American Pharoah turns in swift six-furlong drill

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TwinSpires Staff

October 20th, 2015

Edited Press Release

In his most serious drill to date, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah worked six furlongs in 1:10.80 Tuesday morning at Santa Anita for Bob Baffert as the clock continues to tick down to a possible epic showdown with superstar mare Beholder and others in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland October 31.

With jockey Martin Garcia up, American Pharoah, who was accompanied by a stable pony, came on the main track at 7:45 a.m. (PDT) and jogged straight off down the stretch from the quarter-mile chute. Breaking free from the pony as he headed to the clubhouse turn, American Pharoah galloped out toward the middle of the track and angled down to the rail well behind stablemate Madam Aamoura at the 6 1/2-furlong pole.

"This was the last serious drill of his life," said Baffert, who had American Pharoah galloping out seven furlongs on his watch in 1:23.20 and a mile in a tidy 1:37. "It's sort of sad in a way to think that's the last time we get to see him work like that. Just to watch him breeze, sometimes I get a bit excited, the way he does things so easily.

"He looked fantastic today and I really feel good about the way he's coming into this race."

Owned and bred by Zayat Stables, American Pharoah's last start resulted in a grueling second-place finish in the Travers (G1) at Saratoga August 29.

"We were 50-50 as to whether or not we were going to run in that race," Baffert said. "Unfortunately, he didn't really run his race and coming out of it, I could tell everything (the Triple Crown run and two subsequent transcontinental engagements, the Haskell Invitational [G1] and the Travers) had kind of taken its toll. He needs the 60 days (leading into the Classic). This horse, he runs well fresh."

By all accounts, the son of Pioneerof the Nile, who, dating back to September 21, had his sixth post-Travers drill, worked like a fresh horse.

"He's been galloping really good this week," said private clocker Gary Young. "His work today was terrific. It was a carbon copy of his last work. He had the same workmate, the same plan of attack and the same finish. I think he's a great horse and he seems really, really 'right' at this time.

"He's going to be a very tough horse to beat on Halloween Day."

With one more local work planned Monday, American Pharoah is expected to be flown to Lexington, Kentucky, early the next morning.

(American Pharoah photo courtesy of Santa Anita Park Twitter)