American Pharoah’s fast start as a stallion continued Friday when just the second North American starter sired by the 2015 Triple Crown winner struck on debut in Aqueduct's opener.
Off at 2-5, the Wesley Ward-trained Maven broke on top in a 4 1/2-furlong dash, ran through a pressured opening quarter mile in 22.55 seconds, then held off Lebda to win by 3/4 of a length.
The final time under jockey Dylan Davis was 52.82 seconds, and it was well back to Analyze Your Risk in third.
"With the horse being by American Pharoah, everyone expects a lot and he ran really well," Davis said. "I was jogging and galloping him in the mornings, so I got a good feel for him. A huge thanks to the connections. I'm sure they're looking for bigger and better things."
Maven is a chestnut colt out of the Any Given Saturday mare Richies Party Girl. Ward also bred the horse, who runs for Richard Ravin.
Now, as with any number of Ward-trained juvenile winners, Royal Ascot watch will be on for Maven. Trainer Wesley Ward told Ryan Martin, a member of the New York Racing Association's press office, the colt will target this summer's Norfolk Stakes (G2), a race Ward won in 2018 with Shang Shang Shang.
"I'm getting texts from everyone watching the race," Ward said. "It's fantastic for racing, for Coolmore, for owner Richard Ravin and most importantly, for me. What I see is that he's going to be a good sire. The dam was a turf sprinter, and I think this one is going to be a turf sprinter as well.
"He's had outstanding works over the Polytrack at Turfway which translates to turf. We'll run him in the Norfolk at Royal Ascot and hopefully we can put American Pharoah on the big scale as a sire."
Overseas, Maven could face Monarch of Egypt, who last Saturday made American Pharoah 1-for-1 as a sire when he won at first asking for trainer Aidan O’Brien at Ireland’s Naas Racecourse.
In between, Ward also unveiled the 2-year-old filly Tesorina, American Pharoah’s first North American runner, on Wednesday at Aqueduct. She ran third.
American Pharoah, now 7 years old, stands at Coolmore's Ashford Stud and continues to shuttle to the global breeding and racing power's Australian operation during the Southern Hemisphere's breeding season.