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Pedigree Analysis: Wicked Courage

Wicked Courage was wicked fast to wrap up a rich Ruidoso Derby.

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
June 10, 2013

wicked courage

Wicked Courage. PHOTO: Ruidoso Downs

Nearly a third of all American Quarter Horses to hit the track each year are sophomores. Of those, only a fraction compete in Grade 1 derbies, but thanks to tracks around the country, the money they’re running for is becoming ever-richer. Case in point: the $822,753 Ruidoso Derby (G1).

On Saturday at Ruidoso Downs, 10 3-year-olds went out in the richest edition of the race’s 20 runnings. In fact, the race purse increased 17 percent from last year alone and is up 53 percent from five years ago, when Heartswideopen trounced her field. This year’s winner, Wicked Courage, pocketed $345,557 – almost as much as the entire $388,830 purse of the 2008 edition.

Despite the rich purse, this year’s finalists are all relative newcomers to the Grade 1 stage. Only A Dream To Remember (2d in 2012 Southwest Juvenile Championship) had a Grade 1-placing on her resume. Other Grade 1 competitors included Sugardaddy B (7th in West Texas Futurity), Pyro (6th Rainbow Futurity) and Mr Perry Cartel (8th in All American Futurity).

Andrew Smith’s Wicked Courage will likely get the nod of leading 3-year-old gelding at the halfway point of the year, as he showed great courage to win his most recent two races. Undefeated in three starts this year – including the Bob Moore Memorial Stakes (G2) at Remington Park in April – he overcame a 25 mph headwind in his Ruidoso trial to be the only horse that raced into a headwind to make the final. He then overcame an erratic trip in the final to win by a head over Ill Stop The World.

Wicked Courage is the second Grade 1 winner in the span of a week to be bred by Burnett Ranches LLC of Guthrie, Texas. They also bred the winner of the June 1 Heritage Place Futurity (G1), Big Biz Perry.

Smith bought Wicked Courage for a mere $4,000 winning bid at the 2011 Heritage Place Yearling Sale.

“I really liked that his second dam is Viking Anne and he didn’t bring that much money because he was by a young stallion,” said Smith of his crafty bid.

Wicked Courage has won seven of 12 starts and banked $593,333.

Wicked Courage is the second-to-last foal from Captain Courage’s first crop. The royally-bred Captain Courage was bred to run – he is by leading living sire Mr Jess Perry (sire of the aforementioned Big Biz Perry) and out of all-time leading dam Corona Chick, a daughter of Chicks Beduino, and was the $415,000 sale topper at the 2006 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. In his third start, he ran third, a half length back, behind champion Heartswideopen in the All American Futurity (G1). He would also contest the Grade 1 Texas Classic Futurity and All American Derby, and qualify for the Dash For Cash Derby (G1). Captain Courage earned $213,251 before retiring to stud – another job that’s in his genes. Owned by Burnett Ranches/Hart/Mosley, he is a half brother to leading sire Corona Cartel (whose progeny earnings sit at $41.3 million), and sires Count Corona (progeny earnings of $3.5 million), Corona Czech ($4.4 million), Corona Caliente ($4.7 million), King Corona ($2.2 million) and Valiant Hero ($4.2 million).

The bay this year stood at Four Sixes Ranch at Guthrie, Texas, for an advertised stud fee of $2,500, and from 49 starters has averaged a return of $20,427 per runner. He is also the sire of Southwest Juvenile Championship (G1) winner Secret Courage ($150,637) and stakes winner KR Working Man ($36,891).

Wicked Courage was dropped April 23, 2011, a fairly late foal. His dam, Wicked Pamela, is a 1992 daughter of Dash For Cash out of the Vikingson (TB) mare Viking Anne. Wicked Pamela sold as a yearling at the 1993 Phillips Ranch Dispersal. The third-to-last horse run through the ring that day, she brought a bid of $61,000 from Bob and Sandy Erwin. (Her dam, at age 18, was the last horse sold and brought $100,000 from J. Baxter Brinkman.)  

Viking Anne was a tremendous racehorse and a distance legend. Making 55 starts in her five-year career that stretched from 1975-1981, the mare won or placed in 36 of them, with earnings of $183,809. She won 10 stakes, with all but one at her preferred 870-yard distance.  

A half sister to two-time Grade 1 winner Good N Gorgeous (by Dash For Cash, $215,899), Viking Anne become a dam of distinction as in quick succession she produced the Dash For Cash horses Strictly Wicked ($111,713), Wicked Dash ($353,808), Wicked Wind ($117,501) and Wicked Willa ($120,793). Wicked Willa would go on to produce Wicked Winner (by Runaway Winner, $137,880), winner of the 1998 edition of the Ruidoso Derby.

Wicked Pamela was her dam’s ninth foal. Unfortunately, she did not show her mother or siblings’ racing talent. Making 15 starts, she broke her maiden in her 10th start, and retired with earnings of $6,028. Fortunately, she did carry her mother’s ability to pass on speed – her very first foal was stakes winner JJs Double Dash (by JJ Shot Glass, $140,071) and her next was the durable stakes winner Heza Wicked Man (by Heza Fast Man, $181,209). She is also the dam of Grade 2-placed Safehaven (by Heza Fast Man, $168,418), who made the majority of his 61 starts at the claiming level.

Acquired by Burnett Ranches in 2009, Wicked Pamela died last year. She has three 2-year-olds: Zoomin Pamela (by Jess Zoomin), Captain Wicked (by Captain Courage) and Wicked Eagle (by One Famous Eagle). She also has two yearlings: Sixes Eagle (by One Famous Eagle) and Wicked Cat (by Separatist).