American Pharoah just worked himself into the Travers; Zayat confirms he's Saratoga-bound

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

August 23rd, 2015

After American Pharoah's superb work Sunday morning at Del Mar, owner/breeder Ahmed Zayat confirmed that the Triple Crown champion will contest Saturday's Travers (G1) at Saratoga.

According to Del Mar clockers, the Bob Baffert trainee posted splits of :23 :47.20, :58.80 and 1:10.60. He completed seven furlongs in 1:23.20 and galloped out one mile in 1:36.40 with Martin Garcia aboard.

There were a couple of variant times, depending on whose stopwatch you're reading.

Justin Zayat tweeted the following fractions: :11.68, :23.36, :35.847, :58.74, 1:10 and 1:24.4.

Baffert caught American Pharoah going in :11.68, :23.36, :47.28, :58.74, 1:10.98, 1:23 and change, as reported by The Blood-Horse's Jeremy Balan.

But however you slice it, the champ was motoring to the satisfaction of connections.

"Bob didn't give me any instructions, just said to make him happy," Garcia said. "He worked really, really good -- more even than the other day."

“He was more aggressive today,” Baffert said. “He didn’t work all that fast last week (when going a half-mile in :47.60, beezing) and he wanted to get into it today.

"I think the track seems to be a little bit faster.

"We wanted to see where he is, where his energy level is, to be sure he still has it. It's incredible that he does after all this. But he does. Then again, he's an incredible horse."

Del Mar head clocker John Malone gave American Pharoah a rave review.

"Just an amazing work -- he does it so effortlessly," Malone said. "He went that fast on a track that really isn't fast and he did it in hand. He went by those two horses in the stretch (workers from another barn)…..just inhaled them. Extremely impressive."

Although the final Travers decision reportedly wasn't to come until Monday, Zayat didn't take long to answer the question that the entire racing world was hanging on.

According to Ed Zieralski of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Baffert wants to make sure that everything's OK with his stable star Monday morning before giving the official green light.

"Today was very positive," Baffert told Del Mar publicity.  "We'll see how he comes out of this, how he cools out.

"His bags are packed; he's ready to go (to Saratoga). We'll see. Maybe we'll wait till tomorrow to see how he is. We'll see."

Unless anything surfaces over the next 24 hours, American Pharoah is bound for the Spa.

History is on the line, for only one Triple Crown winner has added the Travers trophy to his collection: Whirlaway in 1941. Affirmed finished first in the 1978 Travers, only to be disqualified and have archrival Alydar awarded the victory.

Here are a couple more photos from Del Mar Sunday morning, all courtesy of Benoit.

Justin Zayat (left), Ahmed Zayat (center) and the binoculared Baffert survey the scene...

along with plenty of fans who turned up for the 7:45 a.m. (PDT) work.