether on the sire or dam side, and no matter if Storm Cat is buried three generations ago. For example, the expected 2015 Kentucky Derby favorite American Pharoah and second choice Dortmund both call Storm Cat as family because he sired both of their damsires.

Kentucky Derby 2015

American Pharoah, pictured above preparing for the 2015 Kentucky Derby, and second choice Dortmund both call Storm Cat as family because he sired both of their damsires.
Photo:LATT

Most Derby trends break though, such as the notion that fillies or geldings could not win, the Dosage Index theory and curses regarding certain post positions. Besides American Pharoah and Dortmund, the same author notes the other pending Storm Cat victims this year are Carpe Diem, Tencendur, Firing Line and Mr. Z. Wait a second, are not some of those horses talented?

Without further research, the 0 for 44 statistic fails to explain which horses lost, whether they had a realistic chance, what their entire pedigree looked like, plus the connections and how they traditionally fare at the Derby. Therefore, the curse is flawed from a raw perspective without further critical analysis.

Three of the last four finishers in last year’s Derby had Storm Cat somewhere in their pedigree: Harry’s Holiday, Wildcat Red and Vicar’s In Trouble. Their losses can be explained by reasons not relating to Storm Cat. Every year, a bunch of hopeless longshots enter the Derby because their connections “want to take a shot,” especially after mega-longshot Mine That Bird won in 2009. Out of those three, only Wildcat Red held a reasonable argument for winning as the reigning Fountain of Youth winner and Florida Derby runner-up. Wildcat Red’s speed figures gave the impression he ran fast enough to become a Derby winner.

The other three horses simply ran too slow in their prep races to receive heavy consideration (yes, arguably even Vicar’s In Trouble). Do slow or untalented horses count in this curse? If so, that would prove a terrible flaw. Good sires create slow horses all the time, no matter how many talented ones come.

Even A.P. Indy, one of the great long-distance influences in the modern thoroughbred, sired numerous slow horses in his day. One of them was Mr. Besilu, a son of not only A.P. Indy, but the stakes winning router Balance. Mr. Besilu failed to win a single race in seven tries. Should that fact be held against A.P. Indy’s route statistics and any horse descending from him or his sons?

In 2012, Bodemeister ran one of the greatest losing performances in Derby history, outlasting future Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Trinniberg through a grueling first half, and just tiring in the final strides to the close range stalker I’ll Have Another. Bodemeister’s dam is Untouched Talent, a Storm Cat daughter. Yes, Bodemeister lost, but the colt gave no indication in his loss that 10 furlongs was a problem, while a true sprinter such as Trinniberg quit when they turned for home. In addition, Bodemeister possessed the right resume with a big win backed up by a huge speed figure in his final prep race.

An interesting question is, how many of those 43 other losing horses with Storm Cat in their blood possessed the same talent as Bodemeister, or boasted an experienced Derby winning trainer like Bob Baffert in their corner? How many of those horses were only “decent” and nothing more?

Going back to this year’s Derby, American Pharoah’s biggest pedigree flaw comes from his second dam Exclusive Rosette not producing a single route winner out of 11 horses. This fact is pointed out in a previous article. He comes from a line of sprinters on the bottom half, which is concerning and means the Pioneerof The Nile blood on top needs to cancel out the underneath sprinter influence. To be fair, those 11 horses never tried routing, perhaps a flaw in Exclusive Rosette’s statistic as much as Storm Cat’s Derby curse.

Expected second choice Dortmund offers a more compelling argument on his bottom side to run 10 furlongs. His third dam Lakeville Miss won the 1978 GI Coaching Club American Oaks at 12 furlongs. On his sire side, Big Brown captured the 2008 Derby. Like American Pharoah and Bodemeister, Dortmund is conditioned by Baffert, and he will know how to prepare his charge for a top effort.

Reasons to pick against either American Pharoah or Dortmund from non-pedigree angles include the pace, their competition leading up this race and betting value. But, if undecided on betting these two colts because of Storm Cat, just bet them. They are both talented, proven route horses and those types of runners win the Derby often.

Related Links:
Kentucky Derby 2015 Posts & Odds

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