Pioneering Spirit Runs Away With Knickerbocker
It was another stakes victory for American Pharoah’s Grade I-placed Pioneering Spirit (4g American Pharoah x Foundation Spirit, by Giant’s Causeway) with a win on the dirt in the Listed Knickerbocker Stakes.
Moved off the turf to 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, Pioneering Spirit shadowed the leader throughout the early stages of the race. He took control just outside the turn and started to pull away from there. Jockey Jose Ortiz let Pioneering Spirit coast home as he pulled away by 15 ¾ lengths over the second placed runner.
Trained by Linda Rice for A. Bianco Holding Limited, Pioneering Spirit has won six of his 11 starts this year with three other top three finishes. Those victories include the Listed Bernard Baruch Stakes at Saratoga with a third in the Grade I Sword Dancer Stakes as well.
The gelding is the first out of Foundation Spirit, a daughter of Chilean Horse of the Year Wild Spirit. That mare also produced the stakes winning Diva Spirit and Foundation Spirit’s stakes-placed full brother Wild Zambezi. Another half-sister is the dam of multiple graded stakes winner and Grade I-placed Protonico.
This is the third stakes winner of the month for American Pharoah, who has sired nine stakes winners and 20 stakes performers in 2023, led by a Grade I winner.