LAW ENFORCEMENT TO ESCORT CHAMP FROM AIRPORT TO SANTA ANITA’S BARN 5
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 15, 2015)–Twelve days after providing one of the most dramatic moments in racing history, Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah will return home to Santa Anita on Thursday, June 18. Owned and bred by Ahmed Zayat and trained by Santa Anita-based Bob Baffert, American Pharoah is due to arrive from Louisville via Tex Sutton charter at Ontario International Airport at approximately 10 a.m., and he will then be vanned with a six-unit law enforcement escort to The Great Race Place, with an estimated time of arrival of 11:30 a.m.
“Along with the rest of the country, we were in awe of American Pharoah’s performance in the Belmont last Saturday and we’re honored to be able to welcome him back home here to Santa Anita,” said Keith Brackpool, Santa Anita Chairman. “We’d like to congratulate Mr. Zayat, Bob Baffert and Victor Espinoza on winning America’s first Triple Crown in 37 years and we want to thank them for sharing this magnificent horse with all of us.”
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, the 3-year-old colt by Pioneerof the Nile won Santa Anita’s Grade I FrontRunner Stakes on Sept. 27 and was subsequently sidelined due to a foot injury, causing him to miss the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 1.
Headquartered at Baffert’s Barn 5 over the fall and winter, American Pharoah began his assault on the elusive Triple Crown with his first recorded breeze on Feb. 4, a crisp three furlong move in 36.20. Under Baffert’s stewardship, “Pharoah” would go on to register a total of six Santa Anita works prior to taking the Grade II Rebel Stakes by 6 ¼ lengths at Oaklawn Park on March 14.
In all, American Pharoah had eight works at his Santa Anita base in advance of winning the first leg in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, on May 2.
“From day one, we couldn’t miss any time with him,” said Baffert this past Wednesday morning. “We went three eighths, three eighths, five eighths…We hit every mark and he just thrived. The timing of everything was perfect.”
American Pharoah will be greeted by his trainer and jockey, along with an anticipated throng of invited media at the Baffert Barn upon his arrival Thursday. It is also expected that the Triple Crown Champ will parade for the public on Santa Anita’s main track between races on June 27.