10/26/2015 12:31PM

American Pharoah sizzles in final workout

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Shigeki Kikkawa
With Martin Garcia up, American Pharoah works for the final time - a half-mile drill in 46.60 seconds at Santa Anita on Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Triple Crown winner American Pharoah zoomed a half-mile in 46.60 seconds at Santa Anita on Monday, the last workout of a legendary career that ends Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.

If the ease of Monday’s workout is an indication, American Pharoah’s status as the favorite for the BC Classic is well deserved.

Ridden by jockey Martin Garcia, American Pharoah went more than a second quicker than trainer Bob Baffert expected while exercising without urging. Before the workout, Baffert told Garcia to aim for a half-mile in 48 seconds. Baffert later said that might have been an unreasonable goal.

“That’s why he went by himself,” Baffert said. “If he’d been going any slower, he’d have been galloping. He’s ridiculous. That’s why he’s American Pharoah.”

American Pharoah was on the track on his own at 7:45 a.m. for a 10-minute training session reserved for Breeders’ Cup workers. His workout was witnessed by a larger-than-normal crowd for a Monday morning, with fans and Santa Anita horsemen following his moves.

American Pharoah was jogged down the stretch and broke away at the finish line from a pony ridden by Jimmy Barnes, Baffert’s assistant. American Pharoah jogged around the first turn and was in a gallop entering the backstretch. He was running at a strong clip when he reached the half-mile pole to begin the workout.

American Pharoah ran the opening furlong in 11.80 seconds, a quarter-mile in 23.20, and three furlongs in 34.60, according to Santa Anita clockers. Baffert timed American Pharoah in a quicker 11.40 seconds for the opening furlong.

“I thought he was going in 12 flat,” Baffert said. “He was in hand.”

Santa Anita clockers timed American Pharoah galloping out five furlongs in 59.40 seconds.

“He’s ready,” Garcia said after he rode American Pharoah back to Baffert’s stable. Garcia has been the regular workout rider for American Pharoah throughout the year. Victor Espinoza has ridden American Pharoah in races this year.

Owned by Ahmed Zayat, American Pharoah was scheduled to be flown to Kentucky early Tuesday. He is scheduled to go to stud in Kentucky after the BC Classic. The race will be American Pharoah’s first start since a second in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29. The colt has won 8 of 10 starts and earned $5,900,300.

“Now, we just have to win it,” Baffert said. “We can let him go out a champion. He’s ready to roll.”