The Kentucky Derby is fast approaching and Stiles Points will be featuring some of the top contenders for the first leg of the Triple Crown...today's feature is on Pioneerof the Nile...
Pioneerof the Nile has raced eight times and has won five, including its last four races...on April 5th it won the Santa Anita Derby and on March 13th it took the San Felipe (video below)...
Pioneerof the Nile
Trainer - Bob Baffert
Jockey - Garrett Gomez
Sire - Empire Maker
Like many colts before him, Pioneerof the Nile will seek to avenge the loss of his father in the Kentucky Derby. His sire, the regally bred Empire Maker, won the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial prior to starting as the 5-2 favorite in the 2003 Run for the Roses, but complications from a foot bruise perhaps compromised his chances at Churchill Downs as he wound up 1 3/4 lengths second behind Funny Cide.
Steve Haskin of BloodHorse wrote this:
"This winning machine just goes out there race after race and gets the job done even with having to run counterproductive to his best running style. He can adapt to any pace scenario and is so smooth and light on his feet he's a joy to watch. It would be a surprise if he didn't handle the dirt just as well or better, but he still has to go out and do it."
This was written about Pioneerof the Nile on the Kentucky Derby blog:
overcame the challenge of another paceless race on Saturday and enhanced his status as a leading contender for the May 2 Kentucky Derby (G1) with a one-length victory in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). It's now on to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, for the dark bay and trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Run for the Roses three times but who has not had a participant in the 1 1/4-mile Classic the past two years.
"He came out of the race very good, and he'll probably leave for Kentucky on the 14th," Baffert said Sunday morning, as he watched his two-time Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing (Indian Charlie) jog. "He's still pretty fresh at the barn this morning. He never had to lay his body down."
Pioneerof the Nile has rarely if ever experienced a pace scenario that would benefit his come-from behind style. He began his current win streak in the December 20 CashCall Futurity (G1) in his final start at two, made his three-year-old bow a half-length score in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) and was a 1 1/4-length victor of the San Felipe S. (G2) on March 14.
"I'm figuring out his style as we go along," Baffert said. "I learned a lot from that horse yesterday. You get a little bit out of each race, and it prepares me for the Derby, so I'm really happy with my situation right now. The only time he really hooked top-caliber horses was in the Robert Lewis. But we know what he can do when he does hook them, and he's improving."
Garrett Gomez has ridden Pioneerof the Nile in each of his four victories, but the dual Eclipse Award-winning jockey also has ridden Florida Derby (G1) runner-up DUNKIRK (Unbridled's Song) for Todd Pletcher, who hopes to make the Kentucky Derby despite marginal graded earnings at this time.
"I haven't even given that any thought," Baffert said when asked if he had Gomez for the Derby.
A 3:34 clip of Pioneerof the Nile's win at the San Felipe: