07/02/2015 8:40PM

American Pharoah to run in Haskell Invitational

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Shigeki Kikkawa
American Pharoah trains at Santa Anita on June 22.

Ahmed Zayat, the owner of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, has confirmed that his 3-year-old colt will run next in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 2.

Zayat made the announcement through ESPN.com. Trainer Bob Baffert said through ESPN that he is pleased with the way American Pharoah has trained since returning to California and is in favor of the decision.

American Pharoah worked three furlongs in 36.40 seconds at Santa Anita on Monday.

"We were all waiting to see how American Pharoah worked and for me to give the OK. I liked the way he's training, the way he worked, and how he came out of it very well," Baffert told ESPN.com.

On Thursday at 6:15 Eastern, Baffert Told Steve Andersen, Daily Racing Form's Southern California correspindent, "If everything goes well, we'll go there. I'll probably work him on Sunday or Monday. I'll work him right before we go to Del Mar. He just jogged today. With this heat, I want to be careful. He lost some weight, but he put it back on again. That worked perked him up a bit."

American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 when he won the June 6 Belmont Stakes in front of a crowd of 90,000 by 5 1/2 lengths. He had previously won the May 16 Preakness in the slop at Pimlico Race Course by seven lengths and the May 2 Kentucky Derby by one length at Churchill Downs.

"I've decided to do the logical step and run American Pharoah at Monmouth," Zayat said. "I'm trying to create one of the best days racing has ever seen for its fans and one that will also fit the prestige that surrounds American Pharoah. I want it to be a great day for everyone that will celebrate racing."

A number of racing organizations, including the New York Racing Association, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, and Parx Racing, have been attempting to lure American Pharoah to their tracks, but the Haskell, which Baffert has won a record seven times, always seemed like the front-runner, partially due to its spot on the calendar.

The ultimate goal for American Pharoah is the Breeeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 31, and there is room for at least one other race between the Haskell and the Breeders’ Cup.

"We are ecstatic to know American Pharoah will be running in the Haskell," said Bob Kulina, the president of Monmouth. "This will be the biggest day ever in the history of racing in New Jersey. We've been racing for 70 years, and this is the first time we will have a Triple Crown champion here. I didn't think I would ever say this, but this will be even bigger than 2007, when we hosted the Breeders' Cup."

Monmouth Park has approximately 13,000 reserved seats for Haskell Day, and they have been sold out for weeks in the belief that American Pharoah would be running.

Monmouth will not limit the Haskell Day crowd, as Belmont Park did on Belmont Stakes Day, and estimates call for a turnout in excess of 60,000 at the Oceanport, N.J., track, which would fill it to capacity.

The Grade 1 Haskell will be run at 1 1/8 miles. There are bonus conditions written into the race that will pay the owner and trainer of a Triple Crown race winner $25,000 each. Since American Pharoah swept the three-race series, Zayat and Baffert are each guaranteed $75,000 if American Pharoah starts.

There is speculation that the purse might be raised even higher to guarantee his participation.