After American Pharoah’s daughter Tesorina finished third at Aqueduct Wednesday, Maven hopes to give their sire his first North American winner back at the “Big A.” Yet another Wesley Ward pupil, Maven has been installed as the even-money favorite in the opener scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Friday.
Both of American Pharoah’s starters have shown plenty of speed as odds-on favorites. His first runner, Monarch of Egypt, starred for trainer Aidan O’Brien over the Naas turf on April 13 to get the 2015 Triple Crown champion off on a winning note. Over Aqueduct’s dirt, Tesorina blasted to the front and appeared on her way to a big victory, only to tire late in the 4 1/2-furlong dash. She was overtaken by both halves of the Repole Stable entry trained by Todd Pletcher, with Mo Mystery surging past her and Micromillion also rallying to take second.
Friday’s similar event, a 4 1/2-furlong maiden worth $100,000, serves up a Ward vs. Repole/Pletcher rematch.
Maven is the first registered foal from multiple stakes-winning sprinter Richies Party Girl, herself trained and co-owned by Ward with Richard Ravin. Her American Pharoah colt was bred by Ward but owned by Ravin. Drawn in post 4 in the six-horse field, Maven will be ridden by Dylan Davis.
The Repole/Pletcher entry, pegged at 8-5 on the morning line, consists of Analyze Your Risk, an Overanalyze colt out of a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Comma to the Top, and Managing Risk, a homebred by freshman sire Micromanage from the extended family of Smarty Jones. Analyze Your Risk has Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard on the rail, and Managing Risk breaks from post 5 with Manny Franco.
The two fillies in Friday’s contest – Women Not Easy and Dotdotdash – scratched from Wednesday’s maiden. Lebda, a bay son of Raison d’Etat, rounds out this field of firsters.