CRAWFORD | After winning Triple Crown, American Pharoah returnin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | After winning Triple Crown, American Pharoah returning to his old Kentucky home

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WDRB photo by Eric Crawford. WDRB photo by Eric Crawford.
ELMONT, N.Y. (WDRB) — American Pharoah, the morning after becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978, will return to his old Kentucky home, according to trainer Bob Baffert.

“He'll go back there and we'll let him freshen up,” Baffert said. “He likes the state where he was born and grew up. Get him some bluegrass.”

American Pharoah is due to arrive back in Louisville at 1 p.m., and will get a police escort back to his barn. He should be back in his old stall at Baffert's Barn No. 33 by 1:30. How long the champion racehorse will stay at Churchill, and where he might race next, are up in the air, but the questions were posed, even amid the celebration of American Pharoah's 5 1/2-length win in the Belmont Stakes.

CRAWFORD | American Pharoah brings Triple Crown drought to emphatic end

The colt's owner, Ahmed Zayat, was asked when he would run again, and gave the best answer he could in the emotion of the moment. American Pharoah's breeding rights have been sold to Coolmore Ashford Stud, outside Lexington, for an undisclosed amount (that increased significantly after he won the Triple Crown. (He was born at Stockplace Farm, near Winchester, Ky., outside Lexington.)

But Zayat reserved the right to race American Pharoah through the end of the year, and that's what he said he intends to do.

“Are you kidding me?” Zayat said, laughing, after the question came from a reporter. “Obviously, those decisions are made by Bob. Bob is unbelievable caretaker. The horse will come first.  We have to see how he comes out of the race. But knowing Bob, knowing how competitive he is, we would like to enjoy him as long as we can but he has to come up, he has had a very, very long campaign. I personally made a promise to my family and to the fans more than anybody else. We need to enjoy our stars and race them as long as we possibly good.

“Now, saying that, I will not say things I can't deliver.  The stud rights have been sold. He will probably retire at the end of this year. Can this change? Possibly, I can't promise. I don't make that decision. But as long as Bob is telling me that he's healthy and he has it in him, I would like to enjoy him as much as I have him.”

The decision to run American Pharoah again, even once, would be a big one for horse racing, which usually sees a dramatic dropoff in interest after the Triple Crown series, sometimes after the Preakness if no Triple Crown is on the line.

Clearly, a big winner if American Pharoah does race through the season would be Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, which will play host to the Breeders' Cup later this year. The track isn't in position to add a significant number of seats to its already expanded configuration, but it could boast the distinction of being the site of American Pharoah's final race, if it comes to that.

Regardless, the much-traveled colt is getting a rest, and it will begin in Kentucky.

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