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Monday, December 19, 2005

Brother Derek

- If Brother Derek were to win the Kentucky Derby, he would continue the string of “feel-good” stories, though he has no apparent connection to Philadelphia. His trainer, Dan Hendricks, was paralyzed from the waist down as the result of a motorcycle accident in July, 2004, but continues to train his stable from a wheelchair. Owner Martin Wygod took care of his medical treatment, and in August, a poker tournament in Las Vegas netted a $48,000 contribution to his family. It was organized by trainer Chris Paasch, and the good karma no doubt contributed to Passch’s first Grade 1 win with Diplomat Lady in Sunday’s Starlet. Hendricks has won at a 17% rate this year, and in addition to Brother Derek, has 2005 stakes winners in Cozy Guy, Irish Bar and Runaway Dancer.

Besides that moving human interest story is the fact that Brother Derek would be another modestly bred colt from outside bluegrass country to be a Derby contender, if indeed he turns out to be one. He’s a Cal-bred, by Benchmark, a son of Alydar standing for $7500 at River Edge Farm. Taking a look at Alydar’s stallion sons – Easy Goer, Alysheba, Saratoga Six, Turkoman, it’s apparent that he’s been a disappointment as a sire of sires.

As far as Benchmark goes after his 4th crop in 2005, according to the ad that appears in the 2006 Stallion Register, he is “Sire of Graded Winners on Turf and Dirt.” Notice the actual amount of graded winners is not specified, which means the total is probably not close to say, 80. Or even 10. In fact, he’s sired Grade 1 winner Silent Sighs, Grade 2 winner A to the Z (and Brother Derek), and Grade 3 winner Standard Setter. “He is the only fourth-crop sire in California represented by a Grade 1 winner.”

Brother Derek has some interesting inbreeding – in addition to Raise A Native (3x4) (his dam is by Mr. Prospector son Siyah Kalem (the same broodmare sire as Standard Setter) and Turn-To (5x5), he’s also inbred 4x5 to The Axe II, and I don’t notice that too often these days. Perhaps he has some turf in his future. Brother Derek is a full brother to stakes winner Don’tsellmeshort.