Road to the Derby (Classic Empire)

This was originally posted on my site (

At the time of this post (February 21st) Classic Empire is one of the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby, and rightfully so! He is Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, just like last year’s Kentucky Derby winner. So far so good, but what else makes him a top pick for the Kentucky Derby? Lets Check out his sire.


Real quick, lets look over this horse’s pedigree and see what has made him stand out so early into his career.

Pedigree of Classic Empire

Later I’ll dive into each side of her pedigree, but from first impressions, the sire line is much more dominate. His DP puts him at a horse that has a lot of speed, but is lacking any substance stamina. That doesn’t matter that much because American Pharoah had a very similar DP and both are by Pioneerof the Nile. So without further ado!

Sire Line

His sire is Pioneerof the Nile. A link to his stallion report is here. As a race horse, he was impressive. For his race record he was 5 times first, once 2nd and once 3rd in 10 starts. Not too shabby. On top of that, he finished his career by earning more than $1.6 million. So as a race horse he is a very solid one. In the breeding shed he was still impressive.

He is by Empire Maker who won close to 2 million and is the sire of a champion, so he is a very dominate horse. Looking at Pioneerof the Nile as a sire, he has American Pharoah who is the latest Triple Crown winner and has earned more than 8.5 million. An amazing horse by himself , but he has also sired horses like Midnight Storm and Cairo Prince who have both won graded stakes races. Not to mention the champion Classic Empire, the horse this pedigree analysis is about. So he is a proven sire, and his progeny has proven to be winners at some of the more competitive races at this over a mile length with will suit Classic Empire when he runs in the KY Derby.

Pioneerof the Nile has sired horses that have won races like the Shoemaker Mile, the Holy Bull and the Del Mar Derby which are all over 1 mile. I have a lot of confidence that Classic Empire will give us a run for the roses in May.

Female Line

Classic Empire is out of Sambuca Classica. As a race horse, she accumulated a little over $10,000. Nothing amazing going on here as far as her as a race horse. Her bloodline is very good though. She is by Cat Thief who is a 2 time Breeders’ Cup winner along with several other races and earned just shy of 4 million. She is out of In Her Glory who earned right around $200,000 and has the most dosage points I’v ever seen. Her DP is (12, 12, 18, 3, 3). Not too shabby!

Her produce has done some notable things too. Obviously Classic Empire has been the most successful of all of her produce so far, but nevertheless there is some successful horses she’s foaled. Anytime Magic was foaled in 2010 and last year was ranked 17th by wins with a Equibase speed figure of 100. So both sides of the family have some speed to it.

Past Performance

We’ve looked at the sire’s line and the dam’s line. Now lets dive into the past performance of Classic Empire and see what’s going on. He is the Eclipse Champion 2-year-old colt. So he was voted the best 2-year-old in the sport last year (so far so good). And if history tells us anything, he has a solid chance. The last 2 two-year-olds have also won the KY Derby. There are a few who have won that prestigious award, but haven’t done well or haven’t won it. But the last two to have won have been American Pharoah and Nyquist and both of them have won the KY Derby.

The races he does well in are the ones where he is in the top of the pack from the beginning to the end. He doesn’t have to go wire to wire, but he needs to be in the front. He needs to be in a position where he can lengthen his stride and take advantage of his speed. So his start and position is very important. If he doesn’t have a good start, he might not be able to overcome that. The only race where that wasn’t the case was the Bashford Manor S [G3] where he worked from the back and managed to get a win.

All in all, it’s easy to talk about how awesome of a race horse this is. The other horses I’ll profile will probably be a little harder to talk about with such kind words.

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