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Coolmore to give American Pharoah chance to prove himself a top turf sire

$1.2m filly among Triple Crown winner's yearlings heading to Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O'Brien and MV Magnier at the Keeneland sale this week
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Triple Crown winner American Pharoah may have done all of his racing on dirt, but Coolmore intends to give the stallion a big chance to prove he can sire top-quality competitors on turf in Europe and eventually emerge as a global supersire.

MV Magnier affirmed while buying yearlings at the Keeneland September sale this week that the Coolmore team is in the process of assembling a group of American Pharoah colts and fillies for Aidan O’Brien to train at Ballydoyle.

Among that group will be a $1.2 million filly Magnier acquired at Keeneland who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Cupid, a son of Tapit who stood his first season at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud this spring.

Sale results

“We’re going to try to get the best (American Pharoah offspring) we can for Aidan and give them the best chance at Ballydoyle,” Magnier said. “We’ll give it a go.”

O’Brien also spent time at the Keeneland sale and inspected some of the American Pharoah yearlings, finding them, in general, to be impressive specimens, said Magnier, who hinted that Coolmore plans to follow the same strategy with this year’s Triple Crown winner Justify. While an official announcement has not yet been made, it is widely believed that Justify will stand at Ashford in 2019.

“I remember Bob Baffert said, when we bought (American Pharoah), that he really felt he would have went on grass. And I believe Justify is the same,” Magnier said. “That’s what Ballydoyle was built on - American bloodlines. So, we’re just going to take these American horses over to the grass in Europe and see how it goes.”

The half-sister to Cupid is the co-highest priced daughter of American Pharoah to be sold at public auction, joining the filly out of multiple Grade 1 winner Life At Ten who was sold for the same price at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected sale to Larry Best.

“She looks like a lovely filly,” Magnier said of the Coolmore purchase, a chestnut who was consigned to the Keeneland September sale as Hip 306 in the VanMeter-Gentry Sales consignment and who was produced by the Grade 2-placed Beau Genius mare Pretty ‘n Smart. “We really liked her.”

In addition to Cupid, the filly is a half-sister to graded winners Heart Ashley and Ashley’s Kitty, as well as to stakes winner Indianapolis. She was bred in Kentucky by Turner Breeders.

Last month at the Arqana Deauville sale, Magnier acquired another American Pharoah filly who appears ideal for the European test. He paid €750,000 for the half-sister to Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille winner Shareta and indicated she would join O’Brien.

The potential for outstanding horses to pass along their ability to progeny competing on any surface has been amply demonstrated. Justify’s sire, Scat Daddy, for example, would have been regarded by some as a “turf sire,” but then his Triple Crown-winning son proved that he was just as mighty of a progenitor when it came to dirt racing.

Kentucky Derby winner Northern Dancer is perhaps the ideal, as he transformed European racing and breeding as a sire.

Coolmore clearly is searching for the next version of Northern Dancer, a horse who can make himself invaluable to the sport globally and dominate auction marketplaces.

American Pharoah is, so far, performing brilliantly with his offspring in sale rings. After Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale, he is an easy leader among first-crop sires of sale yearlings with 52 sold for an average price of $517,770. His nearest rival among first-crop sires is Honor Code, whose 44 yearlings sold have averaged $269,613.

American Pharoah’s numbers have been so outstanding that he currently ranks behind only War Front, Medaglia d’Oro and Tapit among all sires, excluding those in Japan, with at least four yearlings sold in 2018.

“He was such a great racehorse and he was so sound, let’s hope he passes it on,” Magnier said of American Pharoah. “He has every chance of doing that.”

If you are interested in this, you should read:

'He's stamping them' - Pharoah's first crop take centre stage at Saratoga

We’re just going to take these American horses over to the grass in Europe and see how it goes

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