Spielberg Receives Top Billing in American Pharoah

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Spielberg | Keeneland

The highly regarded Spielberg (Union Rags) will look to earn his diploma in Saturday’s GI American Pharoah S., a qualifier for the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Produced by a winning daughter of Smart Strike, the long-striding $1-million KEESEP yearling purchase figures to appreciate this stretch to two turns off a pair of runner-up finishes behind the talented Dr. Schivel (Violence), including a game effort after dueling throughout in the seven-furlong GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity S. Sept. 7.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert seeks his record 10th victory in this race, named in honor of his 2015 Triple Crown hero, off the heels of wins with Game Winner (2018) and Eight Rings (2019).

“I think Spielberg should like two turns,” Baffert said of the 3-1 morning-line favorite. “They went really fast early in the Futurity and he got beat by a really nice horse. I really think two turns will be better for him, just the way he moves and all. He’s bred for it.”

Weston (Hit It a Bomb) will also try a route for the first time. The narrow GII Best Pal S. winner was third, beaten 5 1/2 lengths, after pressing the pace in the Del Mar Futurity. He became his freshman sire (by War Front)’s first winner at Santa Anita in June, and the Spendthrift stallion’s first stakes and graded stakes winner in the Best Pal.

Waspirant (Union Rags), a son of GI Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic heroine Life Is Sweet (Storm Cat), followed a well-beaten fourth behind Dr. Schivel and Spielberg on debut in a six-furlong special weight with a maiden breaker going a mile at Del Mar Aug. 29. John Shirreffs adds blinkers for this following the win.

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