I think it's safe to say that California Chrome is a complete freak. His sire stands for $2,500 in California, his Dam is by the nearly unheard of Not for Love, and his family last saw significant success 3 generations back. It just goes to show that it really is as much a gamble to breed as it is to race or to wager. But it is also a certainty to say that Martin Perry and Steve Coburn came up aces on the first horse they ever bred.
California Chrome, by Lucky Pupit out of Love the Chase (Not for Love)
Lucky Pulpit, well, he is what he is. A useful sire in terms of the California-bred program, you can't say much else. He's well-bred, certainly, being by Pulpit out of a winning Cozzene mare, but as a sire he's nothing special. He's sired CC himself, the very nice Rousing Sermon, and his third leading earner is Luckarack. Luckarack is not even a graded stakes winner, but he was Grade 1 placed in the Del Mar Futurity. (Coincidentally, Luckarack is a half brother to Tamarando).
Love the Chase was not a very good racehorse. In fact, in her penultimate start the chart callers described her run as having "showed little" whlile finishing a distant 7th and last in Claiming $12,500 company at Golden Gate. CC is her first foal. Not For Love is ok as a broodmare sire, with 573 foals, 41% winners, and 12 stakes winners. His average earnings index is 1.26, which for a non-Kentucky based horse is pretty solid. Not for Love, a son of Mr. Prospector, stands at Northview Stalltion Station in Maryland for $15,000.
I'm going to stop here, since to find something really interesting you have to go back a couple more generations. I'm just going to say that sometimes you get lucky. That's a pretty significant theme with the last couple Kentucky Derby winners. Orb's dam was almost culled from the Janney/Phipps stables due to a lack of production. I'll Have Another is by a stallion, Flower Alley, whose production was less than stellar and from a dam without black type in her race record of in her foals.
Sometimes to get a stuperstar, you're just plain old lucky. In the end, Penny Chenery did win the coin flip after all.