11/01/2017 1:10PM

Spotlight shines bright on American Pharoah's first weanlings

Barbara D. Livingston
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah's first foals will come to auction in November.

Two years after he last set foot on a racetrack, the story of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s second career continues to unfold. The young stallion, who is based at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., will be represented by his first weanlings offered at public auction this month in Kentucky.

And some of the youngsters, who face sky-high expectations as they step onto the stage, are already drawing rave reviews.

“It’s going to be tough for any other freshman sire to compete against American Pharoah, from what I’ve seen so far,” said Adrian Regan, manager of Hunter Valley Farm, which consigns four this November. “The Pharoahs stand out at the moment. I personally loved the horse when I saw him at Ashford, absolutely loved him. It was an experience to see him. And from what I’ve seen of the foals so far, they’re special. Special.”

American Pharoah, who stood for an advertised fee of $200,000 in his first season, got his first commercial test when he averaged $446,250 as a covering sire from a dozen mares in foal sold late last year and early this year. That response bodes well for his first weanlings – although sales officials note that next year’s yearling market may be a truer test of his broader commercial reception.

“Not everyone plays in the weanling market like they do in the yearling market, so I’m not sure how representative it is,” said Bob Elliston, Keeneland’s vice president of racing and sales.

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American Pharoah has six weanlings cataloged at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale and 22 at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, with 16 of the latter group slotted in the elite Book 1 portion. His inclusion of six weanlings in the highly selective single-session Fasig-Tipton sale reflects his special circumstances. No other first-year sire has more than two weanlings in the group. Only one other stallion matches him at six – young commercial sensation Cairo Prince, by the same stallion in Pioneerof the Nile.

“He’s near and dear to our hearts,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said of American Pharoah, who was purchased back by breeder Ahmed Zayat at the company’s 2013 Saratoga selected yearling sale. “Based on the horses we’ve seen, he’s making really, really outstanding physical individuals. His potential as a sire is well known, and it’s just really exciting. I think there’s a very, very, very bright future for American Pharoah, and I think there’ll be quite a bit of competition for his offerings.”

The highlight of the Fasig-Tipton sextet is a filly out of Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Untouched Talent, dam of dual classic-placed Grade 1 winner Bodemeister and multiple Grade 1-placed juvenile Fascinating. Bodemeister, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming in his first crop, is by Empire Maker, grandsire of American Pharoah.

“She had tons of talent,” trainer Jeff Bonde said of Untouched Talent. “She wasn’t a real big horse, but she had a real big [stride]. Another filly that gave it her all every time.”

Untouched Talent was a $5 million purchase by Coolmore out of the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale. Her weanling filly will be consigned, as agent, by Eaton Sales – which also handles one of the marquee offerings at Keeneland, a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man.

American Pharoah’s first book of mares, as expected, was littered with Grade 1/Group 1 winners and producers, and the resulting weanlings on offer at Keeneland November also include a half-sister to dual classic winner and champion I’ll Have Another and a half-brother to multiple Group 1 winner Caravaggio. Multiple Grade 1 winner Life At Ten, who delivered a filly by the Triple Crown winner this year, has two winners from as many starters, including Grade 2-placed Singing Bullet. Other Grade 1 winners with their American Pharoah weanlings cataloged at Keeneland are Ariege, Cat Moves, Harmony Lodge, and Joyful Victory.

Harmony Lodge is the dam of Grade 3 winner Stratford Hill. Her weanling colt highlights the quartet for Hunter Valley, which also consigns a filly out of Grade 2-placed Jemima’s Pearl at Keeneland, and a filly out of stakes winner Flattermewithroses and a colt out of stakes-placed Sheraton Park at Fasig-Tipton.

“They’re very, very classy,” Regan said. “Beautiful movers. They’re well-balanced horses, and he seems to really stamp his foals so far, from what we’ve seen. Every single one of them has been classy, classy mentally.”

American Pharoah also will be represented at Keeneland November by 17 broodmares carrying foals from his second crop. That group is led by Helena Bay, dam of Pacific Classic winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Collected, and Life Well Lived, dam of Grade 1 winner American Patriot.

Elliston extolled the quality of mares carrying foals by American Pharoah.

“Everyone is looking forward to seeing if that greatness comes through his progeny,” Elliston said. “From the look of the mares, Coolmore has done a tremendous job.”

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