- AMERICAN PHAROAH JOGS ON MAIN TRACK
- MOTOWN MEN WORKING FOR GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA
- FANS CAN SEE ‘PHAROAH’ LIVE AT SANTA ANITA JUNE 27
- VICTOR ESPINOZA CAMPAIGNS ON ‘HOPE’ AND REALITY
AMERICAN PHAROAH BACK ON TRACK
Triple Crown winnerAmerican Pharoah returned home to Santa Anita on Thursday but returned to the track just this morning. With regular exercise rider Georgie Alvarez aboard, ‘Pharoah’ proceeded to the track at about 7:15 a.m. Saturday morning with assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes and pony “Sunny” in tow. The most popular horse in the world got to stretch his legs as he jogged once around the one mile main track going the wrong way. Kept close to the outside fence, “Pharoah” returned to trainer Bob Baffert’s Barn 5 with Barnes and Sunny leading the way.
Though his next race has yet to be determined, American Pharoah will parade between races next Saturday, June 27.
MOTOWN MEN EYES RICH GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA
Bargain claim Motown Men, winner of the $150,000 Tiznow Stakes on May 23, is on course to face Catch a Flight and Moreno, the one-two finishers in the Grade II Californian Stakes on May 30, in the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita at 1 ¼ miles next Saturday, June 27.
“We thought he might be a little bit knocked out coming out of the Tiznow,” trainer Ted H. West said, “because he had run three bang-up races in six weeks, so everything would have had to go perfect to make the Gold Cup five weeks after his last race.
“But so far, so good. He recently worked 59 and one and just did it awesome, and came back six furlongs last Sunday in 1:11.40, so if everything goes absolutely perfect from here, we’ll take a shot against the big boys.”
Motown Men is expected to have his final pre-Gold Cup breeze on Sunday. He was claimed for $40,000 three starts before the Tiznow and has earned $148,000 since.
AMERICAN PHAROAH ON PARADE JUNE 27
Trainer Bob Baffert will treat Southern California fans to their first openly public viewing of America’s newest Triple Crown winner on Gold Cup at Santa Anita Day, next Saturday, June 27 as American Pharoah will parade between races.
“We want to thank American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, and his trainer, Bob Baffert, for being so incredibly generous in sharing this horse with fans from coast to coast,’ said Santa Anita Chairman Keith Brackpool. “We’re excited to present him to the public on June 27. It should make for a tremendous day for those joining us on track and on television throughout the world.”
In addition to a blockbuster card that includes the Grade I, $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, the Grade I, $300,000 Triple Bend Stakes, the Grade II, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes and the Grade III, $100,000 Senorita Stakes, all fans will receive an officially licensed “American Pharoah Triple Crown Champion” T-shirt free with paid admission and Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club membership. (Thoroughbreds Club signups will be available free at all T-shirt distribution locations).
NBCSN will televise the Gold Cup live from 5 to 6 p.m. Pacific Time.
ESPINOZA CONTINUES SUPPORT OF CITY OF HOPE
For Victor Espinoza, everything is different and everything’s the same since becoming a household name after riding American Pharoah to Triple Crown victories in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
The self-proclaimed “Happy Mexican” still has that same ready smile and low-profile persona, but he’s nobody’s fool. He recognizes his every move will now be subject to scrutiny.
“Everything is good, everything is under control,” Espinoza said. “There’s a lot of
excitement and I’ve been keeping busy doing different things, but I know there is more pressure on me than before because now everyone is focused on me and what I’m doing.
“Now every time I make a mistake, people will know about it (laughing).”
That won’t prevent Espinoza from keeping things in perspective. Despite the whirlwind PR commitments, he maintains support of his No. 1 charity, the City of Hope in Duarte. He grossed $80,000 from his Belmont victory, and donated a good portion of that to City of Hope.
“I had to pay taxes and my agent (Brian Beach), but whatever I earned for myself from the Belmont, I gave to City of Hope.
“Those kids are so young to be dealing with cancer. But it’s not just kids. Older people, too. I’ve been to City of Hope several times, and I do what I can because they all need help and I can provide some.
“That disease is terrible. Your health is your most important thing.”
FINISH LINES: Victor Espinoza will make a special appearance and ride on the $1.175 million Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream Park on Sunday, July 5. “I’m very much looking forward to a return to South Florida and Gulfstream Park,” Espinoza said in a statement. “If I remember right, my last time there was the Breeders’ Cup of 1999.” The 43-year-old native of Mexico rode Kirkwall to an eighth-place finish behind Silic in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Mile…The City of Sierra Madre will be giving Espinoza, a resident of Sierra Madre, a special commendation for his part in winning the Triple Crown at its next City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 23. The Triple Crown winning jockey will also be honored with a convertible ride in the annual Sierra Madre Fourth of July Parade this year. The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, June 19)|
|Drayden Van Dyke||112||15||13||12||13%||$637,498|
|(Current Through Friday, June 19)|
|Doug F. O’Neill||94||18||16||11||19%||$782,738|
|John W. Sadler||65||12||9||11||18%||$696,504|
|Richard E. Mandella||41||11||11||4||27%||$835,240|
|Hector O. Palma||16||4||2||2||25%||$133,910|