McCraken, however, isn't the only 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper to have made a splash in his 2017 debut. Making only his second lifetime start, Iliad drew off nicely in the stretch to win the San Vicente Stakes (USA-II), finishing the seven-furlong trip in racehorse time of 1:21.62, Having won his debut over six furlongs at Los Alamitos, the colt is now in nice position to stretch out step by step in the Santa Anita series of Triple Crown preps and will likely start next in the San Felipe Stakes (USA-II) over 8.5 furlongs on March 11.
With his first three dams having been sired by Seeking the Gold, Wild Again and Nodouble---all horses that could stay 10 furlongs or better in top company---it will be more of a surprise if McCraken can't stay the Kentucky Derby trip than if he can. Iliad is more of a question mark. In spite of Ghostzapper's own ability to get 10 furlongs, he has been as apt to throw speed as stamina, and Iliad's broodmare sire is You and I, who showed his best form in the 1-mile Metropolitan Handicap (USA-I). Swoon, the second dam's sire, is a bit more promising as a source of stamina: a son of Secretariat, he was a stakes winner at 10 furlongs and stakes-placed at 14 furlongs. Nonetheless, with a sprinting dam and a miler granddam, Iliad is as likely to be a one-turn horse as a two-turn runner.
Regardless, Ghostzapper has emerged from the weekend of February 11-12 as a stallion with an excellent chance of getting his first winner of an American Triple Crown race. As both are bred to improve with maturity, with any luck, both will progress as they continue on their separate paths down the Triple Crown trail, setting up a potentially interesting confrontation on the first Saturday in May. Time will tell.