Pioneering Spirit Second Stakes Winner of Weekend for Pharoah
It was a second stakes winner in 24 hours for American Pharoah on Monday when Pioneering Spirit (4g American Pharoah x Foundation Spirit, by Giant’s Causeway) won the Listed Bernard Baruch Stakes at Saratoga.
Third in the Grade I Sword Dancer Stakes last out, the gelding raced two lengths behind the leading Bring Me a Check in the 1 1/16-mile turf race when taking up the third position. Racing on the rail early on, Jose Lezcano angled him to the outside in the turn to have him closer to the leaders turning into the stretch.
He had to fight multiple rivals in the final furlong but cleared them in the final sixteenth to win by 2 ¾ lengths in the end.
“The horse is just a dream,” trainer Linda Rice said. “I could see him improving with the distance. I think his distance limitations are boundless. He could run a mile and a half, he might go two miles. But I think he’s not pace dependent per se. He can switch it up from short to long, obviously this was a mile and a sixteenth.”
Trained by Rice for A. Bianco Holding Limited, it was the fifth win in nine starts this year for Pioneering Spirit with the gelding finishing in the top three in 11 of 18 starts for $443,250.
Rice said that Pioneering Spirit is now targeting the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on September 30.
Pioneering Spirit is out of a Giant’s Causeway half-sister to stakes winner Diva Spirit with the mare also a full sister to stakes placed Wild Zambezi and three-quarter sister to multiple graded stakes winner and multiple Grade I placed Protonico.
American Pharoah’s two stakes winners led five September winners with the stallion also siring the Grade III Music City Stakes third Bling.