CRAWFORD | Baffert betting Pharoah is good enough to beat history in Saturday's Travers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s next stop on his road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland has been booked.
Saratoga track announcer Larry Collmus, according to New York Times racing writer Joe Drape, informed fans there shortly after noon on Sunday that, “Yes, he’s coming.”
They knew the rest. Racing's biggest star is headed for the Travers Stakes at historic Saratoga this Saturday.
Apparently, the colt was given the OK after yet another outstanding workout Sunday morning at Del Mar, seven furlongs in 1:23.20.
“Saratoga, here we come!” owner Ahmed Zayat Tweeted moments after the work.
“This was very positive, very positive,” trainer Bob Baffert told The Daily Racing Form. “That’s what we wanted to see, to see that he still has that energy. We needed to see something like this. I’ve never seen anything like him.”
So confident is Baffert, apparently, that he’s willing to take on a track where he’s never had great success, and a tough field, as well as some tough Triple Crown history.
American Pharoah will be the fourth Triple Crown winner to run in the Travers, but only one won the race — Whirlaway in 1941. Baffert himself is only 1-for-5 in the Travers, with his lone win coming from one of his best horses — Point Given in 2001. Point Given was the first horse to win four $1 million races in a row in the Preakness, Belmont, Haskell and Travers. American Pharoah will try to go him one better. He’ll be facing some quality competition, including Texas Red, Frosted and Dale Romans’ Keen Ice.
The post-position draw is scheduled for Tuesday night. American Pharoah is expected to arrive at the track on Wednesday.
Tickets for the race have long been sold out, after attendance was capped at 50,000. The purse, which includes a bonus if American Pharoah runs, is $1.6 million. The race is run at the Kentucky Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles.
American Pharoah last raced on August 2 in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, where he dominated the field for his eighth win in nine career starts.
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