Pioneerof the Nile

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Pioneerof the Nile
Pioneerof the Nile at Winstar Farms.jpg
Pioneerof the Nile at WinStar Farm
Sire Empire Maker
Grandsire Unbridled
Dam Star of Goshen
Damsire Lord at War
Sex Stallion
Foaled 2006
Country United States
Color Dark Bay/Brown
Breeder Zayat Stables
Owner Zayat Stables
Trainer Bob Baffert
Record 9: 5-1-1
Earnings US$$1,634,200
Major wins

CashCall Futurity (2008)
Robert B. Lewis Stakes (2009)
San Felipe Stakes (2009)
Santa Anita Derby (2009)

American Classic Race placing:
Kentucky Derby 2nd (2009)

Pioneerof the Nile (foaled May 5, 2006 in Kentucky) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse who was the second-place finisher in the 2009 Kentucky Derby. He is the sire of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and many other graded-stakes winners.


Pioneerof the Nile is a bay horse bred in Kentucky by his owner, Zayat Stables. He was sired by 2003 Belmont Stakes winner, Empire Maker. His dam, Star of Goshen, was a stakes-winning daughter of Lord at War, a multiple grade I winner whose victories included the 1985 Santa Anita Handicap. During his racing career, the colt was trained by Bob Baffert.

Pioneerof the Nile's unusual name owes to the fact that The Jockey Club limits application submissions to 18 characters, including spaces; thus Zayat Stables dropped a space between "Pioneer" and "of".[1]

At a 2007 yearling auction, the as-yet-unnamed Pioneerof the Nile was "bought back" by Zayat for $290,000 after failing to achieve bids commensurate with the owner's expectations.[2] He matured to stand 16.2 hands (66 inches, 168 cm).[3]

Racing career[edit]

Pioneerof the Nile running in the 2009 Kentucky Derby


As a two-year-old, Pioneerof the Nile debuted August 4, 2008, in a Maiden Special Weight (1 1/16 of a mile on turf) at Saratoga, where he finished fourth, beaten by two lengths and a half.[4] His next race was on August 25, another 1 1/16 of a mile turf Maiden Special Weight at Saratoga. He jumped in the air at the break, and stayed in seventh of the nine horse field, before moving up and challenging for the lead on the turn, gaining the lead off of the turn, and going on to win by a length, with a time of 1:41.59.[5]

His next start came in the Grade I Breeders' Futurity Stakes, at Keeneland, where he stayed in last of the eleven runners before making a bold move on the far turn. He then flattened out in the stretch to finish third, beaten 8 lengths by Square Eddie and Terrain.[6] He then started as the eleventh choice (in a field of twelve) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which was held at Santa Anita Park that year. He broke well, settled in mid-pack before being checked slightly on the first turn, and then raced evenly in fifth on the backstretch. He then made a mild bid on the turn, and while he made no impression on the leaders, he battled gamely with the rest of the field to finish an even fifth, only 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner, Midshipman. [7]

3-year-old season

In his 3-year-old campaign, he won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, the San Felipe Stakes, and California's most important race for his age group, the Santa Anita Derby. Pioneerof the Nile finished second to Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby over a sloppy track. He finished 11th in The Preakness Stakes.


Pioneerof the Nile was retired from racing after a soft tissue injury in July 2009. He first stood at the Vinery Stud in Lexington, Kentucky, in 2010 for a stud fee of $17,500.[8] Zayat retained a 75% interest in the stallion, where he usually keeps a 25% share.[9] His first crop of foals began racing in 2013. From his first crop he sired Derby prospects Cairo Prince, winner of the 2013 Nashua Stakes and the 2014 Holy Bull Stakes, Social Inclusion, an allowance race winner who finished 3rd in the 2014 Wood Memorial and Preakness Stakes, and Vinceremos, winner of the 2014 Sam F. Davis and second-place finisher in the Tampa Bay Derby. Vinceremos was the only one of the three to make it to the Kentucky Derby, finishing 17th. In his second season at stud he sired the 2014 American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse American Pharoah, who became an eight-time-grade I winner and the 12th U.S. Triple Crown winner in 2015. In 2016, his son Classic Empire won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was named Champion Two-Year-Old Colt.

Pioneerof the Nile currently stands at WinStar Farm. In 2015 his fee was increased to $60,000.[10] Following the racing success of American Pharoah, in October 2015, it was announced that Pioneerof the Nile's stud fee had more than doubled, and he would stand the 2016 season for a fee of $125,000,[11] though Justin Zayat, son of Ahmed Zayat, said offers as high as $150,000 had been entertained for 2016.[12] For 2017, his stud fee was set at $110,000.

Race Record[edit]

Date Track Race Distance Finish
8/4/2008 Saratoga Maiden Special Weight 1 1/16 miles (turf) 4th
8/25/2008 Saratoga Maiden Special Weight 1 1/16 miles (turf) 1st
10/4/2008 Keeneland Breeders' Futurity Stakes 1 1/16 miles 3rd
10/25/2008 Santa Anita Park Breeders' Cup Juvenile 1 1/16 miles 5th
12/20/2008 Hollywood Park CashCall Futurity 1 1/16 miles 1st
2/7/2009 Santa Anita Park Robert B. Lewis Stakes 1 1/16 miles 1st
3/14/2009 Santa Anita Park San Felipe Stakes 1 1/16 miles 1st
4/4/2009 Santa Anita Park Santa Anita Derby 1 1/8 miles 1st
5/2/2009 Kentucky Derby Churchill Downs 1 1/4 miles 2nd
5/16/2009 Preakness Stakes Pimlico 1 3/16 miles 11th


External links[edit]