10/20/2015 2:05PM

American Pharoah tightens down with fast six furlongs

Shigeki Kikkawa
American Pharoah works six furlongs in 1:10.80 under Martin Garcia on Tuesday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – With Triple Crown winner American Pharoah coming into the Breeders’ Cup Classic off a two-month layoff, having to race 1 1/4 miles, and facing elders for the first time, trainer Bob Baffert cranked up the intensity of his last two works, including a brilliant six-furlong drill on Tuesday morning at Santa Anita that was officially timed in 1:10.80.

“He did it the right way,” Baffert said. “He’s going to have to run hard. The Breeders’ Cup will be pedal to the metal from the gate.”

And since the Classic on Oct. 31 at Keeneland will be the final start of American Pharoah’s career, Baffert said that when it came to Tuesday’s work, “There’s no hanging back.”


A crowd larger than usual for Tuesday works was at Santa Anita, with many fans bringing cameras. In the stands, one of the interested bystanders was jockey Victor Espinoza, who rides American Pharoah in his races. Martin Garcia is his regular work rider; Baffert entrusts Garcia to with most of his most-important works.


As in his prior drill, American Pharoah and Garcia started well behind stablemate Madam Aamoura, a filly who like American Pharoah is owned by the Zayat family. They began their work shortly before the six-furlong pole, with American Pharoah about five lengths behind Madam Aamoura.

By the three-furlong pole, midway through the drill, American Pharoah was three lengths back and under a pull. He caught Madam Aamoura at the quarter pole and quickly left her, then focused his attention on a horse from the barn of trainer Tim Yakteen, To Tonia and Mike, who was finishing a solo five-furlong work and was about a sixteenth of a mile in front of American Pharoah.

That gave American Pharoah a new target, and though he didn’t catch that horse, it allowed him to continue strongly to the wire and then gallop out powerfully.

“I think he tried to catch that other horse,” Garcia said. “He was good; just galloping.”

Baffert had American Phaorah going out seven furlongs in 1:23.40 and a mile in 1:37.

“Really good. He was Pharoah,” Baffert said.

The time of 1:10.80 was the best of the eight horses who worked six furlongs at Santa Anita on Tuesday. Only one other horse, the Karen Headley-trained Circle the Moon, went faster than 1:13.20, the final time recorded by Madam Aamoura.

American Pharoah also had a major work six days earlier, when he went seven furlongs in 1:23. He is scheduled for a final drill here on Monday before flying to Kentucky on Tuesday, but Baffert said the Monday work will be short and easy compared to the last two.

“It’s sort of sad that this was the last work we’ll ever let him work that way,” Baffert said. “The next one will be really easy.”

Anne Collins More than 1 year ago
Frank More than 1 year ago
I agree Steve -- but we need all these fools on here disagreeing with us as they are -- I love people in the sport that bet with their hearts.... Those are the ones we bet against for better odds!
Steve Coward More than 1 year ago
A very good 3 year old ,but will be put to the real world come October 31st. I say a good second or third place finish.
Jim More than 1 year ago
OK Coward so who is going to beat him? It is far too easy to pick a potential loser rather than the winner. Show some huevos and tell us who you think will win rather than the hedged and gutless response that permits you to say I told you so if AP does lose.
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Hi Jim, always enjoy your posts. I'll put it out there.....I'm betting Frosted in the Classic. He'll be great value and if he can get the same patient ride he got in Penn he'll be tough as nails as I think he is peaking at the right time. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge AP fan and if he were to gut it out and win the Classic it would be something to see. However, he will be over bet and I really do think Frosted has matured very nice and has looked amazing on the training track. So, Frosted it is. Good luck to you. It'll be a great weekend of racing.
mike More than 1 year ago
Frosted has no shot.
Steve Coward More than 1 year ago
A very Good three year old, but will be put to the grinding stone come the 31st. Third maybe?
Ian Chef King More than 1 year ago
I agree American Pharaoh lose by default but let's not kid ourselves this crop is really solid! It's not Pharaoh fault his trainer sacrifice stable mate Dortmund in which it appears a deliberate attempt was made to change his running style to make him AP's pace setter knowing quite well he's his biggest threat coming off the pace! American Pharaoh own by Zayat Baffert #1 client was the prefered stable choice to wear the roses (IMO)! American Pharaoh didn't sweep the triple crown because of inferior competition but more because he always brought his A game unlike others including barn mate Dortmund who it was obvious he wasn't handle with the same due care and attention!
Frank More than 1 year ago
a very good horse in an extremely weak crop of 3yr olds. Wow, I could of waited another 25 more years (I know its been 37yrs) if I knew it was going to be like this..... Looking forward to the betting opportunity that is provided by having a triple crown winner in the field.
Fred Greenstein More than 1 year ago
"in an extremely weak crop..." is such a tired old back handed compliment. Just stand up an insult him if you want to. But if you do you will be a member of a very small club.
Ian Douglas More than 1 year ago
Agreed. The horse has to sprout wings for these naysayers to wake up
Bob Blake More than 1 year ago
hey Frank, blow me.
Jim More than 1 year ago
mike More than 1 year ago
What's your problem?
Frank More than 1 year ago
This is what makes the sport even better -- people disagreeing on opinion and who will win -- spread the money!
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
Awesome horse. Nice story. October 31 will be an amazing day.