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Victory in the Grade 2 Peter Pan was a big step forward for Madefromlucky, who scored his first stakes victory in the nine-furlong race at Belmont Saturday.

A sharp-looking chestnut, Madefromlucky showed good form as he kept improving through the spring, winning a maiden special at Gulfstream in late December and then an allowance in early February at the same Florida track.

The colt’s next start made him look a bit special, especially in retrospect, as he finished second to Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, and Madefromlucky looked like yet another classic prospect coming off the extraordinarily deep bench from Todd Pletcher’s stable.

In the colt’s next start, however, a fourth in the Arkansas Derby did not move the case forward for Madefromlucky, nor did it gain him the important Kentucky Derby points that were essential for progressive but lightly accomplished colts to gain entry into the classic at Churchill Downs.

In both his starts at Oaklawn, American Pharoah won off impressively, and Madefromlucky clearly has quite a lot to find if sent to compete against the juvenile champion. While American Pharoah won the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths, Madefromlucky was highly competitive with the other members of the field, finishing three-quarters and a neck behind Far Right and Mr. Z, both of whom had the points and owners with the inclination to try them in the Kentucky Derby. They finished 15th (Far Right) and 13th (Mr. Z) in the Run for the Roses.

Madefromlucky made good use of his time and competitive form, going to Belmont and picking up a graded success in what appeared to be a further improvement from his level of performance all spring and winter.

In that improving arc of form, Madefromlucky is following a pattern made familiar by his grandsire Smart Strike (by Mr. Prospector), who was noted for getting stock that improved through their third and fourth years.

An outlier in that significant record of stud success was Madefromlucky’s sire, champion juvenile Lookin at Lucky. Once-beaten at 2, Lookin at Lucky made improvement at 3, was good enough to take home the classic prize at Pimlico, but had less of an edge over his rivals at 3 than had been the case a year earlier.

Now that Lookin at Lucky has his first crop of 3-year-olds racing, which is led by Madefromlucky and Sunland Oaks winner Maybellene, it is interesting to see that Lookin at Lucky’s best stock are following Smart Strike’s pattern of development, rather than their sire’s.

A rangy and good-sized horse, Lookin at Lucky actually doesn’t look like a typical 2-year-old champion. Instead, his type, with scope and size, suggests the improvement with maturity that we are seeing in his offspring’s performances on the racetrack.

Even though he is rising toward his best form now, Madefromlucky was a good sales 2-year-old, selling for $150,000 to co-owner Mac Nichol at last year’s OBS March auction out of the consignment of Crupi’s New Castle Farm. That was a good sale for the colt, who had toddled a furlong in only :10 4/5, but one of the features of Madefromlucky’s performance was a stride length of nearly 24 feet.

Now that Madefromlucky has matured and strengthened, he has a truly impressive stride, along with the power to maintain his rhythm and pick up the pace when needed. He is a nicely progressive colt who may well appreciate greater distance, and the indications are that he could get a chance to test his merit in the Belmont Stakes.

Another point of interest in estimating his potential stamina is that Madefromlucky is out of Home From Oz, a full sister to leading sire Tapit (Pulpit), who is a fount of speed and class but who also gets some performers that stay quite well, like last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist.

A nice-looking chestnut, Home From Oz did not rival her brilliant brother on the racetrack. She did not even start in a race.

But as a producer, she did not fall far from the family tree. Three of the mare’s four foals to race are winners, and A Shin Gold (Medaglia d’Oro) ran second in the Japan Dirt Derby. Home From Oz is now the second daughter of stakes-winning Tap Your Heels to produce a stakes winner. Stakes-placed Overandabeauty (Grand Slam) has produced Cicada Stakes winner Noble and a Beauty (Noble Causeway).

Madefromlucky’s second dam, Tap Your Heels (Unbridled), is one of two stakes winners out of the Nijinsky mare Ruby Slippers. The other is champion sprinter Rubiano (Fappiano), a winner three times at the G1 level (NYRA Mile, Carter, and Vosburgh) and much more a high-class miler than a pure sprinter.

Ruby Slippers is the dam of four other stakes producers, and this is the family that also has produced Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird (Birdstone), and the fourth dam is a full sister to the important sire Relauch.

This is a family littered with class, and it appears to have gotten lucky again.

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