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Maven aims to become American Pharoah’s first stakes winner in Tremont

By John Mucciolo

The Wesley Ward-trained and bred Maven became the first North American winner at stud for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah when he led throughout at Aqueduct on April 19. Now, the chestnut colt will try to become the first stakes winner by his sire when leading a field of nine postward in Friday’s $150,000 Tremont S. at Belmont Park.

Bred in the Bluegrass State, the May foal was heavily backed in his debut and he delivered with a sharp tally under today’s pilot Dylan Davis. The colt broke well and was a bit headstrong, until given his cue at the top of the lane at Aqueduct. He responded like a good one when being challenged by next-out graduate Lebda, finishing a half-length clear under the line.

Maven shows four perfectly spaced half-mile works leading up to his stakes bow on Friday. Those morning breezes all came on the green, where Maven could eventually be destined for. The colt is a son of three-time stakes winner Richies Party Girl, who was a one-turn specialist on the turf who registered a victory in the 2013 Juvenile Turf Sprint on Breeders’ Cup Saturday.

The Tremont field attracted some other nice prospects, too. Rookie Salsa is perfect from two starts to date, which includes a 27-1 upset in the Kentucky Juvenile S. for conditioner Jeremiah O’Dwyer. The Two Step Salsa colt won at first asking at Laurel Park prior to his stakes surprise.

Fore Left went off at 6-5 odds in his first start at Santa Anita and led at every call for trainer Doug O’Neill. The son of Twirling Candy makes the cross-country trek for the Tremont, as does jockey Mario Gutierrez.

Ward’s Dixie Mo gives this outfit a pair of players in the field. The daughter of Uncle Mo, who dominated in an off-the-turf sprint at Indiana Grand first time out, will tackle the boys in this heat.

The Steve Asmussen-trained Memorable defeated six foes at Churchill Downs on May 2 and he could be any kind going forward. Kentucky-bred colt put in a sharp half-mile move at Keeneland on Sunday to ready for his stakes debut.

American Pharoah will undoubtedly get stakes winners in 2019, and it would be fitting if his first were the horse who represented him with his initial North American victory at stud.

Maven wins his debut at Aqueduct (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography

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