Which Horse Has Sired The Most Kentucky Derby Contenders In Recent Years?

Here's more about the history of winning horses.
By Savannah Moss
Image: Gene Devine | Unsplash

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous races in the world, as the whole of the United States comes to a standstill to watch the prestigious Grade 1 at Churchill Downs. It is top Grade 1 in the United States outside of the races that are staged at the Breeders’ Cup, as a three-year-olds race over a distance of 1 ¼ mile for their share of the $3 million purse. 

Stories have been evident throughout history, and this year more history was made as Rich Strike became the second-biggest outsider to ever win the famous race at Churchill Downs, as you can check here: https://edge.twinspires.com/racing/wagering/   

Image: Philippe Oursel | Unsplash

Still, as bloodlines often point to leading contenders, which horses have sired the most Kentucky Derby winners throughout history?

Into Mischief

No horse has sired more Kentucky Derby contenders throughout history than Into Mischief. He didn’t enjoy the best time on track during his own career, as he won three races from six starts, with his biggest win coming in the G1 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park. 

However, he has now sired two Kentucky Derby winners, and is the only sire to have won the race in consecutive years. His first success came back in 2020, as Authentic won the re-arranged Derby, before Mandaloun made it back-to-back wins after his second was elevated to success following Medina Spirit’s failed drugs test after winning the 2021 Kentucky Derby. 

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Tapit

Image: Dallas Reedy | Unsplash

Tapit has been a very sought after stallion since retiring from the track. That always looked set to be the case after he enjoyed a fine career on track, which included victory in the G1 Wood Memorial. He also finished ninth in both the G2 Pennsylvania Derby and Kentucky Derby. Tapit is yet to sire a winner of the Kentucky Derby, with his closest contender coming last year, as Essential Quality was unfortunate in the race

However, the star did later claim victory in both the Travers and Belmont Stakes to soften the blow. Tapit sired a number of leading contenders this year, which included Charge It, who started the season in the red-hot form before fading. Still, it only looks a matter of time before this sire finally lands a first Kentucky Derby success, and it could come in the race in 2023.

Gun Runner

Gun Runner is another sire that had 15 potential Derby runners at the start of the season, and many believed that a number of his progeny had leading chances in the race this year. His first crop of offspring turned three earlier this year, which means that he could be a stallion to keep an eye on over the coming years, and his chances are likely to improve. 

On track, this horse was a superstar, and in 2017, he was named the American Horse of the Year. During that calendar year, he won four Grade 1s, and retired from racing after winning just under $16 million in prize money. His best wins came with successes in the Whitney Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Woodward Stakes.

Image: Elena Rabkina | Unsplash

While he is yet to sire a winner of the Kentucky Derby, one of his offspring did claim victory in the Preakness Stakes this year, as Early Voting held off Epicentre. His offsprings have also claimed notable victories including Cyberknife, who won the Arkansas Derby and Echo Zulu, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last year. Cyberknife was his only runner in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, but he was ultimately very disappointing. The three-year-old eventually finished back in 18th, which was over 40 lengths behind Rich Strike, who claimed Triple Crown success.