The rivalry that has developed this spring between General A Rod and Wildcat Red has been exhilarating. Two eye-to-eye battles in the GP Derby and the Fountain of Youth and a 2-3 finish in the G1 Florida Derby has been an amazing thing to watch. But while Wildcat Red was running up front on a track that favored his speed, General A Rod tracked him on the outside, lost a full path around two turns, and still battled to the line. But can he break the historical trend of Derby winners not having won a graded stakes prior to winning the Kentucky Derby?
General A Rod, by Roman Ruler out of Dynamite Eyes (Dynaformer)
Before I get too far into this, I wanted to quote this from Reines-de-course.com-
Your Hostess was a hit from the outset. Her first foal, Etiquette by *Bernborough, was a winner and became a major producer. Two of her foals, Mr. Pomranky and Command Module, were stakes winners and a third, White Lie by Bald Eagle, was dam of Hippodamia, champion two year old filly in France in 1973; and Group I placed Bad Conduct. Another of Etiquette's foals, Thank You Note, foaled stakes winner Liswaki.
Your Hostess' second foal, Royal Clipper by *Royal Charger, was a tough gelding who won a minor stake and $473,234 from 159 trips to the post. Great Host, her 1956 colt by *Royal Charger, was a non-winner, then in 1957 came the marvelous producer Gay Hostess, aReine-de-Course in her own right.
Gay Hostess, who was unraced, has long been a favorite subject of trivia buffs. She and her three full siblings are the answer to the question, "Name a horse who has all Chefs-de-Race in his or her first four generations." Gay Hostess' illustrious stallion representation is: *Royal Charger; Nearco; *Alibhai; Pharos; Solario; Hyperion; *Mahmoud; Phalaris; Havresac II; Gainsborough (twice); *Blenheim II (twice); Tracery; and Clarissimus.
Gay Hostess did very little wrong as a producer. Her son Crowned Prince was a champion, his full brother Majestic Prince a double classic winner. Both were good stalliions.
Majestic Prince, something of a folk hero to racegoers, nearly preceeded Seattle Slew as the first American horse to win a Triple Crown while undefeated. However, the glowing chestnut was second by six lengths to Arts And Letters in the Belmont and never raced again. This was considered by his army of fans to be an unworthy end to a noble story and those same fans were deeply moved when Majestic Prince's son Coastal revenged his sire only loss by ending the Triple Crown bid of Spectacular Bid in the 1979 Belmont.
Beside Majestic Prince and Crowned Prince, Gay Hostess also foaled stakes winner Lovely Gypsy and stakes placed Betty Loraine, herself a major producer. Betty Loraine foaled champion and French Derby winner Caracolero, stakes placed Native Loraine, and unraced Betty's Secret. Betty's Secret duplicated her dam and granddam's classic-producing success, foaling Epsom Derby winner Secreto. Betty's Secret also produced another stakes winner and two stakes placed foals.
Further, Gay Hostess is the dam of stakes placed Our Queen, and stakes producers Rollabout, Caronatta, Meadow Blue (second dam of Real Quiet) and Our Lady Queen.
That obviously extremely interesting in and of itself. But Gay Hostess is half to Flower Bed, who I referenced when profiling Groupie Doll. So yes, these two are from the same incredibly high end producing female family. Sure, they share like .01% of the same genes, but it is amazing how of all the female families out there, and considering how few profiles I have completed, that two of them are from the same foundation mares. I've gone on too long about this already.
Roman Ruler is an interesting stallion. One of the top Freshman sires of his crop, he has had some fantastic runners thus far. However, outside of his three millionaires Ruler on Ice, Homeboykris, and Rule, I couldn't name more than a few. While he is definitely capable of getting a top quality runner, he's not a go to stallion by any means. Standing for $8,500 in Lexington, he is useful at a minimum. A son of Fusaichi Pegasus, he's a better stallion than FuPeg already, he shuttles and has gotten some really good South American horses from his time down south. But in the end, progeny of Roman Ruler seem to get their best running in at right around a mile.
General A Rod is out of Dynamite Eyes. By one of the future champion broodmare sires in Dynaformer, she has had some success as a broodmare, with Gen A Rod and a two year old colt that just sold at the Fasig TIpton Florida sale for $400,000. But the most important influence here is the Dynaformer is a major distance influence, so her foals should like two turns.
His second dam, Buckeye Search, is a stakes winner was the 2nd in the G2 Black Eyed Susans. She has one G3 placed filly to her record in additionto Dynamite Eyes.
And you have to go back to the 4th dam to really get into some serious producers of stakes horses, so I'm going to stop there. But what we have is a gutty runner that can look an opponent in the eye and battle him all the way to the line. Finding those runners that have that kind of fortitude is tough. But can he rate? We know how hard it is to win the Derby from the front, and General A Rod wants to look the speed in the eye and try to battle him all the way to the wire. But you couldn't ask for a guttier horse to try to do it.