American Pharoah's Four Wheel Drive Kicks Off Breeders' Cup Festivities

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5th at SA , Gr. Stk, $1000000GII Juvenile Turf Sprint (5f)Winner: Four Wheel Drive, c, 2 by American Pharoah

Four Wheel Drive | Horsephotos

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ARCADIA, CA – It didn't take long for superstar freshman sire American Pharoah to get his first Breeders' Cup winner, as Breeze Easy's Four Wheel Drive broke sharply and went all the way in the GII Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint to kick off the action at the weekend's World Championships Friday at Santa Anita.

Bought for $525,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling, Four Wheel Drive debuted as a heavy favorite in the Rosie's S. Aug. 31 at Colonial and kicked away smartly to score by 3 1/4 lengths over three next-out winners before repeating with another powerful performance in the GIII Futurity S. Oct. 6 at Belmont to punch his Breeders' Cup ticket.

Backed down to 3-2 favoritism in a deep 12-horse field in this second renewal of the Juvenile Turf Sprint, the Wesley Ward trainee broke characteristically well under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and quickly established command, feeling only mild pressure from Chimney Rock to his inside. Finding some daylight and dictating terms while traveling comfortably through a :21.55 quarter, Four Wheel Drive made a break for it midway around the turn and arrived at the top of the lane in hand.

Chimney Rock angled to the outside, and emerged as the only rival with a realistic shot at running down the leader as he went clear past the furlong grounds, but in the end, Four Wheel Drive never looked a loser, and he held sway by three-quarters of a length on the wire as his game pursuer took one final, futile shot. Another Miracle won a photo with second choice Kimari for third to give American Pharoah a 1-3 finish, while the best faring European invader was Dr Simpson (Fr) (Dandy Man {Ire}), who checked in fifth.

“He's a very, very talented colt,” said Ward. “He's done nothing wrong so far, he's three for three, he's got a big, big future next year as a 3-year-old. We're all real excited. It's always nervous jitters when you're coming through here trying to get something done, and to actually do it with an American Pharoah–everybody's got such high expectations for him, and to get it done on the big stage like this in the Breeders' Cup is just unbelievable.”

“This is a big day for Breeze Easy,” said principal winning owner Mike Hall. “We have been in the game three, four years, it's not been long, and to do this, to win a Breeders' Cup race is a pretty big deal. We were lucky and won a race at Royal Ascot [G2 Norfolk S. with Shang Shang Shang (Shanghai Bobby)], but this seems more thrilling than that. I got to thank Wesley. He puts a lot of hard work into training his horses and does a great job. So we are really thrilled. To have an American Pharoah–I think there were three American Pharoahs that made it to the Breeders' Cup, and to have one to win, it's a big deal to us.”

As for what's next for his undefeated pupil, Ward said, “Obviously, for me, it's well known that I try to go to Royal Ascot, and this colt certainly would be one of the favorites next year to do that as we sit today. He's done a lot in a short amount of time. I think he deserves a little bit of a break, a little bit of a letdown and then push forward. But what he's doing right now, being a turf sprinter, there's not a lot until the springtime.”

Pedigree Notes:

Four Wheel Drive is one of four stakes winners and three graded stakes winners for his red-hot first-crop sire, with all of his progeny's black-type victories coming on turf thus far. He is the second foal to race and first black-type winner for Funfair, who, similarly to Four Wheel Drive, won her first two races by open lengths sprinting on turf, including the 2012 Colleen S. at Monmouth. Second dam Fleuron is a half-sister to MGSW/G1SP Dynever (Dynaformer), as well as the dam of 2009 GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile upsetter Furthest Land (Smart Strike). Bought for $350,000 by the late Olin Gentry at the Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale in 2016, Funfair was bred back to American Pharoah this spring.

Friday, Santa Anita
BREEDERS' CUP JUVENILE TURF SPRINT-GII, $920,000, Santa Anita, 11-1, 2yo, 5fT, :55.66, fm.
1–FOUR WHEEL DRIVE, 122, c, 2, by American Pharoah
1st Dam: Funfair (SP), by More Than Ready
2nd Dam: Fleuron, by Distant View
3rd Dam: Flamboyance, by Zilzal
($525,000 Ylg '18 FTSAUG; $825,000 RNA 2yo '19 FTFMAR). O-Breeze Easy, LLC; B-Glenvale Stud (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward; J-Irad Ortiz Jr. $550,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $692,500.
2–Chimney Rock, 122, c, 2, Artie Schiller–What's Your Point, by Wheaton. ($18,000 Ylg '18 ESLYRL). O-Three Diamonds Farm; B-Stargazers LLC & Clear Creek Stud LLC (LA); T-Michael J. Maker. $170,000.
3–Another Miracle, 122, c, 2, American Pharoah
Margins: 3/4, 1HF, HD. Odds: 1.50, 12.60, 19.20.
Also Ran: Kimari, Dr Simpson (Fr), Encoder, Dream Shot (Ire), Alligator Alley (GB), Cambria, A'Ali (Ire), King Neptune, Band Practice (Ire). Scratched: Bulletproof One, Karak, Fore Left, Air Force Jet (GB).
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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