Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Courvoisier

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

January 3rd, 2022

Of all the contenders for the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1), arguably none is as regally bred as Courvoisier. The Jerome S. winner boasts an extraordinarily productive pedigree… but will it translate to success in the Derby?

That’s an interesting question. Certainly stamina won’t be an issue for Courvoisier, who is bred top and bottom to relish racing 1 1/4 miles. His sire is Tapit, a grandson of 1 1/2-mile Belmont S. (G1) winner and legendary stamina influence A.P. Indy. Tapit himself is a three-time leading sire known for passing on stamina at stud, with Belmont S. winners Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016), Tapwrit (2017), and Essential Quality (2021) among his many long-winded Grade 1 winners.

Meanwhile, Courvoisier’s dam is Take Charge Brandi, the champion two-year-old filly of 2014 after rattling off victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), Starlet S. (G1), and Delta Downs Princess S. (G3). An accomplished route runner, Take Charge Brandi is a daughter of Giant’s Causeway (a three-time leading sire renowned as a source of stamina) out of Charming, which makes Take Charge Brandi a half-sister to 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Omaha Beach.

Even better, Charming is a daughter of Take Charge Lady, a three-time Grade 1-winning dirt router whose foals include champion three-year-old male Will Take Charge and Florida Derby (G1) hero Take Charge Indy—both successful sires who won Grade 1 races running 1 1/8 miles or farther. In other words, Courvoisier descends from one of the most productive female families of the last 20 years.

But does this mean Courvoisier is inevitably destined to win the Kentucky Derby? Not necessarily. As accomplished as his immediate family members might be, the Derby has been a trouble spot for them. Tapit has sired a dozen Kentucky Derby starters, but none has reached the winner’s circle. Much the same can be said of Giant’s Causeway, whose progeny have gone 0-for-9 in the Derby. And the descendants of Take Charge Lady have likewise come up short where the Derby is concerned, with Will Take Charge and Take Charge Indy finishing off the board in the Run for the Roses.

Winning the Kentucky Derby requires a blend of speed and stamina. The bloodlines of Tapit and Giant’s Causeway are clearly packed with stamina, but speed has been less evident. Cross these two bloodlines together, and you have a fantastic Belmont S. pedigree. But the Kentucky Derby might require more speed than Courvoisier’s otherwise powerful pedigree can provide.