Prior to Early Pioneer’s Gold Cup win, he finished second in both the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) and the Californian (gr. II) after upsetting the San Bernardino Handicap (gr. II) at odds of 27-1. The son of Rahy was bred by Mr. and Mrs. John C. Mabee and raced in their colors before being claimed for $62,500 in October 1998.
David and Holly Wilson’s Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Early Pioneer, who skipped Saturday’s Pacific Classic (gr. I) after missing some training time due to a minor foot problem, put in a seven-furlong work at Del Mar Friday. The Vladimir Cerin trainee completed the distance in 1:27 3/5, handily, over a fast track.Early Pioneer is being pointed toward a start in the $500,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II) September 16 at Turfway Park. Cat Thief finished third in last year’s renewal of the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up before winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I).