ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2015)–Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah, in his most serious drill since running second in the Grade I Travers Stakes Aug. 29, worked seven furlongs in 1:23 flat and galloped out a mile in a rapid 1:35.40 this morning at Santa Anita as he continues to prepare for what is shaping up as an epic showdown with superstar mare Beholder in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Oct. 31.
With Bob Baffert overseeing the drill from Santa Anita’s box seat area near the finish line, American Pharoah, with Martin Garcia up, galloped straight off from the quarter mile chute and was set down approaching the six furlong pole, well behind stablemate Madam Aamoura, a 3-year-old maiden special weight winning filly who is also owned by Zayat Stables.
With “Madam” providing a target, American Pharoah, on Baffert’s watch, zipped through splits of 12.20, 24.00, 35.00, 47.00, 59.80 and 1:11.40. Baffert had America’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years going seven eighths in 1:24 flat and galloping out a mile in 1:37.20.
“He went really well,” said Baffert. “We wanted to get a strong work out of him and it looks like he handled it really well. He’s reaching, running (and he) looked like he came back happy, so we’re right on target. We put a horse out there in front of him…Madam Aamoura…he needed a target.”
Although his Hall of Fame conditioner has remained painstakingly non-committal with regards to American Pharoah’s work schedule and date of departure to Kentucky, it was widely thought Baffert’s original plan was to ship into the Bluegrass well in advance of the Breeders’ Cup. However, uncertain weather in the region has played a big factor in American Pharoah remaining in Arcadia “until the 25th or 27th (of October)” according to Baffert.
One thing is certain–this morning’s drill, his fifth since returning to his Santa Anita base last month, was by far his most serious and was in stark contrast to his leisurely five furlong work of 1:01.20 just five days ago on Oct. 9.
If Baffert sticks with a five-day work pattern, which some sources say is planned, American Pharoah could have two more local breezes in advance of his departure.
“This is the first time since the Travers that he’s let this horse roll,” said highly respected private clocker Gary Young. “The previous works here were maintenance works. This was serious. He started out about seven lengths behind the target and he went by the target like a freight train by a hobo at the three sixteenths. He looked good throughout.”
American Pharoah Video –
The public is invited, free of charge, to attend workouts at Santa Anita each morning. Santa Anita’s Clockers’ Corner provides fans with a full breakfast menu and ample seating. Clockers’ Corner is accessible by entering the track via Gate 8, off of Baldwin Ave.