Shortly before the Zayat family and Bob Baffert traveled to Belmont Park to celebrate the anniversary of winning the Triple Crown with American Pharoah last year, the remarkable runner's full sister shipped from Ocala to Baffert's California barn.
Two-year-old American Cleopatra began her early conditioning at McKathan Brothers Training Center, and graduated to Santa Anita Park last week.
"She looks nothing like Pharoah physically," said Justin Zayat, his family's racing manager. "She's smaller, but they have a very similar walk, and when she starts to gallop, the way she reaches is really similar."
"She still looks a little bit soft," said Baffert, "but she moves really well."
The bay filly by Pioneerof the Nile out of Littleprincessemma has been galloping daily under Dana Barnes, the wife of Baffert's head assistant, Jimmy Barnes.
"They love her," Zayat said.
The Zayats sold Littleprincessemma for $2.1 million at the November 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale. She was purchased by Summer Wind Farm and has produced five foals, the first of which, Xixixi—a 2011 foal by Maimonides—earned $83,299 in a 17-race career. She also has a yearling full brother to American Pharoah and American Cleopatra named Irish Pharoah, and a 2016 Tapit filly named Chasing Yesterday.
The family had offered American Pharoah at auction as a yearling, and Ahmed Zayat ultimately bought him back for $300,000, but selling his younger sister was never a consideration.
"Because of her ovaries," Justin Zayat said. "If she's not a racehorse, we can keep the lineage going on. We're holding on to her; she's our baby."
Baffert plans to breeze the filly about a quarter of a mile this weekend, a "light little breeze," he said, "just to get her into it."
"We won't know about her for another probably 60 days," he said.