03/11/2015 11:41AM

Kentucky Derby pedigree profiles: American Pharoah

Shigeki Kikkawa
American Pharoah is a son of young sire Pioneerof the Nile, who was represented by a pair of classic starters last year.

American Pharoah
Pioneerof the Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman
(Bred in Kentucky by Zayat Stables)

Balance has been key for divisional champion American Pharoah, with classic influences on the top side of his pedigree thus far appearing to outweigh a female family slanted heavily toward speed.

Sire Pioneerof the Nile scored all his victories at 1 1/16 miles or beyond, including the Santa Anita Derby; he finished second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Of the young sire’s five other domestic stakes winners in addition to American Pharoah, all have landed their biggest wins at a mile or beyond. His runners have done well on synthetic and turf, with his dirt performers led by Cairo Prince and Vinceremos, both graded stakes winners on the 2014 Triple Crown trail, and Social Inclusion, third in the Preakness Stakes.

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American Pharoah looks to be next in that classic lineup. The colt scored a pair of Grade 1 victories in the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes – the latter around two turns – against a tough Southern California-based group, which was enough to earn the Eclipse Award despite missing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile due to injury.

Pioneerof the Nile is by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, one of three American classic winners sired by Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled.

Meanwhile, the bottom side of this pedigree is slanted toward sprint success. Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman, was unplaced in both of her career outings. Her only other starter is Xixixi, who scored both career wins at six furlongs. Littleprincessemma is a half-sister to graded stakes-winning sprinters Storm Wolf and Misty Rosette.