Triple Crown champion American Pharoah returned to his Del Mar home Monday, two days after the three-quarter-length loss to Keen Ice in the Travers Stakes and will be paraded for the fans after Sunday's fourth race.
Since his return, American Pharoah has taken his morning exercise by being walked in the area of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's barn. “He walked this morning and he'll walk again tomorrow (Thursday),” Baffert said Wednesday morning.
American Pharoah travelled down the freeways from Santa Anita to Del Mar on July 14 and trained here for a winning trip to New Jersey for the Haskell Invitational on August 2 and the runner-up effort in the Travers last Saturday at Saratoga.
The routine has been to take American Pharoah to the track between 7:45-8 a.m. for jogs or gallops and he has had five works at Del Mar, all of them relatively fast, three of them the best of the day at the distance.
The morning appearances have, as would be expected, been attention grabbers for backstretch workers, horsemen and general fans on site at the early hour.
On Sunday, the Ahmed Zayat homebred and son of Pioneerof the Nile, will be paraded in the afternoon after the fourth race which has an approximate post time of 3:40, as part of a day of multiple events at the track. The next-to-last day of the 40-day summer racing season will include three stakes races – the $200,000 Grade II Yellow Ribbon Handicap, $250,000 Del Mar Derby and $80,000 C.E.R.F Stakes – a TVG-sponsored giveaway of 10,000 American Pharoah posters and a post-race concert by the popular band Weezer.
American Pharoah made his racing debut at Del Mar on August 9, 2014 with a fifth-place finish in a maiden event and came back on September 3 to win the Grade I Del Mar Futurity, the start of an eight-race winning streak that ended in the Travers. The colt's career earnings have reached $5,900,300.
“It all started at Del Mar. It's very fitting that we celebrate his Triple Crown victory with his fans at this great racing place,” Zayat said via text Wednesday. “Time to salute the legend.”
Del Mar President and CEO Joe Harper said: “So many fans have enjoyed seeing him in the mornings, we're delighted to have a chance for them to see him in the afternoon.”
Though long-term arrangements have been made for American Pharoah to begin his stallion career in 2016 at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, the colt's immediate future is being discussed.
His connections are weighing the possibility of retiring him now against the thought of running him once more in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic on October 31 at Keeneland Race Course in Kentucky. Should his retirement be the decision, his Del Mar appearance might serve as a farewell for the 2014 Male Juvenile Eclipse Award winner and current favorite for additional championship honors this season.
Del Mar's 10-race Sunday program will have a first post of 2 p.m.
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