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Kentucky Derby Contenders Pedigree Analysis: Midnight Bourbon
Midnight Bourbon (Credit: Hodges Photography)

Kentucky Derby Contenders Pedigree Analysis: Midnight Bourbon

With the Kentucky Derby (G1) less than 2 weeks away, I’m back for my second year of analyzing some of the top contenders’ pedigrees.

This week’s subject: Midnight Bourbon

Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbreds and purchased as a yearling for $525,000 by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Midnight Bourbon has a career record of 7-2-2-3 heading into the Kentucky Derby. He’s trained by Steve Asmussen and will have “Big Money” Mike Smith riding for the first time in the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby Ranking

Midnight Bourbon finished with 66 points in the Kentucky Derby point standings that he earned by winning the Lecomte Stakes (G3), finishing third in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) (won by Mandaloun), and running second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) (won by Hot Rod Charlie). With never finishing worse than third in 7 career starts, Midnight Bourbon has settled into the top 10 on a lot of Kentucky Derby lists, including ranked seventh by the Racing Dudes.

If Midnight Bourbon wins the Kentucky Derby, he would be only the second horse since the point system was implemented in 2012 to win the Kentucky Derby without winning his prior start (after Country House in 2019). Now it’s time to see if Midnight Bourbon’s pedigree has what it takes to earn the roses.

Sire Profile


Major career wins: 2000 Affirmed Handicap (G3), 2000 Super Derby (G1), 2000 Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2), 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), 2001 San Fernando Stakes (G2), 2001 Santa Anita Handicap (G1), 2001 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1)

With a career record of 15-8-4-2 and over $6 million in earnings, Tiznow needs little introduction. He remains the only horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic twice, including the famous Tom Durkin call at the wire of “Tiznow wins it for America” in 2001 at Belmont Park in New York, just weeks after 9/11. While Tiznow was highly successful on the racetrack, his stallion career was just as successful, despite not having a Kentucky Derby winner.

Tiznow has sired winners of some of the biggest races in the world, including the Dubai World Cup (G1), the Travers Stakes (G1), the Belmont Stakes (G1), and the Tokyo City Cup (G3), but the Kentucky Derby has escaped his progeny’s grasp. Midnight Bourbon very well could be the last Kentucky Derby starter for Tiznow, who in October 2020 retired from stud duties. Going into this 2021 Kentucky Derby, Tiznow progeny 0-for-6 in the Kentucky Derby, with the best finish coming in 2008 when Colonel John finished fifth. Could staer number 7 be the one for The Big Horse?

Dam Profile

Catch The Moon

Major career wins: None

This unraced daughter of Malibu Moon has had an eyepopping career as a broodmare. Of Catch The Moon’s 4 foals to race, all won graded stakes: Cocked and Loaded, Girvin, and Pirate’s Punch. Girvin is the most successful so far, with career earnings over $1.6 million, and is her only Grade 1 winner (the 2007 Haskell Stakes [G1]). He was also Catch The Moon’s first Kentucky Derby starter when he finished a well-beaten 13th in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.

By becoming her second Kentucky Derby starter, Midnight Bourbon’s broodmare is already heading toward a rare feat. Catch The Moon has two unnamed foals who have not yet raced: a Curlin colt who sold at the 2020 September Keeneland Yearling sale for $500,000, and a Quality Road colt born in 2020. With almost $3 million in purse earnings so far as a broodmare, Catch The Moon is a name that you will want to remember.

Midnight Bourbon winning the Lecomte (Credit: Hodges Photography)

Overall, it might be a stretch to say Midnight Bourbon is a serious win contender for the Kentucky Derby, but I do think that he’s a horse who should not be left off your tickets, especially in exactas, trifectas, and superfectas. He has a front-running style that in recent years has been successful in the Kentucky Derby, though with this, he’ll need a favorable post position. With his pedigree, expect Midnight Bourbon to keep improving even beyond Kentucky Derby 147.

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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