The array of overseas monsters with their magnificent breeding rack up win after win on their quest to the Kentucky Derby. Their breeding usually always puts our guys to shame and they dazzle in their races. Toast of New York, Mendelssohn, Le Vent Se Leve, Thunder Snow and so many others were beasts on the track but they could not connect in the Derby if they made that journey here. One of these days, one of them is going to beat that curse and every year we all gamble on that monster who just may have what it takes.
Could 2021 be the year?
The two-year old Godolphin, Kentucky Bred (Lane’s End) Lemon Pop has notched himself 10 points in his quest for a Derby Gate, winning the Cattleya Sho, Tokyo Japan. Most likely to be seen next in the Hyacinth come February as he competes to gather another 30 points to secure his gate.
You can’t help but think of Le Vent Se Leve, the dirt monster who demolished every field with complete class and extraordinary wicked speed. The injury plagued beast who broke track records along the way to being crowned Japan’s Champion Dirt Runner of 2018.
Is Lemon Pop in that league? If he continues along his winning path, there is no stopping that breeding.
Lemon Pop is the son of Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, The Whitney, Woodward, Suburban and the Brooklyn H. Lemon Drop Kid is also a Prominent Non-Chef who adds additional Stamina. First generation for Lemon Pop and he gains an instant hit of stamina even before the elite chefs stake their claim.
His two Grand-sires are both listed chefs. Kingmambo, a Classic and Solid chef and Giant’s Causeway, a Classic Chef. The list of chefs in his first four generations and how they are configured is breathtaking. He has every point perfectly placed and what it reveals from his breeding to how he has performed to date is stellar to say the least. Let’s take a look at what this guy is holding and how it relates to the 10f Derby so far.
LEMON POP’s CHEFS:
Kingmambo – Classic, Solid
Giant’s Causeway – Classic
Mr. Prospector – Brilliant, Classic
Seattle Slew – Brilliant, Classic
Danzig – Intermediate, Classic
Raise a Native – Brilliant
Nureyev – Classic
Buckpasser – Classic
Northern Dancer – Brilliant, Classic
His Majesty – Classic
Fifth Generation includes Ribot and Flower Bowl through his Mare on the bottom of his chart.
Linebreeds directly to St. Simon on top through Northern Dancer and Natalma - Total: 21.88%
1st Generation – Lemon Drop Kid (additional Stamina)
3rd Generation – Storm Cat (additional Speed)
DP = 7-2-25-4-0 (38) DI = 1.30 CD = 0.32
Mare Profile = 6-8-3-9-7 Speed = 14 Stamina = 16 Index = 0.88 Triads = 17-20-19
The Chefs: Stamina on top with a .32 CD which gives him an optimum of 9.75f from his chefs alone. If you add in the additional stamina inheritance from his immediate sire, the prominent Non-Chef, Lemon Drop Kid, it can easily uptick to 10f just from his sires alone. Notice the dominant 25 points found in the Classic slot of his chefs profile, which is backed up with another 4 points in his Solid slot (13-14-15f). He has a beautiful 7 points in his Brilliant category which is from the influences of Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, Raise a Native and Northern dancer. He also gets a slight shot of extra speed from Storm Cat. That speed will remain pure, as it is separated from his stamina due to the 2 in the Intermediate slot. He has a large 38 combined points in his profile, which points to a chart packed with Chef influence that always finds a strong advantage in the Kentucky Derby. Chef dominance which should remain unmatched in that Classic category.
The Mares: His Grand-dam is full sister to Danehill. His mare index of .88 is perfect. It is not over 1.00, which would have ate away at his chef’s stamina. It is not under .50 which would have given him too much stamina and drowned out the speed. It is perfect. Nice packed triads across the board only enhance what is found on top. When calculated, his mares CD falls at negative 0.09.
Combining his chefs with his mares (0.07), Lemon Pop has an optimum distance of 10.75f.
That 10.75f optimum distance becomes extremely significant over and above the Kentucky Derby factor. Yes, he is perfectly built for the 10f Derby as far as stamina is concerned. We can easily see that his chart basically revolves around the Classic distance. But it takes more than the correct blend of stamina to win the Derby, it takes significant speed as well. When it comes to a stamina horse, (my favorite by far!) he must have shown us some kind of ability to compete on the speed side and Lemon Pop does not disappoint in that regard.
His Maiden race: On November 2nd, Lemon Pop broke his maiden first out running 6.5f at Tokyo Racecourse. He won the obviously too short race by 3 lengths. This is always the sign of a serious horse, one who can beat up his speedy opponents running way under his optimum. A sure sign of the greatness to come. He is installed in Gate 10.
Cattleya Sho: Installed in gate one this time, running just under 1 mile, with only one colt out of ten who could keep up with him. He is still about 1/2 mile under his optimum, stalking the lead. This is a sign of a champion. Lemon Pop is now 2 for 2 - an undefeated overseas two year old on dirt.
Lemon Pop is a Kentucky-bred who is directly on the path towards the finish line in the Kentucky Derby. He has everything he needs to break that overseas curse. Here we go again Brian!