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Kentucky Derby Contenders Pedigree Analysis: Art Collector
Art Collector working at Churchill Downs (Credit: Coady Photography)

Kentucky Derby Contenders Pedigree Analysis: Art Collector

With the Kentucky Derby (G1) finally nearing, we continue analyzing the pedigrees of some of the top contenders.

This week’s subject: Art Collector 

Since stretching out to two turns on dirt, Art Collector has yet to finish behind another horse. With a career record of 8-4-1-0 that includes a perfect 3-for-3 in 2020, Art Collector has emerged as one of the top horses in this 3-year-old class.

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Kentucky Derby Ranking

Art Collector is currently fifth in the Kentucky Derby point standings with 100 points that he earned from winning the Blue Grass Stakes (G2). He’s scheduled to enter the Ellis Park Derby August 9 as a final prep before the Run for the Roses.

The Blue Grass has not produced a Kentucky Derby winner since Strike the Gold in 1991 (Good Magic was second in 2018), so will Art Collector put an end to this nearly 30-year cold streak? A closer look at his pedigree should indicate if he has what it takes.

Sire Profile


Major career wins: 2006 Withers (G3), 2006 Preakness (G1), 2006 Jim Dandy (G2), 2006 Travers (G1), 2006 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1)

Bernardini’s 3-year-old campaign was one of the most underrated in recent memory. After skipping the Kentucky Derby, he dominated the Preakness, the Jim Dandy, the Travers, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (against older horses). Even more impressive, his average winning margin was over 7 lengths. He retired the 2006 Eclipse Award winner as Champion 3-Year-Old Colt after finishing second in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

He’s been just as successful as a stallion, but the one thing missing has been a Kentucky Derby winner. Despite entering stud in 2007, Bernardini has only sired three Derby starters: Stay Thirsty in 2011 (finished 12th), Alpha in 2012 (12th), and Shagaf in 2016 (20th). However, both Stay Thirsty and Alpha won the Travers at the Kentucky Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles, a major positive for Art Collector.

Bernardini is by A.P. Indy, who also sired Honor Code (whom I discussed in my pedigree analysis of Kentucky Derby contender Honor A. P.). With this bloodline, it’s no surprise that Bernardini and his progeny have handled routing so efficiently.

Bernardini’s dam, Cara Rafaela, was also a very solid runner who won the Alcibiades Stakes (G2) and the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (G1) in 1995, both at 1 1/16 miles. Her damsire was the great Spectacular Bid, considered one of the greatest racehorses of all time.

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Dam Profile

Distorted Legacy

Major career wins: None

Distorted Legacy’s best racing efforts saw her finish second in the 2011 Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) later that fall. Though never a graded stakes winner, she earned black-type honors in the Sky Beauty Stakes and retired with an overall record of 26-3-7-3.

Distored Legacy’s sire, Distorted Humor, traces back to the great Mr. Prospector, while her dam, Bunting, was two generations removed from Damascus, the 1967 Horse of the Year who was inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1974.

Distorted Legacy has a bright broodmare future. Art Collector is only her second foal and also her only winner; her older foal, Soldier in Pink, is 5-0-0-2 to date. She currently has two younger foals who were both sired by Into Mischief, and she was bred to the 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify as part of his first crop.

Art Collector winning the Blue Grass (Credit: Coady Photography)

Art Collector looks like a serious Kentucky Derby contender. With his pedigree, the distance should be no issue, and he has visually improved in each start as a 3-year-old. A win in Sunday’s Ellis Park Derby could propel him to become a top betting option come September 5 at Churchill Downs.

Let me know what you think!

Vinny Blond is a New York-based handicapper who is one half of Real Dynasty Picks. Follow him on Twitter @PicksByDynasty.

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