Pioneerof the Nile's sensational 2016 juvenile Classic Empire was named Champion 2-year-old Male at Saturday evening's Eclipse Award ceremony at Gulfstream Park.
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The win marked the second time from his first four crops that Pioneerof the Nile was represented by the Juvenile Male champion.
It will take some doing to match American Pharoah's historic accomplishments of 2014-15, but Classic Empire has been near flawless to date. If not for wheeling and losing his rider at the start of the Hopeful S. (G1), Classic Empire may well have an undefeated record going into 2017.
Classic Empire made his debut just three days before last year's Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, winning his maiden special weight unveiling by 1 1/2-lengths, the came back at the end of the Churchill meet to win the Bashford Manor S. (G3).
After the Hopeful, Classic Empire closed out his campaign with two Grade 1 wins at two turns: Keeneland's Breeders' Futurity and Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Mark Casse for John Oxley, Classic Empire is slated to make his 2017 debut in the Feb. 4 Holy Bull S. (G2) at Gulfstream.
Classic Empire was bred in Kentucky by Steven and Brandi Nicholson and was purchased by Oxley for $475,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. A half-brother to a pair of multiple stakes winners, Classic Empire has won four of five starts and earned $1,485,920, making his Pioneerof the Nile's second-leading lifetime earner, behind only American Pharoah and just ahead of millionaire Midnight Storm.