Fathers and sons in the 2015 Preakness

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

May 10th, 2015

Although this year's renewal of the Preakness (G1) doesn't offer as many father-and-son story lines as the Kentucky Derby (G1), there are still a few intriguing connections.

Two contenders are by Preakness winners -- Dortmund is by Big Brown (2008), and Materiality is by Afleet Alex (2005).

Big Brown was completing a Derby/Preakness double. Dortmund wasn't able to emulate his sire's victory at Churchill Downs, where he finished third.

Afleet Alex, on the other hand, was moving forward off his Derby third when romping at Pimlico. Materiality would thus offer a bit more of a parallel with his sire (speaking strictly of the Derby-to-Preakness step). If he runs in the Preakness, the Derby sixth would likewise aim to move forward in the middle jewel.

Should either prevail, Big Brown or Afleet Alex would join an exclusive club.

Other father/son Preakness tandems include Man o' War (1920) and his Triple Crown sweeper War Admiral (1937); Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935), both Triple Crown winners; Bold Venture (1936) and his Triple Crown-winning progeny Assault (1946); Polynesian (1945), sire of Native Dancer (1953), in turn the sire of Kauai King (1966); Triple Crown star Citation (1948) and his son Fabius (1956); Bold Ruler (1957), sire of 1973 Triple Crown legend Secretariat, who himself sired Risen Star (1988); and the most recent duo of Summer Squall (1990) and Charismatic (1999).

Kentucky Derby champ American Pharoah had to work to go one better than his sire, Pioneerof the Nile, at Churchill Downs, but barring an unforeseeable debacle, he's certain to outperform his sire at Pimlico. Pioneerof the Nile threw in the worst effort of his life in the 2009 Preakness, retreating to 11th in what turned out to be an anticlimactic finish to his career.

Pioneerof the Nile's sire, Empire Maker, had skipped the 2003 Preakness en route to victory in the Belmont S. (G1). Empire Maker is himself by the 1990 Derby champ Unbridled, who finished second in his rematch with Derby runner-up Summer Squall in the Preakness.

2015 Derby runner-up Firing Line hopes to execute a similar form reversal at Pimlico, and in the process, avoid the fate of his paternal grandsire, Lion Heart. Likewise runner-up in his Derby in 2004, Lion Heart was a disappointing fourth behind Smarty Jones in the Preakness.

Potential new shooter Competitive Edge is reportedly unlikely to stretch out in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Interestingly, both his sire Super Saver and broodmare sire Cape Town underperformed at Pimlico. Super Saver, the 2010 Kentucky Derby hero, wound up eighth in the Preakness, and Cape Town, fifth in the 1998 Derby, regressed to ninth here.

New shooter Bodhisattva is out of a half-sister to Wilko, who was a creditable sixth in the 2005 Derby, but a long-way 12th in the Preakness.

Dortmund photo courtesy of Benoit.