Zayat Stables’ homebred Pioneerof the Nile , second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed a half-mile in :47 3/5 at Churchill Downs May 11 as the Empire Maker colt prepped for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The time was fourth-fastest of the morning among 48 horses working four furlongs.
Joe Steiner was aboard as Pioneerof the Nile clicked off fractions of :12.20, :24.20 and :36.20, then galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.20 and six furlongs in 1:14.40. The clocking of Pioneerof the Nile’s gallop-out for five furlongs would have tied as the fastest work of the day at that distance.
“I liked what I saw,” said Baffert, who watched the work from the Churchill Downs clubhouse with Zayat Stables owner Ahmed Zayat. “He bounced out of that race (Derby) well. He was full of himself and he really wanted to work…He looked great. I look for him to come back and run another big race.”
Trained by Bob Baffert, who will be inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame this year, Pioneerof the Nile appeared a winner of the May 2 Derby at the head of the stretch before being passed by 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird, who went on to win by 6 3/4 lengths.
With earnings of $1,634,200, Pioneerof the Nile has won five of nine starts, including the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), CashCall Futurity (gr. I), and the San Felipe and Robert B. Lewis Stakes, each grade II. He is out of the Lord At War mare Star of Goshen.