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.
American Pharoah’s well-bred Party Season (3c American Pharoah x Party Silks, by Touch Gold) got his sire’s weekend started on the right note with a maiden victory in Ireland on Friday.
Racing over 10 ½ furlongs, Party Season was alongside the leader nearly from the start as he raced a few paths off the rail. With Seamie Heffernan aboard, Party Season took over inside the final two furlongs and raced away from the field.
In the end, Party Season won by 1 ¾ lengths over Gleneagles’ Eagle’s Flight to take his record to two on-the-board finishes in three starts.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore partners, the Gerard A. Nielsen-bred was a $1-million Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale purchase by M.V. Magnier from Summerfield.
Out of Party Silks, Party Season is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner and multiple Grade I-placed Upstart and stakes-placed New York Hero. Party Silks is a half-sister to Grade II winner Josh’s Madelyn with her stakes placed dam out of stakes winner Intently. That mare is the dam of two stakes winners and the granddam of Spanish champion Plantagent.
The sire of over 70 winners, American Pharoah leads all North American Second-Crop Sires in nearly every category. The Triple Crown winner and last year’s Champion Freshman Sire has seven graded stakes winners, 10 stakes winners, and 17 graded stakes horses among his runners led by Grade I winner Harvey’s Lil Goil.