by Kim Thomas
Pioneer of the Nile's win in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby was perhaps the final horsefeather in his Derby cap that convinced jockey Garrett Gomez to decide which horse to ride for the 135th Running of the Kentucky Derby.
(Photo of Pioneer of the Nile courtesy of Photos by Z)
Gomez chose to ride the Bob Baffert-trained colt over another favorite, Dunkirk on Saturday. Should he prevail, it will be Gomez’ first win in the Kentucky Derby.
Pioneer of the Nile is definitely on a roll, but will now have to race on dirt at Churchill Downs for the first time. He is the son of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner, Empire Maker and out of the mare Star of Goshen.