Van Gogh (American Pharoah) Wins Gr.1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud

Van Gogh Newest Grade I Winner for American Pharoah

A good October for American Pharoah got even better on Saturday when his 2-year-old son Van Gogh (2c American Pharoah x Imagine, by Sadler’s Wells) romped home to a strong win in the Group I Criterium International.

Already a multiple group placed runner, the colt quickly settled in the back of the field under Pierre-Charles Boudot as they started their mile long journey around Saint-Cloud in France. Swinging toward the stand’s side hedge in the stretch, Van Gogh slipped up through a hole and had the lead in only a few strides.

The colt easily pulled away from there to win by four lengths in confident style for the Coolmore partners and Diane Nagle. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Van Gogh had placed in three of his four Group runs before this race.

“I made my move along the rail, which is always a big help here and he showed a very nice turn of foot,” Boudot told Thoroughbred Daily News. “He was a bit tricky and green in front and was looking around, so he can only improve and has run on all grounds so the signs are positive for next year.”

Bred by Barronstown Stud, Van Gogh is one of five graded or group winners out of dual classic winning Imagine. The 2001 Epsom Oaks winner is also the dam of Group I winner Horatio Nelson, Group II winners Viscount Nelson and Kitty Matcham, and Group III winner Point Piper along with Group I-placed Red Rock Canyon.

The dam of 10 winners from 11 runners, Imagine also has a strong family behind her as a half-sister to four-time Group I winner Generous and the Group III winning granddam of multiple champion Moonlight Cloud and the great-granddam of Group I winner Sobetsu, Dee Majesty, and Tower of London.

There is more to come for Imagine with the mare having a filly by American Pharoah last year.

Now the sire of two Group/Grade I winners, last year’s Champion Freshman Sire American Pharoah tops the North American Second-Crop Sire list in every stakes category and by earnings with 11 stakes winners, eight graded stakes winners, 17 graded stakes horses, and six Grade I performers.