General a Rod was put on the Kentucky Derby trail when he won the Gulfstream Park Derby on the first day of 2014 (Photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglinese)
New Year’s Day is graduation day for 2013’s crop of 2-year-olds, calling forward a fresh batch of 3-year-olds – new Kentucky Derby prospects. Although, quite ironically, New Year’s Day, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, already has been eliminated from contention and retired to stud, optimism is an undeniable force. North American horse racing has been given auspicious contenders such as Havana and Honor Code.
That is not to mention another 3-year-old, new to the fray. General a Rod marked the New Year – the universal birthday of all Thoroughbreds – with a victory in the Gulfstream Park Derby.
In the Gulfstream Park Derby, he stalked the pace in third through fractions of :23.14 for the opening quarter and :45.91 for the half-mile. With Joel Rosario aboard, General a Rod commenced his winning bid at the quarter pole but found a challenging rival in Wildcat Red. He got the advantage of a head bob at the finish line and completed the race with a time of 1:35.84 for one-mile race.
The Gulfstream Park Derby was this Roman Ruler colt’s 3-year-old debut. Trained by Mike Maker, he already showed promise as a juvenile. On Oct. 18, General a Rod won at first asking in a seven-furlong race on the PolyTrack surface at Keeneland. More than one month later, J. Armando Rodriguez’s colt was second-best in a race at Churchill Downs. General a Rod was defeated by 1 ¾ lengths, but he was three lengths ahead of the third-place finisher.
Roman Ruler has shown potential for consistent Triple Crown success as a sire, as his progeny includes the 2012 Belmont Stakes winner, Ruler On Ice. His sire, Fusaichi Pegasus, won the Kentucky Derby and was the runner-up in the Preakness Stakes.
Breed-shaping sire Mr. Prospector has a significant influence on General a Rod’s pedigree. This promising 3-year-old descends from the Mr. Prospector sire line. Notably, Roman Ruler’s broodmare sire, Silver Deputy, is out of a Mr. Prospector mare.
Northern Dancer also has a significant presence in General a Rod’s bloodlines, most notably through the celebrated broodmare sire Danzig. General a Rod also boasts the strong influence of Princequillo – another sire famous for his daughters.