American Pharoah’s Van Gogh Named Cartier Champion 2-Year-Old
American Pharoah hit another major milestone on Friday night when his Group I-winning 2-year-old son Van Gogh (2c American Pharoah x Imagine, by Sadler’s Wells) was named Europe’s Cartier Champion 2-Year-Old Colt.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore partners and Diane Nagle, the Barronstown Stud-bred proved to be a consistent top-level performer from the start. Entered in a group race in just his second outing, he finished second by just a neck to experienced stablemate Military Style in the Group III Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes.
From there, Van Gogh would race almost exclusively in Group competition with seconds in both the Group II KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes and Group III Emirates Autumn Stakes. The colt’s crowning moment, however, came when he won by an easy four lengths in the Group I Criterium International to become his sire’s second Group I winner in two weeks after Harvey’s Lil Goil.
In all, the colt finished first or second five of seven times in 2020.
Van Gogh is the second-to-last foal out of dual classic winner Imagine. That purple-blooded half-sister to four-time Group I winner Generous has proven to be just as talented in the breeding shed as on the track with 10 winners from 11 to race.
In addition to her newly crowed champion, she 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 mare’s final foal is a full-sister to Van Gogh.
Imagine continues a long line of success in her family with the mare also a half-sister to 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.
Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah has impressed from the start as a sire. Named Champion Freshman Sire in 2019, he leads all North American second crop sires in nearly every category with two Grade I winners, six graded stakes winner, 10 stakes winners, six graded stakes winners, and 14 stakes horses – including 11 at the graded stakes level.