PEDI­GREE ANAL­Y­SIS

CLAS­SIC EM­PIRE

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News -

Pioneerof the Nile-Sam­buca Clas­sica, by Cat Thief

(Bred in Ken­tucky by Steven and Brandi Nicholson; $475,000 pur­chase by John Ox­ley at 2015 Keeneland Septem­ber year­ling sale)

Clas­sic Em­pire, who de­buts as the fa­vorite on Mike Watch­maker’s Ken­tucky Derby fu­ture line, be­came the se­cond Eclipse Award cham­pion ju­ve­nile in three sea­sons for sire Pioneerof the Nile.

The first? Amer­i­can Pharoah, who fol­lowed his 2014 cham­pi­onship by sweep­ing the 2015 Triple Crown. No pres­sure. Clas­sic Em­pire rep­re­sents an­other solid shot at the clas­sics for Pioneerof the Nile, who is ce­ment­ing his rep­u­ta­tion as a source of stamina. The Em­pire Maker horse, who scored all his own wins at a mile or longer, hinted at this prow­ess with his first crop, as Cairo Prince won the 2014 Holy Bull Stakes, Vin­cer­e­mos won the Sam F. Davis and fin­ished se­cond in the Tampa Bay Derby, and So­cial In­clu­sion fin­ished third in both the Wood Memo­rial and Preak­ness Stakes. Emerg­ing from Pioneerof the Nile’s se­cond crop was Amer­i­can Pharoah, who ripped through the Triple Crown and won five other Grade 1 events in his ca­reer, in­clud­ing the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic.

Pioneerof the Nile’s other stakes horses also have done their best run­ning at route dis­tances, in­clud­ing graded stakeswin­ning fil­lies Dark Nile and Jojo Warrior, as well as Mid­night Storm and Cash Con­trol, both graded win­ners on turf.

On the bot­tom side of his page, Clas­sic Em­pire, a two-time Grade 1 win­ner at 1 1/16 miles, has al­ready an­swered some dis­tance ques­tions posed by his im­me­di­ate fe­male fam­ily. His dam, the placed Cat Thief mare Sam­buca Clas­sica, has pro­duced four win­ners from as many starters – but only Clas­sic Em­pire has won at a dis­tance be­yond six fur­longs. Clas­sic Em­pire’s half-sis­ter Up­town Twirl is a mul­ti­ple stakes win­ner at six fur­longs, hav­ing taken last year’s Surf­side Stakes and Pleasan­ton Oaks.

Class and stamina abound fur­ther back in the pedi­gree. Clas­sic Em­pire’s se­cond dam is stakes win­ner and mul­ti­ple stakes pro­ducer In Her Glory, who fin­ished third in both the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes and Gazelle Hand­i­cap. It is the ex­tended fam­ily of sev­eral other out­stand­ing race­mares, in­clud­ing cham­pion Re­v­idere, whose toplevel wins in­cluded the Coaching Club Amer­i­can Oaks and who also was third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Princess­ne­sian, who won the Hol­ly­wood Gold Cup.

– Ni­cole Russo

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