American Pharoah’s baby sister, American Cleopatra, debuts at Del Mar

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 29th, 2016

Nearly two years after American Pharoah began his career at Del Mar, his two-year-old full sister takes up the baton in Sunday’s 3RD race at the seaside track. Just glance at the entries and there’s no mistaking her identity – the well-named American Cleopatra.

Like her Triple Crown-winning brother, American Cleopatra is a Zayat Stables homebred trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. “Pharoah” is virtually an impossible act to follow, but baby sis will try to outdo him in one respect: he famously lost first time out, finishing fifth as the 7-5 favorite. Stewart Elliott guides “Cleopatra” from post 5 in the eight-filly field.

The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile and Littleprincessemma is listed at 4-1 on the morning line, making her the co-third choice in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint. Her pedigree might cause her to go off at a shorter price, but 5-2 stablemate Jeweled has a faster work pattern, and the 3-1 She’s My First has the benefit of a solid first race under her belt.

Jeweled is owned by Baffert’s longtime supporter Mike Pegram in partnership with Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. A $190,000 Keeneland September yearling, she’s by Sidney’s Candy and from the immediate family of 2005 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Summerly. Jeweled hit the worktab a full two months before American Cleopatra did, recording her first move in April. She also has a total of three bullets to her credit, capped by a five-furlong scorcher in :58 4/5 from the gate here July 25. The morning-line favorite will break from the outside post 8 with Tyler Baze.

Fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer sends out She’s My First, the most straightforward of the three entrants who have race experience already. From the first crop of To Honor and Serve, and out of a half-sister to Grade 2-winning juvenile Classic Elegance, she figures to be a useful two-year-old. She’s My First argued the pace throughout in her unveiling at Santa Anita, where she was beaten all of a half-length in third. Her rail draw on Sunday could produce a similarly tough set-up, but at least she knows her job.

The other two making their second start, War Factor and Tiki Bar Logic, are both bound to do better. War Factor, from the first crop of past Baffert star The Factor, adds blinkers off an eighth for Richard Baltas. Mike Machowsky’s Tiki Bar Logic, by freshman sire Shackleford, seeks to bounce back after a troubled sixth.

The priciest auction purchase in the race is Union Strike, a $375,000 OBS April juvenile who debuts for up-and-coming trainer Shelbe Ruis. A daughter of freshman Union Rags, Union Strike is a half-sister to Grade 2-winning millionaire Handsome Mike. She’s lured Hall of Famer Mike Smith into the saddle, and rates as the joint third choice with “Cleopatra” at 4-1.

Trainer Doug O’Neill, of Nyquist and I’ll Have Another fame, is represented by firster Sandy’s Springs. Based at Los Alamitos, the Drosselmeyer filly posted a couple of bullets at three and four furlongs earlier this summer before graduating to five-eighths.

Cautious Dreams sports a strong pedigree, as a Bernardini half-sister to Grade 3 heroine La Traviata (dam of Group 1-winning juvenile Crusade and recent Irish Oaks [G1] victress Seventh Heaven). Trainer Keith Desormeaux is patient – see his 7% strike rate with first-timers – so she may need this introduction to bring her forward.

American Cleopatra photo by Cecilia Gustavsson/