Dorth Vader is a daughter of hot young sire Girvin (Tale of Ekati x Catch the Moon, by Malibu Moon), who also saw his daughter Faiza win the Santa Ynez Stakes (USA-G2) over the weekend. (As a member of Bob Baffert’s barn, Faiza is not eligible to the Kentucky Oaks due to a trainer suspension.) The Davona Dale winner is the fifth stakes winner for her sire, currently sixth on the second-crop sire list and now standing his first Kentucky season at Airdrie Stud after beginning his stud career at Ocala Stud in Florida. Himself a winner of the 2017 betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes (USA-G1), Girvin has already proven able to throw speed and should be capable of siring horses comfortable with at least the 8-9 furlong range.
On the distaff side, Dorth Vader is the sixth foal, fifth winner, and first stakes winner for her dam, Hardcore Candy, who has since produced the unraced juvenile filly Theforcebewithyou (by Air Force Blue) and a yearling filly by Adios Charlie. A stakes-placed daughter of 2000 Hopeful Stakes (USA-G1) winner Yonaguska, Hardcore Candy is a half sister to listed stakes winner Chestnut Lady (by Horse Chestnut).
Hardcore Candy is out of the Thunder Gulch mare Its a Girl, whose half sister Go for it Lady (by Mr. Prospector) is the dam of multiple Grade 1-placed Grade 3 winner Spring Meadow (by Meadowlake), winner of the 2003 Las Flores Handicap (USA-G3). The dam of Its a Girl and Spring Meadow, Ladyago, is a stakes-winning daughter of Northern Dancer and a half sister to stakes-placed Aspiring Diva (by Distant View), dam of 2011 Matron Stakes (IRE-G1) winner Emulous (by Dansili) and Prix Gontaut-Biron (FR-G3) winner First Sitting (by Dansili) and second dam of 2015 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes (IRE-G2) winner Brooch (by Empire Maker). Ladyago, in turn, is out of 1984 Shuvee Handicap (USA-G2) winner Queen of Song (by His Majesty), a full sister to 1977 Jersey Derby (USA-G1) winner and Classic sire Cormorant.
Although Dorth Vader is not closely inbred, her pedigree stands as a testimony to the rapid spread of Mr. Prospector’s influence through the American breeding population. It has been less than 50 years since Mr. Prospector’s first foals were born in 1976, yet he appears four times in the fifth generation of the pedigree of Dorth Vader, a foal of 2020—twice through daughters and twice through sons. In addition, Dorth Vader carries a sex-balanced 5x5 cross to Storm Bird, Girvin’s direct male-line ancestor and the broodmare sire of Thunder Gulch.
Dorth Vader was probably undone in the Gasparilla by deep conditions along the rail and had legitimate room for improvement on getting a fast track and a better trip, but Red Carpet Ready also had some excuse in the Davona Dale as she was used hard to get and keep the early lead and never had any chance for a breather. With an uninspiring final quarter in :27.21, though, both are going to need to show some improvement next out to be up to the usual standard for a Kentucky Oaks winner. Still, both are worth keeping an eye on, as well as Guns n’ Graces, who made up about four lengths on Dorth Vader during her closing run and, as a daughter of Gun Runner out of an Empire Maker mare, is bred to relish more distance. If the Florida filly division has not been overly inspiring thus far, it is at least competitive and should provide for some fun racing between now and the Kentucky Oaks.