Art Collector is a fifth-generation descendant of Bebop II, a stakes-placed daughter of 1951 French champion sire Prince Bio who became part of Greentree Stud's broodmare band. Her immediate impact in the paddocks was not particularly impressive, as three stakes-placed runners were the best she could produce from 10 named foals. It was her broodmare daughters who proved Bebop II's worth. Four of them became stakes producers, and two did well indeed: stakes-placed Stepping High (by No Robbery), who produced the stakes winners and successful sires Buckaroo (by Buckpasser) and Parade Marshal (by Caro) as well as several broodmares of significance, and Bebopper, a daughter of Tom Fool.
While Bebopper never won or placed in a stakes, she was a consistent sort whose talent easily placed her in the category of "New York allowance winner" and probably made her the equivalent or better of many a stakes winner on a lesser circuit. Her sons Stop the Music (by Hail to Reason) and Hatchet Man (by The Axe II) were both high-class racehorses and sires of some significance, and two of her non-stakes-winning daughters also made contributions to the family reputation, as Crazy Music (by Hail to Reason) produced 1985 Laurel Turf Cup Handicap (USA-G3) winner Crazy Moon (by Stage Door Johnny) and Boasting (by Bold Lad) became the second dam of 1996 American champion 3-year-old filly Yanks Music.
Bebopper's most important daughter is the Hoist the Flag mare Flag Waver, who was a listed stakes winner during her own racing days. The dam of stakes winner Abidjan (by Sir Ivor; dam of stakes winner Lady Tabitha, by Lyphard) and of Private Banking (by Private Account), second dam of 2008 Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Ginger Brew, Flag Waver also produced Grade 1-placed Bunting (by Private Account), who produced 1999 Illinois Derby (USA-G2) winner Vision and Verse (by Storm Cat) as her first foal. 10 foals later, Bunting came up with Grade 1-placed stakes winner Distorted Legacy (by Distorted Humor), who produced Art Collector as her second foal.
Distorted Legacy's best racing performance was when runner-up in the 10-furlong Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (USA-G1), and this family has produced plenty of horses that could handle two turns with aplomb, so stamina is not likely to be a problem for Art Collector. The question now---as it is for every one of his rivals---is whether he has the soundness and luck to make it to the Derby starting gate and the class and tactical speed to make his own luck in America's most contentious race. Nonetheless, he has earned his ticket to the "Big Dance" of the 3-year-old season and will get his chance to collect the country's most coveted piece of sporting art: the Derby trophy.