Homeracing

Baffert, in Saratoga, addresses Travers speculation for 'Pharoah

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

August 10th, 2015

In Saratoga Springs Monday for this week's Fasig-Tipton yearling sale, trainer Bob Baffert addressed the buzz concerning Triple Crown winner American Pharoah's next start. Owner Ahmed Zayat has publicly stated he would like to run his colt in the August 29 Travers (G1) at the Spa.

"I'm just here doing a little recon if he were to come here, where he's going to go, what stall, what barn, the layout with the track and everything," said Baffert after stopping at the barn of trainer John Terranova.

"We're trying to make it, but he's going to have to really convince me. I have to be all in and feel really confident, because if he comes here I know he's going to have to run hard. It's a tough, demanding racetrack, but he's handled everything thrown at him so far."

Baffert has started five horses in the Travers, winning once in 2001 with three-year-old champion and Horse of the Year Point Given. However, three of his starters have finished out of the money including Bayern, who finished last in the 2014 renewal before going on to win the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).

"He's been such a special horse and he has this following now. I want to make sure I do the right thing," Baffert said. "I know there's always that pressure that we want to run. I've been pressured into bringing other horses here and they didn't do so well, but this horse is different. Point Given was the only one that I brought in for the Travers that had a chance to win; the other ones, I was just trying to make something happen.

"We'll just work him maybe next Sunday. I'll breeze him and see how he breezes over that track," he said. "When he came back the next day [after the Haskell Invitational {G1}], it was normal that he was tired. You could tell, he was pretty quiet and all. For two days there he just laid around and we left him alone. It took him about four days to snap out of it, and he filled back up a little bit. He looks great. After he galloped, [assistant trainer] Jimmy [Barnes] said he looked like his normal self.

"I'm in a situation with him where if he would have gone to the Haskell and I didn't like the way he trained there, I would have scratched him. If he were to come here and train and I didn't like something, we would scratch him. Fortunately, I haven't had to do that. If he comes, that means that he's doing really, really well."

Unless something unforeseen happens, American Pharoah will probably be doing really, really well in a couple weeks time.

(American Pharoah photo: Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

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