Wednesday afternoon's opening race at Aqueduct Racetrack will mark the year's first 2-year-old maiden race at the Big A, featuring the debut of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah's first two starters in North America when Lady Delaware and Tesorina are unveiled.
American Pharoah, standing at Coolmore's Ashford Stud division in Versailles, Ky. for a private stud fee, saw his first starter win on debut when the Aidan O'Brien-trained Monarch of Egypt won at Naas Racecourse in Ireland on Saturday.
Both runners in Wednesday's $100,000 opener are fillies conditioned by Wesley Ward, who is well-regarded for developing young horses. The former rider turned trainer said he has high hopes for the Triple Crown champion's two daughters.
“I'm excited,” Ward said. “Coolmore has always been good to me. American Pharoah was a tremendous race horse and hopefully a tremendous sire as well. They both are very precocious in their breezes and there was no reason to not move early with them.
“They both are very smart and show a lot of talent,” continued Ward. “To get to Royal Ascot with them would be fantastic, not just for me but the team as well. American Pharoah was a great two-year-old himself and they both look like they'll run early.”
Purchased for $100,000 from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Hat Creek Racing's Lady Delaware is out of the Hennessy broodmare More Hennessy and is a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Hootenanny.
The precocious Hootenanny, a debut winner on the Keeneland synthetic, captured three of his five juvenile starts in 2014 including the Windsor Castle at Ascot and the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
“She seems a little quicker than Hootenanny,” Ward said. “He didn't show too much affinity for the dirt. He ran once on the main track and it was in the slop on Preakness Day at Pimlico. In his Keeneland debut, it was on the synthetic back when they had it. She has really shown that she likes the dirt and she's quick coming out of the gate.”
Lady Delaware will be piloted by Eric Cancel from post 7.
Tesorina, who will be guided on debut by Joe Bravo, will break just to the outside of Lady Delaware. Owned by Ice Wine Stable, she is out of Nonsuch Bay, winner of the Grade 1 Mother Goose in 2002.
“She is quick as well,” said Ward of Tesorina. “I trained a Scat Daddy that also is out of Nonsuch Bay [Brittas Bay]. Body wise, she appears to be more a sprint type of filly. It really is hard to separate the two as far as which one is better.”
First post on Wednesday at the Big A is 1:30 p.m.
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