First Group I Winner for American Pharoah
Set to have his first runners in Australia this season, Triple Crown hero American Pharoah posted his first Group I winner in North America when quality filly Harvey’s Lil Goil (3f American Pharoah x Gloria S, by Tapit) won the Group I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup ( 1/8th mile) at Keeneland.
Trained by Bill Mott for the estate of her breeder Harvey Clarke and co-owner Paul Braverman, Harvey’s Lil Goil was already a Group III and Listed winner going into this race, but went to a new level with this performance.
She stalked the leader and then took over turning for home before holding off all challengers to win by three-quarters of a length.
“She has a lot of natural speed,” said winning rider Martin Garcia. “She’s fast - you can do whatever you want. After the break, I moved outside and she was really comfortable by herself. When it was time to go, I asked and she responded.”
Mott’s assistant Kenny McCarthy added, “We were pretty confident with her. She ran a super race for us at Kentucky Downs in her last out and had trained really well in between. She’s a little superstar. She pretty much goes on any surface for us. At least in my mind, I think the turf probably is a little bit easier for her to handle.”
Harvey’s Lil Goil has the overall record of four wins and two placings from just eight starts earning over $US560,000.
Harvey’s Lil Goil’s is the third winner from Gloria S, a half-sister by Tapit to Champion 3-Year-Old and Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another and Grade III winner Golden Award.
American Pharoah is back in Australia this spring at a fee of $55,000.