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Preakness Stakes 2011 Contenders: The Importance Of Horse Pedigree For Animal Kingdom

As we approach Saturday's 2011 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, I thought we'd focus in on one of the more interesting aspects of horse racing. Unlike virtually any other sport, pedigree is the subject of intense focus in horse racing. We often hear about how a horse is put out to stud or some other facet of the breeding process. All of this information can often go into predictions and betting trends for most any horse race. For the three legs of the Triple Crown it's just one more important bit of information.

As we prepare for this afternoon's Preakness Stakes, the folks at And Down The Stretch They Come put together a rundown of pedigree profiles for the 14 horses running at Pimlico. Given the big win at the Kentucky Derby, Matt Gardner put together a more focused look at just Animal Kingdom:

Unlike a lot of recent Kentucky Derby winners, Animal Kingdom possesses a strong influence of stamina on the bottom half of his pedigree to go along with the speed/stamina mix on the top.

Animal Kingdom is a son of champion turf miler Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) out of an Acategnango (GER) mare (Dalicia (GER)). Leroidesanimaux won the Eclipse Award as Champion Male Turf Horse in 2005 after winning the Kilro Mile, the Fourstardave and the Woodbine Mile; he set the track record at Saratoga while winning the Fourstardave
Animal Kingdom's sire provides him with a decent mix of speed and stamina, while his damsire is a heavy influence of stamina.  According to Bris Sire Stats, the offspring of Acatenango have an average winning distance of 10.5 furlongs, a number rarely produced by American-based stallions.  The offspring of Leroidesanimaux sport an average winning distance of 6.8 furlongs.    

Although Animal Kingdom was a 20-1 underdog in the Derby, maybe it's not so surprising he figured out a way to gallop to victory. In the link above, Matt discusses Animal Kingdom's victories, which came on a variety of surfaces and bode well for future success.

Of course, there are some other well-bred horses in the Preakness. For our purposes, the primary rival to Animal Kingdom is Dialed In, who was the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. According to Matt:

The offspring of Mineshaft have an average winning distance of 7.5 furlongs, while Storm Cat's offspring win at an average distance of 7.1 furlongs.  Storm Cat's offspring tend to perform very well on off tracks, while Mineshaft produces an average amount of winners.

None of this means either horse is a sure thing to get the victory in the Preakness. Rather, it's one more valuable piece of information for folks looking to better plan their wagers tomorrow.

The 2011 Preakness Stakes gets underway on May 21 at Pimlico racetrack. Stay with our 2011 Preakness Stakes StoryStream for odds, contender profiles, post positions and more. To look back at the Derby, check out SB Nation's 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream. Also, our horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come has two must-read resources for Derby and Preakness fans: A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.