Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: Chares

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

March 4th, 2020

Chares may have scored an impressive front-running victory in the 1-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition S. at Kempton Park, earning 20 qualification points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby. But from a pedigree perspective the Jane Chapple-Hyam-trained colt seems an unlikely candidate to wear the roses on the first Saturday in May.

Chares hails from the first crop of Ivawood, an Irish-bred son of Zebedee. The latter was an early-maturing sprinter who won six of his seven starts, including the 5-furlong Flying Childers (G2), and Ivawood generally followed in his sire’s footsteps as a racehorse. Ivawood peaked at age two, winning the July (G2) and Richmond (G2) sprinting 6 furlongs, though he trained on well enough at three to finish third behind standout miler Gleneagles in the 2000 Guineas (G1) and Irish 2000 Guineas (G1).

Chares Pedigree Profile
Zebedee (GB)
Ivawood (IRE)
Keenes Royale (GB)
Chares (GER)
TItus Livius (FR)
Coco Demure (IRE)
Alma THomas (IRE)

With Ivawood appearing more likely to sire sprinters and milers than genuine stayers, Chares will have to rely on his dam, Coco Demure, for a dose of stamina. Coco Demure’s lone victory came running a mile at Siracusa in Italy, and her first three foals have all been successful going a mile or further. In fact, Coco Demure’s daughter White Chocolate (by Mastercraftsman) won three races running 1 1/4 miles on the flat before switching to hurdles and winning over two miles on Jan. 20.

This is a bit surprising since Coco Demure is a daughter of Titus Livius, a three-time group stakes-winning sprinter whose foals compiled an average winning distance of just 7.4 furlongs. At stud, Titus Livius tended to sire sprinters and milers, including Hong Kong Classic Mile (G1) winner Tiber and the group stakes winners Golden Titus, Sehrezad, Titus Shadow, and Ricine. Tiber did manage to win a 1 1/4-mile handicap at Goodwood, but the others never won running a step beyond a mile.

Chares did defeat a quality field in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition S., proving he can handle at least a mile. But all distance proclivities aside, Chares’ pedigree is an unknown commodity as far as dirt racing is concerned. From top to bottom, his pedigree is packed with the bloodlines of European grass stars. Longer distances and dirt remain major questions marks for Chares, and since previously established plans call for the colt to race in Hong Kong this year, he seems more likely to achieve glory on grass than on dirt in the Kentucky Derby.