On a day of stellar open-length graded performances under the Twin Spires on the dirt, Harvey’s Lil Goil reminded us that the grass can be just as exciting as she gave a heart-stopping performance to win by a head. One of several in the field of 13 who already had black-type experience, the gray was prominent early and always up with the leaders, keenly tracking longshot Eve of War (Declaration of War) from the outside behind fractions of :23.26 and :47.48. Harvey’s Lil Goil collared that one at the quarter pole and powered to the front while a pesky Crystal Cliffs ducked to the inside and tested her to the wire. The Bill Mott trainee never relented, holding on by that determined head and paying a generous $24.20. It was her first time on the lawn since a fourth-place finish in her debut last November.
Breaking her maiden second time out Dec. 12 by six lengths going a mile at Aqueduct, Harvey’s Lil Goil stayed in New York for a subsequent 7 1/2-length score in the Busanda S. Feb. 2. She reappeared May 1 in Oaklawn’s GIII Fantasy S., but never factored throughout the race and finished well behind in 11th.
Harvey’s Lil Goil is from a family developed by her breeder, the late Harvey A. Clarke. Her dam, the unraced Gloria S., is a half-sister to the Clarke-bred champion I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley), best known as the winner of the 2012 GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. Clarke also bred the same family’s Golden Award (Medaglia d’Oro), a dual graded stakes winner last year. Clarke’s estate still owns Gloria S., who produced fillies by Cairo Prince the last two breeding seasons. Harvey’s Lil Goil is one of seven black-type winners from the first crop of American Pharoah and the fifth graded winner by the Triple Crown victor. Interestingly, four of his five graded winners have been on the turf, with the lone dirt graded winner being last week’s G3 Unicorn S. winner Cafe Pharoah in Japan.