Apr. 17 Insights: Ward Sends Out First U.S. American Pharoah Runner at Big A

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American Pharoah | Sarah Andrew

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1st-AQU, $100K, Msw, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, 1:30 p.m. EST

It’s been 36 years since the first foals from an American Triple Crown winner raced on U.S. soil, going back to when Affirmed’s initial crop of 2-year-olds hit the track in 1983. The wait is over, as American Pharoah’s first two Stateside runners are entered in the Wednesday opener at Aqueduct for trainer Wesley Ward. Only one is expected to run, however, and the filly will try to follow in the auspicious footsteps of Monarch of Egypt, who kicked things off for ‘Pharoah’ progeny Saturday at Naas in Ireland and was promptly named a ‘TDN Rising Star’ with a 2 3/4-length debut score (video).

With morning-line favorite and GISW Hootenanny (Quality Road) half-sister Lady Delaware expected to scratch, that leaves Ice Wine Stable’s TESORINA to carry the flag. The chestnut, bred by Ward, is out of GISW Nonsuch Bay (Mr. Greeley) and shares a second dam with MGSW/GISP Samraat (Noble Causeway). She’s trained steadily, and got a feel for the local track with a half-mile breeze in :50 flat (2/14) Apr. 14.

“She is quick,” said Ward of Tesorina. “I trained a Scat Daddy that also is out of Nonsuch Bay [Brittas Bay]. Body wise, she appears to be more a sprint type of filly.”

Overall, Ward was beaming about the opportunity to train American Pharoah’s first North American runner, who he hopes can get the Coolmore stallion’s second career off to a sharp start in his native land.

“I’m excited,” Ward said. “Coolmore has always been good to me. American Pharoah was a tremendous racehorse and hopefully [will be] a tremendous sire as well.”

Elsewhere in the field, the precocious Fast Anna also gets his stallion career off the runway with Rudy Rodriguez pupil Women Not Easy. Owned by Frank Calabrese, Fast Anna won his first two starts by a combined 15 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream in 2014 and was a neck second in that summer’s GI King’s Bishop S. He also ran well to be fifth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths, after setting blistering fractions of :21.19 and :43.34 in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint two starts later. Standing for $7,500, his progeny have been generally well received in the sales ring, and Women Not Easy hammered for $130,000 after breezing a furlong in :10 2/5 at OBS March. The New York-bred is a half to multiple state-bred SW Miss Narcissist (Freud) and has the same second dam as GSW/GISP Faypien (Ghostzapper).

3rd-KEE, $60k, Msw, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, 2:12 p.m. EST

Ward won’t just have action at Aqueduct Wednesday, as he enters a pair of fillies to kick off the day’s juvenile action at Keeneland. Hat Creek Racing’s CHILI PETIN (City Zip) is the first foal out of SW Cat’s Claw (Dynaformer). Bought for $32,000 at Keeneland September, her second dam is a half-sister to MGISWs Point of Entry (Dynaformer) and Pine Island (Arch), and she shows a typically-sharp Ward worktab, capped by a three-furlong move in :35 4/5 (4/30) Apr. 10. The other half of his uncoupled entry is Letsstaypositive (Palace Malice), the first starter for her GI Belmont S.-winning freshman sire (by Curlin). The chestnut is the initial foal out of SP Jazzminegem (Mineshaft), a half-sister to MGSW Notacatbutallama (Harlan’s Holiday). Also opening her freshman sire (by Offlee Wild)’s stallion account is the fast-working Biddy Duke (Bayern). The $22,000 Keeneland November buy drilled a half-mile from the gate here in :46 3/5 (1/11) Mar. 22 for trainer John Ennis and is out of a dam who won her only start in February 2016 at Santa Anita with an 81 Beyer.

5th-KEE, $60k, Msw, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, 3:18 p.m. EST

The Ward 2-year-old interstate blitz continues as he runs Ramon Tallaj’s promising juvenile filly NAYIBETH (Carpe Diem), the first starter for her freshman sire (by Giant’s Causeway), in the second division of Wednesday’s Keeneland baby race. Picked up for $230,000 as a Fasig-Tipton October yearling, the bay is a half-sister to MGSW Soldat (War Front) and has been lighting up the local main track in the mornings, most notably rattling off a three-furlong bullet in :34 3/5 (1/30) Apr. 6. Her sire’s two Grade I wins both came at this oval, romping by 6 1/4 lengths in the 2014 GI Breeders’ Futurity and notching a three-length score in the GI Blue Grass S. the following spring. Castleton Lyons’s Diamonds Are A (Street Sense) looms as a potential upsetter for the Ben Colebrook barn. A $120,000 Keeneland September graduate, she is out of SW/GSP Dr. Diamonds Prize (Pure Prize), a half-sister to Friday’s GIII Fantasy S. upsetter Lady Apple (Curlin). She also shares a second dam, GSP juvenile Miss Mary Apples (Clever Trick), with GSW Nootka Sound (Lonhro {Aus}), who captured her debut by 5 1/4 lengths over this track in 2017.

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