10/09/2015 10:02AM

American Pharoah, Beholder work for Classic

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Barbara D. Livingston
American Pharoah worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Friday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – American Pharoah and Beholder, the top two ante-post choices for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Oct. 31, both worked just minutes apart Friday morning at Santa Anita, causing Richard Mandella, Beholder’s trainer, to remark, “We should have just worked them in company.”

Both worked without company at around 6:35 a.m., shortly after the first of the three renovation breaks. It was ladies first, as Beholder came onto the track shortly before American Pharoah and was the first of the two to drill. This was her first work since capturing the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes 13 days earlier.

Exercise rider Janine Painter was aboard Beholder, who started her work at the half-mile pole and continued out to the seven-furlong pole for a five-furlong drill. Santa Anita’s clockers had her in 1:02, and because Beholder was going along so easily, they designated the work as “breezing,” which is given out stingily in California. Most works here are labeled "handily." Of the 112 works at Santa Anita on Friday, only Beholder's was labeled "breezing."

“She was just cruising. We weren’t looking to do much,” Mandella said. “She couldn’t look much better.”

Beholder is scheduled to have one more work at Santa Anita next week before leaving for Keeneland on Oct. 19. She will have her final work for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.

Beholder, a two-time Eclipse Award winner, is a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner, having captured the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and the Distaff in 2013. If she wins the Classic, she will be the first horse to win three different Breeders’ Cup races.

American Pharoah, the Triple Crown winner and last year’s champion 2-year-old male, had regular work rider Martin Garcia aboard for his drill, officially five furlongs in 1:01.20. As with Beholder, American Pharoah broke off closer to the half-mile pole and went out into the clubhouse turn, a fairly common practice for workouts for trainer Bob Baffert.

“I didn’t want to do a whole lot,” Baffert said. “We start to get serious next week.”

After Friday’s work, Garcia let American Pharoah gallop out all the way into the backstretch and let him continue around to upper stretch instead of pulling him up on the backside and coming back clockwise along the outside fence. Baffert, walking along the apron, met up with Garcia and American Pharoah near the furlong pole. After Garcia maneuvered American Pharoah to the outside fence, he said to Baffert, “He’s feeling really good.”

Baffert elaborated, saying, “He wanted to do more.”

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This was the fourth work for American Pharoah since the Grade 1 Travers Stakes, his lone loss this year. He will have all his pre-Breeders’ Cup workouts at Santa Anita before heading to Kentucky for the final start of his career.

Baffert and Mandella watched the works about 150 yards from one another, but both kept their eyes on their chief rivals. As American Pharoah came through the lane moments after Beholder, Mandella said, “This guy is working pretty good, too.”

Baffert said he waited for Beholder to complete her work before telling Garcia, via radio, to turn American Pharoah loose.

“They always work good,” Baffert said.

By 6:50, both horses were off the track.

“What do we do now?” Baffert asked. “Go back to bed?”

Dahorsecapper More than 1 year ago
Both throw outs ! AP is not fast enough and Beholder can't ship.
Scott Samuel More than 1 year ago
Pharoah will win the Breeders Cup in similar fashion as he did the Haskell. However, this time around, Baffert will let Victor let him loose. If AP remains healthy, they can put any European they want (Treve, Gleneagels, Golden Horn - I know they are pointing to the Turf and/or are not running in the BCC and/or perhaps any BC race) and any other horse from around the world in the gate, and the result will not be any different. Bottom line, Baffert is setting up AP for a peak performance and he will dominate. I am hoping to make it there as it was one of the things that my brother said he wanted me to see prior to his untimely death on August 18, 2015, that was due to brain cancer. Just an FYI, prior to the Triple Crown, I asked my brother, who knew nothing about horse racing if AP would win the Triple Crown, he told me "yes." I asked him how he knew and he told me "I have seen it." As we all know, AP won the Triple Crown. I asked him about the BCC and he told me that AP would win it. So, let's hope that my brother is right again. To AP, Baffert and the Zayat family: Good luck and I hope that AP stays healthy and wins the BCC.
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Sorry about your brother.
Jack Armstead More than 1 year ago
Scott...same as "Rags" said; I'm sorry about your brother, too. I hope AP runs lights out, but; this is going to be a lot trickier than we think. None of these horses have run at Keeneland's new "dirt" track and it is difficult to figure out. I am just going to watch and study how it plays. If it plays anything like Del Mar did after changing from Poly, I think Beholder (depending on draw) will go for the lead and they will come get her. AP should be right behind her.
Scott Samuel More than 1 year ago
Jack and Union Rags, Thank you for your condolences. They are much appreciated. It was a long battle with my brother that began on September 4, 2014. By the time he passed away, he was completely blind and paralyzed. That started a little bit before The Triple Crown. While I may be wrong, I truly believe that my brother, Sean Patrick Samuel, did in fact see AP win the Triple Crown. If you Google his name, you can read his obituary and learn about him. While he knew a lot about many things, he knew nothing about race horses. That said, I am sure AP will win if he gets in the gate. My brother told me that and I've seen the competition. My father who is 70 and probably the best handicapper I know believes that AP will romp. With all that said, just think about it for a second: Do you think that Baffert would really put him in the gate if he thinks he has a shot of losing? In my humble opinion, there is no way he is going to do that. He's keeping him at Santa Anita to avoid all of the media in Kentucky. While he may say it is because of the weather, I am not buying that. Let's all just hope AP gets there healthy, makes it into a good post (hopefully away from Borel) and gets a clean break. After that, it is going to be a show that we will never forget. Thanks again for your sympathy. It is much appreciated. And dahorsecapoer does not have a clue as to just how fast AP really is, but he will see on Octobet 31
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
First and foremost I join the gentleman above in saying I am most sorry for the untimely loss of Sean Patrick Samuel, your beloved brother. May his memory be a blessing. From a handicapping perspective only - independent of anything that Sean may well have seen while he drew close to the other side - this will be a tricky race to handicap. I count myself as a huge fan of American Pharoah, he delivered us from the desert of Triple Crown failure - and more than that his action, when he at his best is just astounding. He runs fast easily, without looking stressed or being asked. But it has been a long year - in his last race he looked tired the last quarter and Baffert has already worked him four times since. If the race was a mile and an eighth I would be on board with it being close to a lock (remember last year's Classic where Bayern wiped out Shared Belief at the start?) but as he will have to get a mile and a quarter he could be vulnerable coming home. What price would you make Keen Ice in the BC Classic? To my eye the track at Keeneland seems hard to cap - and the new track at Del Mar produced a steady parade of double digit winners. Yes, I think he is the best horse in the race and the factors that would make me not want to take too short of a price are - length of his season, the distance, the potential for the pace to be hot upfront and for AP to be too close to it, and the surface which seems hard to get a read on. And in sincerity I hope Sean and your old man are 100% right - may AP romp by open daylight.