December 1, 2023

American Pharoah juveniles: Maven earns Group breakthrough; Arqana May topper named Ocean Atlantique

Maven, American Pharoah's first North American winner, struck in France to become his first Group stakes hero (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography

American Pharoah was represented by two Group performers on a banner Saturday in Europe. After Monarch of Egypt placed a solid second in the Railway (G2) on the Irish Derby (G1) undercard, the freshman sire celebrated his first Group winner when Wesley Ward’s Maven gamely held on in the Prix du Bois (G3) at Chantilly.

Both juveniles had been expected to compete at Royal Ascot, only to have plans change in response to circumstances. Maven was entered in the June 20 Norfolk (G2) as scheduled, but rain-affected ground prompted his withdrawal from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) “Win and You’re In.” Ward at the time mentioned that France was next on his agenda, and Maven vindicated the switch of targets – as well as repaying the decision not to sell him on the eve of Royal Ascot.

Offered at the Goffs London Sale June 17, Maven attracted a bid of £725,000 that would have made him the sale topper, but that did not meet his reserve price. Owner Richard Ravin accordingly retained the son of his multiple stakes winner Richies Party Girl, who was herself trained and co-owned by Ward. Richies Party Girl had raced once in France without success, finishing fourth in the 2013 Prix du Calvados (G3) over seven furlongs.

Sticking to about five furlongs here was the key for Maven. American Pharoah’s first North American winner, the chestnut was coming off a 4 1/2-furlong debut score at Aqueduct April 19. He again showed his early speed in this first turf try, along with a marked tendency to keep looking at the stands. Under jockey Mickael Barzalona, Maven beat off his pace rivals and found enough to keep his head in front of the closing Jolie at the wire.

The 2-1 second choice, now undefeated from two starts, clocked :58.36 on ground officially rated “good to soft” but better than at Ascot. The odds-on favorite, Hurricane Ivor, was a lackluster seventh of eight after getting away slowly.

Since dam Richies Party Girl rolled in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in 2013, it’s no surprise that Maven is aiming for the upgraded version, itself a Breeders’ Cup event. Horse Racing Nation’s Jonathan Lintner reported Sunday that’s just where Ward is looking.

Although the Aidan O’Brien-trained Monarch of Egypt had to settle for second in the Railway, his performance was full of merit. American Pharoah’s first overall winner had encountered a setback since his April 13 unveiling at Naas, and O’Brien ruled him out of the Royal meeting to give him more time. Thus Monarch of Egypt was just ready to resume Saturday, off the two-month break, and he bumped into a serious rival in Siskin.

A Juddmonte homebred closely related to champion Close Hatches, dam of current Triple Crown veteran Tacitus, Siskin might have been a key player at Ascot himself. But trainer Ger Lyons didn’t want to subject him to that test yet, preferring his original game plan of the Railway. Siskin responded with a decisive 2 1/2-length victory to extend his record to three-for-three.

Watch how Monarch of Egypt stays on determinedly while drawing 2 1/4 lengths clear of stablemate Fort Myers. Considering that Fort Myers had been beaten fewer than two lengths when fourth to another O’Brien runner, Arizona, in Royal Ascot’s Coventry (G2), the form looks strong. And with Monarch of Egypt being out of the Galileo mare Up, who captured the 1 1/4-mile Blandford (G2) in 2012, his effort was promising for the future.

Maven and Monarch of Egypt’s displays on Saturday came one week after American Pharoah registered his third winner, and first in Great Britain, courtesy of Godolphin’s Saqqara King at Newmarket. The Charlie Appleby trainee was dispatched as the 4-6 favorite in the June 22 novice, and he duly stepped up from his useful fourth on debut. A gray like his dam, Grade 1-winning millionaire Joyful Victory, Saqqara King kept on to defeat fellow Godolphin colorbearer Mass Media.

Other results and upcoming entries

Several other progeny have debuted since our last American Pharoah juvenile round-up on June 7. Two raced at Churchill Downs – Emily’s Oasis, trained by Ian Wilkes for Lothenbach Stables, finished fourth on June 21, and Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas sent out Beth and Michael Harper’s Pharoah Cat to a fifth-place effort June 23. Two more turned in educational runs for O’Brien, Holy Roman Empress (12th of 17 on June 26 at Naas) and Hong Kong (seventh of 11 on June 27 at the Curragh).

Later this week, two are set to begin their racing careers. Gary Contessa entered Another Miracle in the 5TH race at Belmont Park, a 5 1/2-furlong dash, on Thursday’s July 4 card. At Ellis Park on Friday, Envied is ready to go for Ben Colebrook in the 5TH over a mile on turf.

Newly named two-year-olds

AMERICAN BUTTERFLY: Bay colt (foaled April 13) is the second registered foal from the winning War Front mare Gracie’s Butterfly. Dam is a half-sister to multiple Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Manuka Honey, from the further family of Canadian champion Numerous Times. Led out unsold at a bid of $390,000 (RNA, “reserve not attained”) at OBS April (under tack video here) and has posted a trio of works at Churchill Downs, including a three-furlong bullet in :36.20 June 23 and a half-mile Sunday in :49.00.

AMERICAN LEGEND: Dark bay filly (February 3) is out of the winning Yong Musician, who is a Yonaguska half-sister to Canadian champion Kimchi and to the dam of Mind Your Biscuits, a multiple Grade/Group 1 star and earner of more than $4.2 million. Yong Musician is responsible for Ecuadorian champion and Peruvian Group 1-placed Kingdom Road as well as Grade 3-placed Co Cola. Sold for $200,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling to the late J.J. Crupi, agent for Crupi 18, and recorded four moves at Churchill in June, most recently traveling five-eighths in 1:01.40 from the gate.

AUDIT: Bay colt (April 19) is out of the Bernardini mare Gilt, herself a half-sister to Grade 2-winning sire Exchange Rate and Group 3 scorer Sabre d’Argent. Purchased by Cromwell Bloodstock for $250,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September and worked twice in June, first at Keeneland and then a three-furlong spin in :38.20 on June 26 at Ellis Park.

ELFIN QUEEN: Chestnut filly (February 17), half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Cupid, commanded $1.2 million from Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier at Keeneland September. Dam, the Grade 2-placed Beau Genius mare Pretty ‘n Smart, has also produced Grade 3 vixens Heart Ashley and Pious Ashley and stakes scorer Indianapolis. Based with O’Brien at Ballydoyle.

FIFTH FLEET: Irish-bred bay colt out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Song is listed with trainer Joseph O’Brien in the June 20 Calendar Supplement on the Horse Racing Ireland website. Dam is an unraced full sister to Group 1-winning highweight Quarter Moon (herself the dam of Group 1 scorer Diamondsandrubies), classic winner Yesterday, multiple classic-placed All My Loving (dam of ill-fated multiple Group 2 hero Thomas Chippendale), as well as the dam of unbeaten Pennine Ridge (G3) victor Demarchelier.

FIFTY GRAND: Bay colt (April 13) is out of the A.P. Indy mare Desert Rose Drive. Dam is a half to multiple Grade 1 queen, $2.4 million-earner, and Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady, whose progeny include champion Will Take Charge and Grade 1 victor Take Charge Indy. Other descendants are champion Take Charge Brandi and current Arkansas Derby (G1) hero Omaha Beach, scratched as the morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Juvenile recorded a pair of three-eighths works at Churchill in the last week of June, improving from :38.20 on June 24 to :36.60 on Sunday.

OCEAN ATLANTIQUE: Bay colt (April 4) out of Tare Green, a Giant’s Causeway half to champion Leroidesanimaux, topped the Arqana May Breeze-Up (video here) when selling for €1.1 million (approximately $1,235,410). Andre Fabre is training the Coolmore purchase descended from the same family as blue hen Hasili, dam of Dansili, Banks Hill, Intercontinental, Champs Elysees, Cacique, and Heat Haze. The pinhook home run for Brendan Holland’s Grove Stud was first bought for $275,000 at Keeneland September.

OH SO TRUE: Bay filly (May 8), half-sister to multiple Group 1 queen Shareta, went to Coolmore’s Magnier for €750,000 (approximately $856,800) as an Arqana August yearling. Her dam, the stakes-winning Barathea mare Shawara, is in turn a half to classic heroine Shawanda, who produced 2012 St Leger (G1) upsetter Encke. With O’Brien at Ballydoyle.

PHAROAH FAWCETT: New York-bred bay filly (April 30) is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-placed stakes winner Mr. Z. Their dam, the unraced Stormy Bear, is herself a Storm Cat half to Canadian Hall of Famer Chief Bearhart, from the further family of supersire Mr. Prospector.

PHAST PHAROAH: Chestnut colt (March 6) is the first registered foal from the winning War Front mare Loudly, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 2-placed stakes winner The Lady’s Groom from the immediate family of multiple Grade 2 sprint hero Punch Line. Juvenile is an auction veteran, having brought $120,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, RNA’d for the same price at OBS March (under tack video here), and sold to trainer Jeff Bonde, agent, for $175,000 at Fasig Tipton’s inaugural Santa Anita Sale on June 5. He’s already a regular presence on the Santa Anita worktab, posting his third move (three furlongs in :37.00) June 26.

SLIP SLIDING AWAY: Chestnut filly (March 15) is out of Grade 3 victress Leading Astray. The Belong to Me mare is a full sister to multiple Grade 3-placed stakes winner Corrupt and a half to Grade 3 heroes Suntracer and Free Fighter, from the further family of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Astra. RNA’d for $145,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May and subsequently popped up with Jimmy Toner at Belmont Park, where she got back to work with a three-furlong breeze in :36.90 on the training track June 24.

SPANISH CHESTNUT: Bay colt (April 28) is a half-brother to English and Irish highweight Chachamaidee (dam of recent Pinnacle [G3] winner Klassique) along with Group 3 scorers J Wonder and California Whip (in Hong Kong). Their dam, the unraced Danehill mare Canterbury Lace, is a full sister to Group 3 victor and classic-placed Alexander of Hales and a half to classic queen Virginia Waters, from the prolific family of In the Wings, High-Rise, and Infamy. Horse Racing Ireland lists Mrs. John Magnier of Coolmore as the owner.

U S PHAROAH: Bay colt (April 8), a half-brother to three graded performers including 2008 Spinaway (G1) queen Mani Bhavan, sold to Justin Casse for €190,000 (approximately $213,389) at Arqana in May (breeze-up video here). Other notable half-siblings are Grade 2 scorer Hear the Ghost and Grade 1-placed stakes victor Closing Bell, all produced by the winning Coronado’s Quest mare Rehear. Further down the page is 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champion and noted sire Speightstown.

Past articles in the American Pharoah series

American Pharoah’s first crop turns two: the names so far

American Pharoah’s first crop: Wish Way works bullet; next batch of named two-year-olds

American Pharoah colt Horus Bird entered at Dundalk Friday – plus round-up of his latest named juveniles

American Pharoah juveniles: Finally the One among slew of recently named

American Pharoah juveniles: Maven for Royal Ascot; Lady Eli’s half named Princesa Caroline