A homebred for the Phipps Stable (which races Performer in partnership with Claiborne Farm), Performer has won four straight at 3 after losing his only start at 2. McGaughey has indicated that the Carter Handicap (USA-I) in April may be the colt's first major spring target; if he can annex that race, the sky may be the limit.
Performer's potential comes not only from Speightstown, who has been a first-rate sire and quite a versatile one as well, but from one of the deepest Phipps families, that of Personal Ensign. The 1988 American champion older female, she retired unbeaten from 13 starts and went on to become a Kentucky Broodmare of the Year as well. Her resume includes three Grade I winners as well as three lesser daughters who became graded stakes producers.
Perhaps the best-known of her runners is the quirky My Flag (by Easy Goer), who was near the top of her crop at ages 2 and 3 after winning the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (USA-I) and 1996 Coaching Club American Oaks (USA-I). A winner of two other Grade I races and also third in the Belmont Stakes (USA-I) against males, My Flag went on to become a successful broodmare in her own right, producing 2002 American champion 2-year-old filly Storm Flag Flying (by Storm Cat) and stakes winner With Flying Colors (by A.P. Indy), dam of Grade III winner Teresa Z. (by Smart Strike).
On Parade, a year-older full sister to Storm Flag Flying, was Grade III-placed on the track. The best of her six winners from nine foals is Parading (by Pulpit), who won the 2009 Dixie Stakes (USA-IIT) and 2009 Ben Ali Stakes (USA-III). She is also the dam of two graded stakes-placed fillies, the elder of which, Protesting (by A.P. Indy) is the dam of both Performer and listed stakes winner Breaking the Rules (by War Front). Unfortunately,
While Performer has plenty of speed close up in his pedigree, he has more than enough stamina in his background to suggest that distances beyond the Discovery's may be within his scope. He still has quite a way to go to live up to Personal Ensign's reputation, but it is nice to think that at least a little of his talent comes from a great ancestress whose banner is still flying high.