American Pharoah: From A Grand Slam Champ To A Grand Sire In The Making
Excitement builds as Triple Crown winner’s first crop come to the major yearling sales in 2018
By Mary Perdue
It’s hard to believe it’s been less than three years since Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah thrilled racing fans around the world by capturing the first U.S. Triple Crown in 37 years, then capped it off with his “Grand Slam” Breeders Cup Classic victory, retiring sound with total earnings more than $9 million. Since then, the 2015 Horse of the Year has been busy in the breeding shed at Ashford Stud — where he resides in a stall formerly occupied by dual horse of the year Cigar and the late leading sire Scat Daddy – as well on Southern Hemisphere time at Coolmore, Australia.
“American Pharoah has gotten off to as good a start as we could have hoped for,” said Dermot Ryan, Ashford Stud’s manager. “He has fantastic stock on the ground who have inherited his exceptional looks, walk and temperament.”
American Pharoah’s stud book consisted of more than 200 mares in each of his first two years at stud, making him number three in North American for 2017 and placing him behind only Into Mischief and Dialed In. His pedigree allows him to be bred to a wide variety of mares, as he is free of inbreeding in his first four generations.
“He continues to be very popular,” explained Ryan, who also said he expects his book to be “about the same” this year by the time the season officially ends in July.
A typical day in breeding season for American Pharoah includes covering a mare around 7:30 a.m., followed by turnout in his paddock until 11 a.m. He is then shown to breeders and visitors throughout the afternoon, and sometimes will breed another mare. He is also either hand walked or lunged daily to keep him in peak condition.
“We are very lucky that his fertility is excellent,” explained Ryan, who also says that American Pharoah has adapted easily to his life at stud.
“He’s as calm and friendly here as he was when he was in training,” Ryan noted, adding that the stallion’s old friends Bob Baffert, Victor Espinoza and the Zayat family continue to visit whenever they are in town.
Though his first crop won’t race until 2019, this year will prove an important one for American Pharoah. His first crop will be appearing at the prestigious and market-shaping Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale and Keeneland September Yearling Sale held August 6 and 7 and September 10 through 22, respectively.
Members of this crop, bred in 2016 for a $200,000 fee, were first offered as weanlings the 2017 winter sales where they lit up the board. His daughter, who out of the grade 3-winning Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent making her a half-sister to Arkansas Derby winner and standout sire Bodemeister, sold for $1 million to Emannuel de Seroux’s Narvick International. According to Coolmore, Narvick plans to keep the filly for an eventual life as a broodmare in Japan.
Another star from American Pharoah’s first crop is a colt out of the stakes-winning Holy Bull mare Mekko Hokte, who is the dam of European Group 1 winner Caravaggio. The colt, who sold as a short yearling for $1 million to M.V. Magnier at Keeneland in January, will be trained to race, possibly by Aidan O’Brien.
One great thing about photos of young horses is that they show how much change happens as they develop in their first year. American Pharoah himself looked like a completely different horse as a short yearling in January of 2013 at officially 11 months old than he did eight months later, right before he passed through the ring at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga sale, where he failed to meet his reserve and was bought back for $300,000.
For more info, photos and video of American Pharoah growing up, visit www.taylormadeadvantage.com/americanpharoah
At Keeneland last November, an American Pharoah’s filly out of the multiple grade 1-winning millionaire Life at Ten, by Malibu Moon, sold for $500,000 to Blue Sky Stable, as a probable pinhook. Four other weanlings were sold in November with prices ranging from $250,000 to $525,000. At Keeneland in January, a colt out of the recently deceased French Deputy mare Air France sold for $400,000.
Another interesting story involves Toast to Ashley (by First Defence), a mare bred to American Pharoah in his first season, who was offered for sale in foal last year but failed to meet her reserve at $190,000. However, that foal – a filly – sold this year at Keeneland in January for $220,000. She is inbred to Castle Eight, who is the second dam of American Pharoah’s sire, Pioneerof the Nile.
Juddmonte-owned Soothing Touch, who is dam of Kentucky Derby also-ran Hofburg (by Tapit) produced a colt by American Pharoah last year and foaled another American Pharoah colt on April 28. Juddmonte confirms that these two colts will be kept to race and Soothing Touch is scheduled to visit Arrogate this year.
Other mares in foal to American Pharoah have also commanded top prices, with highest being Life Well Lived, who sold at Keeneland November for $1.25 million to celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
Some other mares from American Pharoah’s first book include:
*Ivanavinalot, the dam of multiple champion Songbird, produced a filly
*Arch’s Gal Edith, dam of Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, foaled a filly
*Multiple grade 1 winner and Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady produced a half-sister to champion and standout sire Will Take Charge
*Sacre Couer, dam of Lady Eli, foaled a filly
*Spain, Breeder’s Cup Distaff heroine, produced a colt
*Champion female sprinter and multiple grade 1 winner Judy the Beauty, produced a filly
With offspring of such high quality, it will be interesting to see which of these may appear at Keeneland this September. Lady and the Track will keep readers posted on American Pharoah yearlings who go through the ring at Keeneland September with photos and sales prices, so stay tuned!