American Pharoah beat the odds, and some well-rested foes, in capturing the first Triple Crown in 37 years. Where does he go from here?
According to ESPN, American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, says the next race is in the works, but no plans have been set yet. Zayat told the press Sunday morning that he will let trainer Bob Baffert map out American Pharoah’s next couple of months, but right now wants the fans to enjoy this special moment.
Zayat also said it is his intention to keep American Pharoah in training until at least the end of the year. Zayat did sell American Pharoah’s breeding rights to Coolmore Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky. The amount of the sale was not disclosed.
“They have zero say until he retires,” Zayat said. “We owe it to the sport to do the right thing. Money plays an important factor in this game. I’ve already sold the breeding rights, but it is my genuine desire, as a fan, as someone who loves horses, to race him as long as I possibly can.”
ABC News is reporting that there are three races both Baffert and Zayat are looking at are the Jim Dandy at Saratoga in upstate New York on August 1, the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in New Jersey on August 2 (which Baffert has won seven times, and Zayat lives in nearby Teaneck, New Jersey), the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 22, and the Travers at Saratoga on August 29.
Some or all of these races would serve as practice for the Breeder’s Cup, raced on October 31 in Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. Once American Pharoah is retired, he will be set out to stud nearby.
What’s most impressive about American Pharoah, other than the fact that he won the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, is the way American Pharoah won each of the three races that comprised the Triple Crown. In the Kentucky Derby, he won by a length, but that distance was increasing near the end of the 1 1/4 mile race. At The Preakness, the shortest race at 1 1/16 mile, American Pharoah fired past the field on a sloppy, muddy field. And, in the Belmont Stakes, American Pharoah took command early and never looked back during the 1 1/2 mile race. Most horses have issues with different distances and types of tracks; American Pharoah has no issues. He was born to run.
Baffert, who won the Triple Crown on his fourth try as trainer, knows how special American Pharoah is, but it is still hard to explain.
“It was ridiculously insane what he did yesterday. And then he pushed the button, he just dropped down and flew home the last quarter. I’ve never had a horse like that,” he said.
“He’s just a tough horse” Baffert said. “He’s an athlete.”
An athlete for the history books now.
[Image courtesy of Hoboken Horse]