Multiple Grade 1 winner Pioneerof the Nile got his first North American winner in thrilling style on July 5 when River Dancer debuted a one-length victor on the inner turf course at Belmont Park.
The 2-year-old colt was last after a quarter mile, some ten lengths off the lead. Rajiv Maragh got River Dancer into gear midway around the turn, going five wide into the lane. He was carried even wider in mid-stretch, yet still managed to storm past the field to get six furlong maiden special weight contest in 1:09.81 on the firm turf. He earned $42,000 for the win.
Trained by David Cannizzo for ZRJ Stables, River Dancer was bred in Kentucky by Catherine Parke and Susan Noll. River Dancer is out of the Theatrical mare Clever Actress, who also produced the three-time stakes winner Big Apple Daddy.
Pioneerof the Nile entered stud in 2010 after a stellar career that saw the Zayat Stables colorbearer earn $1,634,200. Always competing against the best of his generation, Pioneerof the Nile won the CashCall Futurity (G1) at two, then came back the following year to take the Santa Anita Derby (G1), San Felipe S. (G2), and Robert B. Lewis S. (G2). He also was a gallant second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) before retiring in his 3-year-old season.
Pioneerof the Nile's juveniles have been a big hit during this year's 2-year-old auctions. With 18 sold to date, his sales average is $135,194, the top average for all freshman sires of 2-year-olds in training. Highlights in the sales ring include a $525,000 juvenile at OBS June, the top price ever at that auction, a $350,000 session-topping filly at OBS March, and a $340,000 Keeneland April juvenile, the top price for any freshman sire at the sale.