American Pharoah won his second straight Grade 1 race Saturday in the $300,000 FrontRunner S. at Santa Anita Park, putting the 2-year-old Pioneerof the Nile colt right on target for the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), which also runs at Santa Anita.
American Pharoah broke his maiden second time out in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) on Sept. 3, and he backed up that victory with another powerhouse performance in the FrontRunner, which was his first start around two turns.
As he did in the Futurity, American Pharoah went right to the lead Saturday, daring his competition to catch him. Skyway was closest the first six furlongs, then Calculator made a brief effort at the top of the stretch, but American Pharoah was simply too much, drawing off powerfully to win by 3 ¼ lengths.
“All the way he was on a high cruising speed,” said his winning rider Victor Espinoza. “He has such a long stride. He moves really nice and is light on his feet. When the other horse, (Calculator) got close to me, I encouraged my horse a little. He’s a young so I want to teach him that when he hits the stretch it’s time to go. I did, and he moved three or four lengths in front. He’s one of the best 2-year-olds right now.”
Trainer Bob Baffert talked about American Pharoah in terms of his sire, who Baffert also trained.
“He’s different from Pioneerof the Nile. Pioneer took a while to relax. This horse has a lot of brilliance. What I’m noticing is that he’s putting brilliance into his offspring. There’s (definitely) something there that is making him an unbelievable sire.”
Pioneerof the Nile is the leading Second Crop sire by a wide margin, with over $3.3 million in progeny earnings, more than $1 million than any other second crop sire. He also leads in the stakes winners (6) and stakes wins (8) categories.
With the win, the Zayat Stables homebred has taken two of his three starts and has earned $361,500.