Pioneerof the Nile’s young stallion career reached new heights on Saturday when American Pharoah triumphed in a thrilling renewal of the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Following a trio of frustrating runner-up finishes in recent years, American Pharoah’s breakthrough run was especially fulfilling for his owner Ahmed Zayat, who also bred the winner.
“We own the mare (Littleprincessemma) and raced the sire, so this is 100% satisfying. We are very blessed,” said an emotional Ahmed Zayat after the race.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who won his fourth Kentucky Derby, talked about American Pharoah and third-place finisher Dortmund, recalling how the last week had gone for both.
“I’ve been on pins and needles all week, but it’s been a good week. I might have had them a little too fresh. When you’re working with horses of this caliber, there is a fine line. (American Pharoah) worked a tad fast the other day, so I backed off of him a little bit the rest of the week.”
Both Zayat and Baffert said, pending any setbacks, American Pharoah would go on to Baltimore for the Preakness S. (G1) in two weeks. Baffert also said the horse would not need to work between now and then since his fitness level is where it needs to be.
American Pharoah has won five of his six lifetime starts, all in graded stakes. He has now earned $2,830,300, with victories in the Arkansas Derby (G1), Del Mar Futurity (G1), FrontRunner S. (G1) and Rebel S. (G2).
Pioneerof the Nile, last year’s leading Second-Crop sire, was on top of the 2015 Third-Crop sire list prior to Saturday, and is now by far and away ahead of the sires of his generation with over $3 million in progeny earnings. American Pharoah’s win also rocketed his sire into the top five on the General Sire list.