09/27/2014 7:15PM

American Pharoah delivers as FrontRunner favorite

Shigeki Kikkawa
American Pharoah led throughout Saturday to win the 1 1/16-mile FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - American Pharoah led throughout the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity over seven furlongs on Sept. 3 to record his first career win. He used the same tactics to win Saturday’s $300,750 FrontRunner Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita, a victory expected to make him the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile here on Nov. 1.

That is a role trainer Bob Baffert said American Pharoah deserves after his two major stakes wins. The victories are a contrast to a fifth-place finish in his debut at Del Mar on Aug. 9.

“I can’t believe his demeanor since his first race,” Baffert said. “He’s so professional. I love the way he went around there.

“He has that extra something that all the good ones have. What a performance. You hope for that, but you never know.”

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The FrontRunner was a Win and You’re In race for the BC Juvenile.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, American Pharoah ($3) won the Grade 1 FrontRunner by 3 1/2 lengths over 12-1 Calculator. Texas Red, another 12-1 shot, finished third, followed by Lord Nelson, Daddy D T, Skyway, Conquest Panthera,  and Sky Preacher.

Espinoza rode American Pharoah for the first time in the Del Mar Futurity, a win that left him impressed. He says American Pharoah has progressed since that race.

“He has a high-speed cruising level,” Espinoza said. “He does everything like a good horse.”

American Pharoah led by a half-length over Skyway through the first half-mile, setting fractions of 23.09 and 47.27 seconds.  Calculator closed from fourth to get within a half-length of American Pharoah on the turn, but could not get closer. Espinoza urged American Pharoah in early stretch and got a quick response.

“The other horses got close and I wanted to encourage him a bit,” Espinoza said. “I didn’t want to wait. He’s a young horse. I wanted to each him to get that kick in the end. He does everything right.”

Elvis Trujillo rode Calculator and feared his chance for a win disappeared in early stretch.

“It was me or him in the stretch,” Trujillo said. “When that horse opened up a length, I thought, Uh-oh.”

American Pharoah, a ridgling by Pioneerof the Nile, races for breeder Zayat Stables. From three starts, American Pharoah has earned $361,500.


William Inverso More than 1 year ago
That was a low comment LIL jeff. What do you really think of horse racing?
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Yeah. But let's see him pull his own horse trailer to Belmont, through a hail storm, while being chased by a pack of rabid dogs. If he does that; then I'll say he's a good,not great horse....lol
William Inverso More than 1 year ago
That's plain stupid!
A Zal More than 1 year ago
Let me guess, this horse will be allowed to stroll around the track in the BCJ......yes he will, none of the others will challenge him early, YEAH RIGHT!!
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
the most impressive race of the anita card
Jordan More than 1 year ago
For its condition(for 2 year old males), I agree American Pharoah was the most impressive winner on the card. This guy is super talent with long, fluid strides. Now the question is, can he run anywhere close to this well if faced with a serious pace challenger and a much quicker pace, or if he is forced to rate?
BearsyZoo More than 1 year ago
I thought he was really impressive kicking on at the end, he was so full of run. As ugly as the Chandellier race was, this was a very good race.
Kendall Daniels More than 1 year ago
Great ride by Victor Espinoza but it's unlikely he'll get such a soft pace in the juvenile. Also another golden rail type victory. I believe the best 2 year old in the country runs next weekend in the Champagne: The Truth or Else. He's definitely a route horse, has already won impressively at a mile, and has beaten horses that have kept company with stakes placed horses. There's a lot to like and I hope McPeek can keep him sound.