American Pharoah cruises in return to worktab

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

June 29th, 2015

Triple Crown champion American Pharoah has continued to present a magnificent appearance in the three weeks since completing his historic sweep -- as if the rigors of the Kentucky Derby (G1), Preakness (G1) and Belmont (G1) had little effect on his constitution.

When graciously parading for his legions of fans at Churchill Downs on Stephen Foster (G1) night June 13, and again at Santa Anita on Gold Cup (G1) day last Saturday, the Bob Baffert trainee gave every indication of being in resplendent health. His coat shone, his body weight seemed just right (at least viewed from afar), implying that he remains in fine form.

That idea gained further credence Monday when American Pharoah returned to the worktab for the first time since his smashing, wire-to-wire victory in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.

With Martin Garcia aboard, the Zayat Stables homebred toured three furlongs in :36 2/5 at Santa Anita, according to the officially reported time.

Justin Zayat, however, tweeted that American Pharoah went even faster:

American Pharoah's robust condition hopefully presages a big second half of 2015, capped by the October 31 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland.

In the meantime, racing fans everywhere are awaiting the decision on his next start. Options on the table include the $1 million Haskell (G1) at Monmouth August 2-- in Zayat's home base of New Jersey, and a race that Baffert has won a record seven times -- the $600,000 Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga August 1; and possibly even a tilt at Del Mar.

As Ed Zieralski of the San Diego Union Tribune reported earlier this month, Del Mar President Joe Harper is seeking to make the August 22 Pacific Classic (G1), versus older horses, too attractive for Team Pharoah to pass up. Harper told Michael Chen of KGTV, San Diego's ABC affiliate, that he's working on possibly a $5 million bonus linking the Pacific Classic and Breeders' Cup Classic, with a race in between to be named later.

Racing's first U.S. Triple Crown winner in 37 years is rightly a hot commodity to be pursued by racetracks, especially because he probably won't be on the competitive scene for too much longer. His breeding rights having been secured by Coolmore some time ago, American Pharoah is expected to enter stud at Ashford in 2016.

Grateful for what we've seen from him so far, we'll have to keep savoring Pharoah while we still can.

Photo (courtesy of Benoit) of American Pharoah with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert upon his return to Santa Anita June 18.