Café Pharoah Third Grade I Winner For Pharoah
Already a multiple graded stakes winner for his sire, Café Pharoah (4c American Pharoah x Mary’s Follies, by More Than Ready) reached another level on Sunday when becoming his sire’s third Group I winner with a win in the February Stakes on dirt in Japan.
Almost exactly a year after his maiden stakes victory in the Listed Hyacinth Stakes, the 4-year-old returned to the same card in the headline race of the day. Racing over a mile on the dirt, Café Pharoah was hustled out of the gate to race just a few lengths behind the leaders.
Jockey Christophe Lemaire kept the Noriyuki Hori trainee on the rail for most of the race but as they turned into the stretch decided on a different route. The colt was swung to the outside to confront the leaders where he didn’t have to worry about being trapped and it worked to his advantage. Entering the final furlong, Café Pharoah headed the lone leader and raced on by with another horse following him.
That rival was no real threat with the field closing in on the line quickly and Café Pharoah crossed it three-quarters of a length the best.
“His condition was super, and I had confidence already at the paddock,” Lemaire told Thoroughbred Daily News. “We decided to use cheek pieces hoping for a more aggressive performance. His start was good, we were positioned well and he responded beautifully. The colt has such high potential. I had no doubt that he could land a Group 1 win if he gave his best. I'm happy that it all worked out today.”
Bred by Paul Pompa, Café Pharoah was a $475,000 2-year-old purchase by Narvick International at the OBS Select 2-Year-Old Sale for racing owner Koichi Nishikawa.
The winner of five of his seven starts with four stakes wins to his name, Café Pharoah is a half-brother to Grade II winner Regal Glory and Grade III winner Night Prowler. The trio are out of Grade II winner Mary’s Follies.
It was a good day all around in Japan for American Pharoah with another one of his three runners in the country finishing third earlier on the card.
Now the sire of three Grade I winners in three different countries and on two surfaces, American Pharoah leads all Northern Hemisphere third crop sires by Grade I winners along with graded stakes winners (nine), Grade I performers (seven), and graded stakes horses (18).