It’s always among the key questions on everyone’s mind as 2-year-olds begin racing when Keeneland opens in April and the first-year sires have their first chance to show off their progeny. In this ongoing series, we have sought the opinion of several top judges as to who will be on top of the podium when 2019 is in the books.
Wesley Ward, Trainer
“You have to think the answer is American Pharoah. With the mares that he got and as fast as he was and how everyone at the sales has been raving about them, you have to think they’re going to come out running. Not only is he a Triple Crown winner, he was bred to nothing but the best when it comes to mares.
“I have five of them. I’m hoping the one I have out of [champion female sprinter] Judy the Beauty (Ghostzapper) turns out to be the big star, but I have a biased opinion there. She’s showing some pretty quick times. I just started breezing my
2-year-olds last week. I’m working the 2-year-olds a little later every year and works right now are only a sixteenth of a mile or an eighth of a mile. My initial impression of my American Pharoahs is they’re going to be good and they’re going to be quick. It’s not just that they’re going to be quick, I think they’re going to be really good horses.
“Because I like to run at Royal Ascot I was curious as to whether or not the American Pharoahs would like the grass. I ran into Bob [Baffert] and I asked him what he thought about American Pharoah as a stallion and I also asked him that question, will they be able to run on the grass? He told me, ‘the one thing I wish I could have done is run him on the grass because, with the way he moved, I think he would have loved it.’ That stuck in my mind, so I bred a couple of turf mares to him. It would be great if we could get one to Royal Ascot.
“Another sire I think people should keep an eye on is Carpe Diem. I have a filly by him that I bought who is really, really smart and shows that she’s going to be pretty quick. She’s a very nice filly. I paid dearly for her, but I’ve seen others by him that didn’t sell for that much that also look very good. I think he’s going to be a sire that injects some speed into his horses.”