American Pharoah will race in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga next Saturday after a strong workout at Del Mar Sunday morning.
Multiple sources, including a news release by the New York Racing Association and comments by the Zayats, have confirmed that the Travers will be next for the Triple Crown winner, though trainer Bob Baffert said after the work that an official decision on the race would come Monday. The colt will ship to Saratoga on Wednesday.
As scheduled, American Pharoah worked Sunday morning at Del Mar, breezing seven furlongs in 1:23.2.
“He went very well, a real positive move,” Baffert said, as quoted by the Albany Times Union. “I needed to see something like that. We have his bags packed (for Saratoga). Right now, everything is set in play. He had to ‘wow' me and he did that. I've been looking for an excuse not to come (to the Travers) and I can't find one.”
According to Del Mar's Twitter account, the Triple Crown winner turned in splits of :23, :47.2, :58.8, and 1:10.60 and galloped out a mile in 1:36.4.
If American Pharoah runs in the Travers, the New York Racing Association will raise the purse to $1.6 million. Tickets are sold out for the day.
“This is a great day for racing fans in Saratoga, across the State of New York and throughout our nation,” said Christopher Kay, president and CEO of NYRA. “We are honored that the Zayats are bringing Triple Crown champion American Pharoah to historic Saratoga Race Course, and plan to run ‘The People's Horse' in the nation's Mid-Summer Derby. We are also deeply appreciative of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and know that training a Triple Crown winner is an incredible, pressure-packed assignment. The New York Racing Association is grateful for Bob's confidence, and we look forward to adding a new exciting chapter into the already rich history of Saratoga Race Course on August 29.”
American Pharoah will attempt to become only the second Triple Crown winner to capture the Travers as well; Whirlaway accomplished the feat in 1941. Other Triple Crown champions have tasted defeat in the Midsummer Derby, such as Affirmed's loss by DQ to Alydar in 1978 and the massive upset of Jim Dandy over Gallant Fox in 1930.
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2018 Paulick Report.