American Pharoah works sparkling seven furlongs

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TwinSpires Staff

October 14th, 2015

Edited press release

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, in his most serious drill since running second in the Travers (G1), worked seven furlongs in 1:23 and galloped out a mile in a rapid 1:35.40 Wednesday morning at Santa Anita as he continues to prepare for what is shaping up as an epic showdown with superstar mare Beholder in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland October 31.

With trainer Bob Baffert overseeing the drill from Santa Anita's box seat area near the finish line, American Pharoah, with Martin Garcia up, galloped straight off from the quarter mile chute and was set down approaching the five-furlong pole, well behind stablemate Madam Aamoura, a three-year-old maiden-winning filly who is also owned by Zayat Stables.

With Madam Aamoura providing a target, American Pharoah, on Baffert's watch, zipped through splits of :12.20, :24, :35, :47, :59.80 and 1:11.40. Baffert had America's first Triple Crown winner in 37 years going seven eighths in 1:24 flat and galloping out a mile in 1:37.20.

"He went really well," Baffert said. "We wanted to get a strong work out of him and it looks like he handled it really well. He's reaching, running [and he] looked like he came back happy, so we're right on target. We put a horse out there in front of him...Madam Aamoura...he needed a target."

Although his Hall of Fame conditioner has remained painstakingly non-committal with regards to American Pharoah's work schedule and date of departure to Kentucky, it was widely thought Baffert's original plan was to ship into the Bluegrass well in advance of the Breeders' Cup. However, uncertain weather in the region has played a big factor in American Pharoah remaining in Arcadia "until the 25th or 27th" of October, according to Baffert.

One thing is certain -- this morning's drill, his fifth since returning to his Santa Anita base last month, was by far his most serious and was in stark contrast to his leisurely five furlong work of 1:01.20 just five days ago.

If Baffert sticks with a five-day work pattern, which some sources say is planned, American Pharoah could have two more local breezes in advance of his departure.

"This is the first time since the Travers that he's let this horse roll," said highly respected private clocker Gary Young. "The previous works here were maintenance works. This was serious. He started out about seven lengths behind the target and he went by the target like a freight train by a hobo at the three-sixteenths. He looked good throughout."

(American Pharoah photo: Benoit Photo)