Pioneer of the Nile returning from a morning work at Santa Anita.
Pioneer of the Nile, winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 20, 2008, is one of my top early Derby picks.
In its 26-year history, the CashCall Futurity, known as the Hollywood Futurity from 1981 to 2006, has been an important steppingstone to the Santa Anita Derby.
CashCall Futurity winners who also won the Santa Anita Derby include:
- Brother Derek, 2005 Futurity, 2006 Santa Anita Derby
- Point Given, 2000, 2001
- A.P. Indy, 1991, 1992
- Temperate Sil, 1986, 1987
- Snow Chief, 1985, 1986
A.P. Indy subsequently won the Belmont and Breeders' Cup Classic and was also named Horse of the Year and Top 3-Year-Old.
Snow Chief went on to win the Preakness and Top 3-Year-Old honors.
Over the next 12 weeks leading up to the Santa Anita Derby, I will be watching several promising 3-year-olds in California, including my other current faves: Square Eddie, The Pamplemousse, and Majormotionpicture. Stay tuned.