Ridden by jockey Martin Garcia, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner American Pharoah works out at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning ahead of the June 6 Belmont Stakes.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner American Pharoah breezed four furlongs in :48 seconds Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs as he prepares to try and become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner in the June 6 Belmont Stakes.
“I really like the way he went today,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He showed like he had a lot of energy. When he hit the track I was on the radio talking to Martin (Garcia) and he really liked the way he felt and he just took off going really easily. I told Martin to just let him keep going. I really liked the way he went.”
Baffert, 62, flew to Louisville from California on Monday night to be there for the workout.
“We’re just going to stay focused, keep the weight on him and keep him happy like the way he looks today,” Baffert said. “Next week, we’ll do sort of the same thing with him – just cruise him around real easily, ship to New York and we won’t do much with him up there.”
Baffert, who came close to winning the Triple Crown three times with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002), says that he is enjoying going into the Belmont with American Pharoah more than the other three. He also went on to say that he came out the Preakness in good order, much like his three previous Triple Crown hopefuls.
“Before, I felt that there was more pressure,” Baffert said. “But now I’ve been through it, I know what to expect and I know that at the end of the day you need a good horse and you have to be doing really well. As for what I saw today I don’t see any regression. We don’t want to see regression, but he’s still going to have to run a top race.
Silver Charm and Real Quiet both finished second, while War Emblem weakened to eighth after a poor start.
“He’s (American Pharoah) come back (from the Preakness) extremely well,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “He only had those two races (the Rebel and Arkansas Derby) and they were light races up at Oaklawn. The Derby was a hard race and I think it really got him fit. And the Preakness race, it looked like he handled that pretty well. He makes my job easier because he is such a good horse. Today went pretty good, he was pretty spectacular out there.”
American Pharoah captured Preakness Stakes on May 16 in a driving rainstorm at Pimlico.
Baffert later admitted that he didn’t think he would be riding high with another Triple Crown on the line again, which he said is another reason why he’s enjoying this. He discussed his relationship with owner Ahmed Zayat and his family and how excited he is for them.
“I never thought I’d have another chance like this,” Baffert said. “To be going through it again with a horse like this is a wow moment every time I think about it, but I try not to think about it too much. For the Zayats, this is a great ride for them. One thing about Ahmed Zayat is he is the best family man you’ll ever see; he and those kids are so tight and so close so they’re really enjoying this together. I can tell that it’s a super family affair and he’s always been so good to us.”
American Pharoah is expected to ship to Belmont Park on June 2.
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