That may be enough to start Kentucky Derby dreams dancing in the heads of the regally bred War Front colt's connections, but transitioning from the synthetic surface at Turfway to the dirt at Churchill Downs has not proven easy in the past, and Invader has not won anywhere else in six starts. Further, Invader has no points on the board for a Derby starting berth and will have at most two opportunities to acquire enough points to make the Run for the Roses.
Still, a look at the colt's family is enough to set anyone dreaming of what might be. He is a full brother to Fog of War, victorious in the 2018 Summer Stakes (CAN-G1), and to Naval Intelligence, a listed stakes winner in England. That is three stakes winners from three foals to race from his dam Say, who has not produced a foal to live since Invader but was sent back to War Front for 2020.
A daughter of the great European sire Galileo, Say was herself a Group 1-placed Group 3 winner in Europe and is out of multiple Grade 1 winner Riskaverse, by the stamina influence Dynaformer. Herself a half sister to Grade 3 winner Cozzy Corner (by Cozzene), Riskaverse is out of Grade 3-placed The Bink (by Seeking the Gold), who is a half sister to the dams of 2011 American Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and 2014 Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) winner Tonalist. From there, the female line passes through the stakes-winning Topsider mare Toll Fee to Toll Booth, the 1991 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.
This is a female line whose best members have typically taken some time to come to top form, and between that and the stamina influences loaded through the bottom side of the pedigree, Invader had every right to need a little time and distance to come to hand in spite of the speedier influence of his sire. On immediate pedigree, Invader also seems a natural for turf racing, but there he has not shown quite the expected affinity. And on that score, he seems to bear a resemblance to another son of War Front with a pedigree that should have destined him for the grass . . . War of Will, who ended up winning the 2019 Preakness Stakes (USA-G1) and two other graded stakes on dirt in spite of having a dam by Sadler's Wells (also a great sire in Europe and sire of Galileo) and a family with a lot of success on turf.
Could lightning strike twice? The next few months will tell.