Despite her impressive Beyer figure of 93 (best so far for the 3-year-old filly division), crowning Kinza as the best American 3-year-old filly of 2024 would be wildly premature; there is a lot of racing to go, and more than one filly that shone at Santa Anita in the winter has found a rude welcome waiting for her when brought east to Kentucky or New York. Nonetheless, this was a good race and one that the winner should build on for the future, even if it’s a future that doesn’t include lilies.
Kinza is from the fifth crop of the Giant’s Causeway horse Carpe Diem, now standing in Louisiana after relocating from WinStar Farm in late 2021. Winner of the 2014 Lanes’ End Breeders’ Futurity (USA-G1) and 2015 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (USA-G1), his progeny have shown a little more stamina than the average American runner, suggesting that another furlong or so should be within Kinza’s scope as she continues to mature. Although Carpe Diem himself did not run on the turf, Giant’s Causeway was a turf star himself and sired many good turf runners, suggesting a possible home for Kinza on that surface as well.
On the distaff side, Kinza’s female family is more suggestive of speed, though the presence of Quality Road as broodmare sire does bring additional stamina to the table. Kinza is the second foal and first foal to race from the winning Quality Road mare Secret Wonder, whose stakes-placed dam Maxinkuckee Miss is by 1996 Vosburgh Stakes (USA-G1) and 1997 Metropolitan Handicap (USA-G1) winner Langfuhr. The Canadian champion sprinter of 1996, Langfuhr was sired by Danzig and was one of three stakes winners produced from the stakes-winning Briartic mare Sweet Briar Too.
Returning to Maxinkuckee Miss, she is a half sister to Winikins (by Cozzene), dam of multiple Grade 3 winner Gentle Ruler, a filly who defied the family history and took after her sire Colonel John in being a good stayer. On the other hand, Maxinkuckee Miss is also a half sister to stakes-placed Winiliscious (by Lawyer Ron), whose stakes-winning foals Lil Miss Moppet (by Uncle Mo) and My Beautiful Belle (by Munnings) were both sprinters. For what it is worth, Kinza herself had enough lick to blitz through a furlong in :10-1/5 seconds at the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, so she is certainly not devoid of speed.
As owner Petersen has elected to keep Kinza with Baffert in spite of the Churchill Downs ban, there will be no trips to Kentucky in the filly’s future, at least not within the foreseeable future. This may actually be something of a blessing in disguise, as there is unlikely to be any pressure to have Kinza make a particular race during the spring. With a choice of targets out there, the filly can be allowed to develop at her own pace—and so far, that pace was been a pretty good one. An outing against good competition at 8.5 or 9 furlongs should tell us more about where Kinza’s future lies: in the female sprinter ranks, or pursuing some of her division’s traditional prizes around two turns.