By Alan Carasso
Making his first start since a towering 10-length graduation over nine furlongs on his Dec. 14 debut at Nakayama, Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah), one of six winners from seven Japanese runners for his Triple Crown-winning stallion, bombed the start of Sunday's Listed Hyacinth S. at Tokyo, but gradually worked his way into contention and sprinted hard in the final furlong to score by 1 1/4 lengths. He is the sixth first-crop stakes winner for American Pharoah.
Favored at just over even money, the $475,000 OBS March acquisition by Emmanuel de Seroux's Narvick International was very slow into stride and was six lengths detached from the rest of the field early on, but was allowed to find his feet and had tacked on passing the 1000-meter pole. Traveling in hand, but forced to cover ground on the turn, Cafe Pharoah was perhaps as many as seven paths off the inside, but nevertheless had drawn to within three lengths at the quarter-pole. Ridden hands and heels into the final eighth of a mile, he never felt Mirco Demuro's crop and prevailed with something in hand.
The victory was worth 30 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, which concludes with the Fukuryu S. (allowance) over 1800 meters at Nakayama Mar. 28.
Cafe Pharoah is bred on the same cross responsible for GII Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Four Wheel Drive. Mary's Follies won the 2009 GIII Boiling Springs S. for trainer John Forbes and a partnership including Phantom House Farm, James Dinan and BDL Stables and was subsequently acquired by Paul Pompa. She went on to add that year's GII Mrs. Revere S. Already the dam of two graded winners, including 'TDN Rising Star' Regal Glory, Mary's Follies is represented by a yearling Candy Ride (Arg) colt and was most recently covered by Pompa's GI Cigar Mile H. hero Connect (Curlin).
WATCH: Cafe Pharoah remains perfect in the Listed Hyacinth S.
Sunday, Tokyo, Japan
HYACINTH S.-Listed, ¥36,400,000 ($328,357), Tokyo, 2-23, 3yo, 1600m, 1:37.7, ft.
1–CAFE PHAROAH, 123, c, 3, by American Pharoah
1st Dam: Mary's Follies (MGSW, $338,889), by More Than Ready
2nd Dam: Catch the Queen, by Miswaki
3rd Dam: Wave to the Queen, by Wavering Monarch
1ST STAKES WIN. ($475,000 2yo '19 OBSMAR). O-Koichi Nishikawa; B-Paul Pompa Jr (KY); T-Noriyuki Hori; J-Mirco Demuro; ¥19,308,000. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, ¥26,308,000. *1/2 to Night Prowler (Giant's Causeway), MGSW, $475,682; and Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom), 'TDN Rising Star', MGSW, $435,084.
2–Tagano Beauty (Jpn), 123, c, 3, Henny Hughes–Special Dinner, by Special Week (Jpn). O-Ryoji Yagi. ¥7,688,000.
3–Yaugau (Jpn), 123, c, 3, Gold Allure (Jpn)–Testico, by Tiznow. (¥31,000,000 Ylg '18 JRHAJUL). O-G Riviere Racing Co Ltd. ¥4,844,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 2HF, HF. Odds: 1.10, 2.10, 5.00.
Also Ran: Longonot (Jpn), Herrschaft, Meisho Tensui (Jpn), Ultramarine (Jpn), Taisei Policy (Jpn), Damiei Corrida (Jpn), Reine Blanche (Jpn), Jet Max, Morino Break (Jpn), Nile River, Chimera Verite (Jpn).