American Pharoah’s Sweet Melania Wins G3 Wonder Again
The first start of the year for Sweet Melania (3f American Pharoah x Sweet N Discreet, by Discreet Cat) was a winning one with the 3-year-old filly winning the Grade III Wonder Again in her first start since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last November.
Taking the lead quickly in the one mile race, she was closely shadowed by another runner but that didn’t seem to bother her as she galloped along in front. Asked to pick up the pace coming into the turn, there was no chance of the others catching her with the filly romping home and easing close to the wire for a deceptively small 1 1/2 length victory as the favorite.
"Analyzing the race beforehand, it looked as though she had a pace advantage,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We weren't going to put her on the lead, we felt that she would naturally get herself there. Jose did a nice job of hashing it out and she responded well. We planned on giving her a little time off after the Breeders' Cup and things went kind of crazy for a while. We didn't know where she would come back. We knew a distance like a mile was what we were looking for, so when this race came out, we pointed towards this.”
Trained by Pletcher for Robert and Lawana Low, the filly was bred by St. Elias Stables and sold for $600,000 as a yearling from the Gainesway consignment to West Bloodstock for her racing owners.
Pletcher isn’t sure where Sweet Melania will next start but says the plan is to stretch her out in distance.
"To be honest, I haven't studied [the Saratoga stakes schedule] in full,” Pletcher said. “I just wanted to get through this race first. I'm sure there will be some options for her and we'll try to stretch her out a little more. I'm not sure that she wants a mile and a quarter, but I think she's classy enough to where she can get a mile and an eighth."
One of two winners from two to race out of Listed winner and Grade II-placed Sweet N Discreet, Sweet Melania’s dam is also a full sister to Grade II winner and Grade I-placed Discreet Dancer and a half-sister to Grade II winner Travelin Man.
The filly’s extended family also boasts GI Epsom Derby winner Ruler of the World, five-time Group I winner Duke of Marmalade and GI Metropolitan Handicap winner Bee Jersey under her fourth dam with that mare a half-sister to blue hen mare Weekend Surprise.
One of two 2-year-old Grade II winners from American Pharoah’s first crop, Sweet Melania leads home a top week for American Pharoah that saw his Group I-placed son Monarch Of Egypt finish a close second in the Group III Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot earlier in the week and Turned Aside finish second in yesterday’s Sir Cat Stakes at Belmont Park.
American Pharoah’s first crop includes 18 stakes horses and seven stakes winners led by Group II winners Four Wheel Drive and Sweet Melania.