Zayat Stables' American Pharoah, the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, shipped well the morning of June 7 from New York to Churchill Downs, where he arrived early afternoon with more than 100 fans and members of the media waiting at the barn.
The colt by Pioneerof the Nile was transported by van from Louisville International Airport with a police escort and helicopters that became visible over Churchill when he arrived at about 1:15 p.m. EDT. He exited the van after his companion, the pony Smokey, walked off the ramp.
Jimmy Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, led American Pharoah toward the barn amid cheers from the crowd. Barnes walked him around the shedrow, and about 15 minutes later he colt got a bath as the cameras clicked around him.
Barnes indicated the flight went well. American Pharoah looked no worse for wear.
"I got to bed a little bit late last night and we had the early ship (from New York)," Barnes said. "I think it's starting to sink in (that American Pharoah won the Triple Crown). It's just nice to be back to our second home, Churchill Downs."
Baffert, based in Southern California, keeps a barn at Churchill, where American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in early May. He then won the Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (gr. I) to set up his Triple Crown bid in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
"We went into the whole thing fairly confident," Barnes said of the lead-up to the Belmont. "A good start was all he needed for a chance to win it."
Barnes said there were people on the sides of streets to watch the van as it approached Churchill.
"The feelings go on and on," he said. "They just don't stop."
Baffert and Ahmed Zayat, who owns Zayat Stables, both said they will map out a schedule for American Pharoah with the goal the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Keeneland in late October.
Watch American Pharoah and Smokey the pony arrive at Churchill Downs: