There will be plenty of South Africa interest in the running of the 141st Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs this Saturday.
America’s most famous race has attracted one of the strongest line ups in years, with leading contenders including champion and favourite American Pharoah (Pioneer ofthe Nile), the unbeaten G1 winners Dortmund (Big Brown) and Materiality (Afleet Alex), G2 Louisiana Derby winner International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus) and the Mike de Kock trained Mubtaahij (Dubawi).
However, South African interest does not end with brilliant G2 UAE Derby hero Mubtaahij.
Cape farm Drakenstein Stud will also be paying close attention to the 2015 Kentucky Derby, as two of their stallions have strong connections to a pair of Derby contenders.
The farm’s late, great Horse Chestnut will be represented as a broodmare sire in the Derby, with his maternal grandson Ocho Ocho Ocho set to jump from barrier one in Saturday’s Churchill Downs classic.
A son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Ocho Ocho Ocho has won three of five outings including the G3 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes, and comes into the Kentucky Derby having finished third in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes. To date, the Jim Cassidy trained colt has earned just a shade under $800 000 for owners DP Racing LLC. Ocho Ocho Ocho is out of Horse Chestnut’s regally bred daughter Winner, who was sold for at the 2014 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
Drakenstein Stud’s other connection to the 2015 Kentucky Derby comes in the form of G1 Blue Grass Stakes runner up Danzig Moon. This son of Malibu Moon is out of the Danzig mare Leavmeinthedust, a half sister to none other than Drakenstein Stud’s very exciting young sire Philanthropist.
Danzig Moon, who is trained by Mark Casse, will be partnered by Julian Leparoux, with the pair set to jump from barrier six. This lightly raced colt has won or placed in three of his five outings and looks set to be another star performer to emerge from the magnificent Grey Flight family, responsible for this season’s outstanding South African based filly Majmu.