American Pharoah, Beholder put in 5f moves at Santa Anita Park

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Jen Caldwell

October 9th, 2015

Champions American Pharoah and Beholder were both on track at Santa Anita Park Friday morning to record five-furlong moves in advance of the October 31 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland.

While American Pharoah posted a routine five furlongs in 1:01.20, Beholder impressed the clockers enough with her own move in 1:02 that she was awarded the “breezing” designation. That’s something Southern California clockers are pretty stingy about handing out.

Beholder came out immediately following the 6:30 a.m. (PDT) renovation break over Santa Anita’s fast main track and jogged, then galloped from the quarter-mile chute. Regular exercise rider Janeen Painter gave the five-year-old mare her cue nearing the half-mile pole and Beholder glided through her work for trainer Richard Mandella.

“I’m very happy with how she looks,” the horseman said. “She went five eighths in 1:01 and change (on his watch) and couldn’t look better.

“It is such an exciting challenge to run against (American Pharoah). Usually I’m stressing about what to do, which I am, but the excitement of this is a little different. It’s nice to be a part of it. She’ll leave for Kentucky on October 19.”

American Pharoah came out soon after Beholder and followed a similar routine of walking, then jogging. Martin Garcia was aboard, and the duo were accompanied by assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, who was on a stable pony.

American Pharoah took his time with the move, standing well off the rail before moving to the backside and beginning his work from the half-mile pole to the seven-eighths. He was caught in :48.40 for four furlongs before his official clocking of 1:01.20 for five-eighths.

“I got him in 49 and 1:01,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “I didn’t want to do a lot with him. He’ll breeze two more times here. I change from day to day, but he’ll breeze here next week.”

Baffert originally planned on shipping American Pharoah to Kentucky well in advance of the Breeders’ Cup, but the conditioner scrapped that and will now send the Triple Crown champion much closer to the big even. He cited Kentucky’s uncertain weather as the primary reason.

“I have a few dates in mind, but I haven’t really zeroed in on it. The 27th is the last date, and there’s the 25th. I’m watching the weather,” he said.

American Pharoah photo courtesy of Cecilia Gustavsson/