American Pharoah continues his racing legacy as current leading freshman sire

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Four years after becoming the first horse ever to win the “Grand Slam” of American horse racing, American Pharoah continues making waves in horse racing as the current top freshman sire. His first crop of foals, now 2 years old, has earned a total of over $1.5 million in their first year of racing. Of the 162 offspring he sired in his first year at stud, several are expected to run in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Future Stars Friday (Nov. 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Two of his top progeny, Another Miracle and Four Wheel Drive, are set to run in the Juvenile Turf Sprint on Friday.

How to watch every single Breeders’ Cup race

The undefeated Four Wheel Drive is fresh off his G3 Futurity Stakes win at Belmont Park on Oct. 6. The bay Wesley Ward-trained colt is out of Funfair (More Than Ready) and originally sold for $525,000 at Fasig-Tipton as a yearling.

Another Miracle, out of Retracable (Medaglia d’Oro) finished behind his half-brother in the Futurity Stakes, taking fifth. Earlier in the summer, he broke his maiden in his second start and then won the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 16.

Follow American Pharoah’s first crop, including Another Miracle and Four Wheel Drive, from the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale to the present in NBC Sports Film’s one-hour documentary “Born to Run” on Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m. ET—only six days before the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Jessamine Stakes (G2) winner Sweet Melania is expected to run in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. American Theorem was line to run in the Juvenile or the Juvenile Turf, but has since been ruled out, with trainer George Papaprodromou saying, “I don’t feel my horse is 100 percent. I don’t want to run against the best in the world if he’s not. I want to do the right thing, not push him.”

After becoming the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown (the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes), American Pharoah put the finishing touches on his racing legacy with one final win in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland in the highest-rated Breeders’ Cup telecast in 20 years.

He retired to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud ahead of the 2016 breeding season. His stud fee is unlisted, but he earned approximately $32 million in his first year at Ashford.

Just weeks ago at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, a bay American Pharoah filly out of Leslie’s Lady sold for a record $8.2 million—the highest for any filly and the fourth-most expensive horse to come through the sale.

What to know about the 2019 Breeders’ Cup

Watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup starting with Future Stars Friday on Nov. 1 from 4-8 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and continuing with Championship Saturday on Nov. 2 from 3:30-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN until 8, NBC from 8-9). 

Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security, pleads guilty to drugging his horses

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NEW YORK – Trainer Jason Servis, whose horse Maximum Security was the 3-year-old champion in 2019, pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges involving a widespread scheme to drug horses.

The 65-year-old New Jersey-based trainer faces four years in prison when he is sentenced next May in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He was the last defendant facing charges in the scheme, and now 23 of the 31 individuals charged have pleaded guilty.

Servis pleaded guilty in connection with his role in the distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs intended for use on horses in his stable.

“Servis’ conduct represents corruption at the highest levels of the racehorse industry,” Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement. “As a licensed racehorse trainer, Servis was bound to protect the horses under his care and to comply with racing rules designed to ensure the safety and well-being of horses and protect the integrity of the sport.”

Servis’ attorney, Rita Glavin, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Servis was charged in 2020 after a wide-ranging investigation into doping in the horse racing industry. Racing authorities suspended his trainer’s license.

Maximum Security finished first in the 2019 Kentucky Derby but was disqualified for interference during the running of the race. The colt finished first in the $10 million Saudi Cup shortly before Servis’ arrest in March 2020. Saudi officials later withheld the winner’s share of the purse, citing Servis’ arrest and indictment.

“I don’t take any solace in other peoples misery, actually quite the opposite I feel some empathy for them,” Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion tweeted, “but the reality is that those of us who were beaten by Jason Service’s (sic) horses have little to show for it other than losing money, owners and horses due to his success.”

Another New Jersey-based trainer, Jorge Navarro, is serving a five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty a year ago. Eleven of the defendants were trainers and seven were veterinarians.

Servis is the brother of trainer John Servis, who trained Smarty Jones to victories in the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before the colt lost his Triple Crown bid in the Belmont.

Irad Ortiz sets single-season record with 77th stakes win

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NEW YORK – Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned his record 77th single-season North American stakes victory when he guided Dr B to victory in the $200,000 Go for Wand at Aqueduct.

The 30-year-old native of Puerto Rico broke the old mark of 76 set by the late Hall of Fame rider Garrett Gomez in 2007.

“This is great. Amazing feeling,” said Ortiz, Jr., who won the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey from 2018-20. “Gomez did it in 2007 and he was a great rider, one of the best in the game. I’m so happy just to be a part of this. I love this sport.”

Ortiz Jr. won the Belmont Stakes with Mo Donegal in June to go with Breeders’ Cup victories in the Juvenile, Filly & Mare Sprint and Sprint. He also earned nine other Grade 1 wins in New York, including Life Is Good in the Woodward and Whitney and Nest in the Alabama and Coaching Club Oaks. He won riding titles at Belmont’s spring-summer meet and Saratoga’s summer meet.

Ortiz Jr. leads North American riders with 304 overall victories this year. His purse earnings totaled over $35.8 million going into Saturday’s races, which already surpassed his single-season record of $34.1 million in 2019.