Pioneerof the Nile

Pioneer of The Nile with jockey Garrett Gomez won the Grade I CashCall Futurity, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008  at Hollywood Park, Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Benoit Photo | Associated Press

Pioneer of The Nile with jockey Garrett Gomez won the Grade I CashCall Futurity, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008 at Hollywood Park, Inglewood, Calif. Photo by Benoit Photo | Associated Press

pioneerofthenile_300Trainer Bob Baffert thought he had lost his best Kentucky Derby prospect last winter.

Turns out the setback was only temporary.

After Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman was transferred out of his barn to Dubai, Baffert got a pleasant surprise when Zayat Stables sent the highly touted Pioneerof the Nile his way after the colt had previously been trained by Bill Mott.

Pioneerof the Nile has once again given the three-time Derby-winning trainer a hot hand for May.

The son of Empire Maker came from off the pace to win the Grade I CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 20 and then shook off the rust to take the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Saturday.

Pioneerof the Nile has yet to race over a dirt track but has a strong pedigree in that area. His sire, Empire Maker, captured the 2003 Belmont Stakes while his dam, Star of Goshen, won the 1997 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs.

“If he likes the dirt, he likes the dirt but I can’t force him to like it. He’s moving forward and that’s what you want at this point.”

Trainer Bob Baffert watched as Pioneerof the Nile got his morning bath after morning training at Churchill Downs ahead of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2009. Photo by David Stephenson | Staff

Trainer Bob Baffert watched as Pioneerof the Nile got his morning bath after morning training at Churchill Downs ahead of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky., on April 18, 2009. Photo by David Stephenson | Staff

Owner: Zayat Stables
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Breeder: Zayat Stables
Bloodline: By Empire Maker-Star of Goshen, by Lord at War
Color and gender: Dark bay or brown colt
Career record: Nine starts, 5-1-1, $1,634,200*
*NOTE: These statistics reflect 2009 Kentucky Derby results.

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