The second start for St Patrick's Day looked a lot like his debut early on at Del Mar.
On the inside and contesting the pace, the full brother to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah once again set fast fractions, but he didn't have a talented stablemate wearing him down on the outside.
After a 1 1/2-length second to Zatter in his debut, it was a pair of longshots—Eskimo Roses and Honeymoonz Over—who pressed the Bob Baffert trainee Sept. 2 and he gamely put both of those away in the 6 1/2-furlong test as he set fractions of :21.97 and :44.92 through a half-mile over a fast main track.
But another highly regarded colt loomed—OXO Equine's Instilled Regard, a $1.05 million OBS March sale purchase earlier in the year. In sixth, 5 1/4 lengths back early, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained son of Arch did his best running late and made up 3 1/2 lengths in the final furlong, but came up a half-length short as St Patrick's Day dug in for the win under jockey Flavien Prat to hit the wire in 1:17.81.
"He was pretty impressive," Baffert said of the Pioneerof the Nile colt. "He was in (post 1) and had to take a lot of heat early. (Inside) like that, you have to ask them and he went really fast early, but he was gutting it out at the end. The horse who ran second—he's a good horse. It was a tough maiden race. There was a lot of cash in there—a lot of horses you're going to hear about down the line."
The Hall of Fame trainer said after the race that the colt owned by Mrs. John Magnier will likely stretch out next for the $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes (G1) Sept. 30 at Santa Anita Park. The 1 1/16-mile event is a key prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
"He's getting there," Baffert said. "He's not a bad horse. He's a full brother (to American Pharoah) and at least we know he can run. ... We'll stretch him out next time and we won't have to go so fast."
Bred by Jane Lyon's Summer Wind Farm out of the Yankee Gentleman mare Littleprincessemma, the colt was privately sold early in 2016 as a yearling, when he was named Irish Pharaoh.