American Pharoah geared down for effortless Haskell win
Triple Crown champion American Pharoah continued his amazing journey on Sunday with a galloping win in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park.
It really took nothing out of the bay colt, as he glided to the front under his own power on the turn and loped home to finish 1 1/8 miles over the fast main track in 1:47 4/5.
Jockey Victor Espinoza geared down on American Pharoah well before the wire, shortening the margin between him and runner-up Keen Ice. Upstart took third while Competitive Edge, who led the way early in the race, finished fourth.
This is now eight Haskell wins for trainer Bob Baffert, and the emotional trainer praised his colt, “He’s just a great horse,” during the post-race interview.
Owner Ahmed Zayat was also visibly moved by American Pharoah’s performance in his now homestate of New Jersey.
“It’s very rare that I’m speechless,” he said, then took a moment to collect himself and added, “This is a superstar. He had touched everybody’s heart.”
American Pharoah’s ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on October 31, but the path he’ll now take is still up in the air.
The Pennsylvania Derby on September 19 was mentioned as possible long before the Haskell, but with the added purse money to the August 29 Travers and the August 22 Pacific Classic taking place at Baffert’s current Del Mar base, anything is possible.