For the second time from his first four crops Pioneerof the Nile has the favorite to earn an Eclipse Award in the 2-year-old male category.
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In 2014, American Pharoah's award was almost a certainty after his undefeated season that included a pair of Grade 1 wins.
The same could be said for Classic Empire following his four wins in five starts in 2016. With victories in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and Breeders' Futurity (G1), as well as the Bashford Manor S. (G3), Classic Empire's resume towers over other 2-year-olds. His only setback came when he lost his rider at the start of the Hopeful S. (G1).
Pioneerof the Nile wrapped up 2016 as the leading cumulative Fourth-Crop Sire. He had nearly $6.4 million in progeny earnings last season, with Midnight Storm and La Alpujarra joining Classic Empire as Grade 1 winners in 2016.
Winners of the Eclipse Awards will be revealed on Saturday, Jan. 21 at Gulfstream Park.