07/28/2015 11:46AM

American Pharoah has final Haskell work

Benoit & Associates
American Pharoah gets in his final work for the Haskell, a half-mile in 48.80, Tuesday at Del Mar under Martin Garcia.

DEL MAR, Calif. – American Pharoah is ready for his second act. He completed his preparation for the Haskell on Tuesday morning at Del Mar, with an easy half-mile drill in 48.80 seconds, and now is set to head to New Jersey’s Monmouth Park for Sunday’s race, his first start since becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner nearly two months ago.

Tuesday’s work was the third for American Pharoah in the past 10 days here, as trainer Bob Baffert has said he wants to make sure American Pharoah is at his absolute best anytime he runs for the rest of his racing career. The serious, stamina-building works were done earlier. This was a light skip over the track.

“That’s all he needs,” Baffert said as American Pharoah galloped out. “My job is just to keep him healthy and fit, keep him happy for anything thrown at him. If I keep him healthy and fit, it will take a pretty good horse to beat him.”

Jockey Martin Garcia, American Pharoah’s regular workmate, was in the saddle. Per usual, American Pharoah came on the track just after the second of three renovation breaks, jogged with a pony the wrong way to the finish line, turned around, jogged with the pony to the vicinity of the five-furlong pole, then was turned loose to work solo.

Beginning at the half-mile pole, American Pharoah was timed by Del Mar’s head clocker Dane Nelson in fractions of 12.60 seconds, 25.20, and 37.20, meaning his furlong from there to the wire was in 11.60 seconds. He then galloped out five furlongs in 1:01, and six furlongs in 1:14.40 over a fast track that has been dull all meet.

Tuesday is a dark day at Del Mar, but several hundred racing fans came out early to watch the workout from the grandstand. “Look at the amount of people here,” Ahmed Zayat, the breeder and owner of American Pharoah, said in wonderment before the work.

As American Pharoah flashed under the finish line, a spontaneous cheer went up from some of the fans.

American Pharoah was scheduled to leave in the wee hours of Wednesday morning from California bound for Atlantic City. From there, he will head by van to Monmouth Park.

He is scheduled to be on the track at Monmouth on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings for training. American Pharoah does not go to the track on the mornings of days he races, so he will not train Sunday morning.

American Pharoah still has a plate covering the frog of his left front hoof. He has worn it all year, and Baffert said, “He’s gotten so used to that feeling, I don’t want to change it up.”

“He’s a beautiful-moving horse with it,” Baffert said.