The winner of the listed Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct on Dec. 30, Drafted (by Field Commission) has had the best season of his lengthy career that began with a debut victory as a 2-year-old at Keeneland in 2016 and now counts 10 victories from 33 starts for earnings of $1,157,443.

Bred in Florida by John Foster, Barbara Hooker, and the Field Commission Partnership, Drafted sold as a 2-year-old in training at the OBS March sale of 2018, bringing $35,000 from trainer Eoin Harty. The gray won his debut, then sold privately to Godolphin, which exported the quick youngster to England, where Drafted finished 17th in the Windsor Castle Stakes, then returned to the U.S. and was sixth in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes.

Subsequently, a condylar fracture sidelined Drafted, and after a lengthy recuperation, he was sold to Brian Gleeson at an auction in Dubai for slightly less than $11,000, then returned with a victory at Meydan at the end of 2018. Drafted continued to improve, added a pair of G3 victories in 2019, and then returned toward the end of 2020 to race in the States, where he has campaigned since.

The Gravesend was the fourth stakes victory of 2022 for Drafted, added to the G3 Toboggan and Runhappy, plus the Mr. Prospector at Monmouth Park, and the gelding’s speed and lengthy career are typical of his ancestors, many of whom are not the most common of household names.

Drafted’s sire Field Commission was the 2009 champion sprinter in Canada, winning eight races from 30 starts and earning slightly more than $1 million. Field Commission was probably the best racer by the Deputy Minister stallion Service Stripe, a stakes winner and sire in Kentucky, Michigan, and elsewhere.

Drafted is the only stakes winner from his dam, the Darn That Alarm mare Keep the Profit, who was unraced but produced seven winners from 10 foals. Broodmare sire Darn That Alarm was another talented, consistent, and durable racer. The gray horse won nine of 42 starts, including the 1984 Fountain of Youth. The horse was also second in the G1 Dwyer at three and the Widener at five, as well as third in the G1 Florida Derby.

The handsome gray hit the high point of his racing career with that victory in the Fountain of Youth, defeating subsequent Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner and champion 3-year-old colt Swale (Seattle Slew) with a very steadily run race that Darn That Alarm dictated from the lead. Later efforts proved that Darn That Alarm wasn’t able to handle the best of his generation, but his consistency and good efforts earned him a place at stud with Meadowbrook Farm in Ocala.

At stud, Darn That Alarm struck a note that made him one of the most popular sires in the Sunshine State: he sired two Grade 1 winners in his first crop.

His son Pistols and Roses won the Hialeah spring prep series – Bahamas, Everglades, and Flamingo, then finished second in the Fountain of Youth before winning the G2 Blue Grass. A disastrous 16th in the Kentucky Derby was a prelude to other disappointing efforts, but Pistols and Roses returned to his home state and won the G1 Donn Handicap in 1993 and 1994. A winner in 10 of 44 starts with earnings of more than $1.6 million, Pistols and Roses entered stud in 1995 in Kentucky at Mare Haven Farm, where he met with minimal success.

From the same 1989 crop, Turnback the Alarm became her sire’s first graded winner with victory in the G2 Schuylerville at Saratoga and was second in the G1 Spinaway at two in 1991. The next year, she advanced on that form to win both the G1 Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks; at four, Turnback the Alarm won three more G1s (Shuvee, Hempstead, and Go for Wand). The first-class filly was sold, in foal to leading sire Gone West, as a 7-year-old in 2006 for $700,000 to Haruya Yoshida.

With these two stars in his first crop, Darn That Alarm was the leading freshman sire in Florida in 1991 and was a popular sire for a time.

Had that stroke of success come to the sire of Darn That Alarm, the Native Dancer sire Jig Time, the sky would have been the limit. A striking gray, Jig Time had been a well-regarded young horse who was bred in New Jersey by the estate of Frank A. Piarulli and sold as a yearling for $85,000 to the Cragwood Estates Inc. of Charles Engelhard. Trained by Mack Miller, Jig Time did not win at two but progressed notably at three to finish second in the Derby Trial, was fifth in both the 1968 Derby and Preakness, and won the Lamplighter Handicap at midyear.

It was enough to earn the handsome gray a place at stud, and he received some acclaim standing at Big C Farm near Ocala. Of course, it was nothing like the acclaim given his own sire, multiple champion Native Dancer. In contrast to the son who won a single stakes, Native Dancer lost only once.

Such are the differences between the good and the great, but the generational links in pedigrees carry both down to us through the years to our good performers today.