Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert flew in from California to observe the 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile in his second recorded work since a victory in the May 16 Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (gr. I), that win on the heels of a May 2 score in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). On May 26 American Pharoah went four furlongs in :48 at the Louisville track.
On June 1 the bay colt was clocked in :25 for the opening quarter-mile, :36 3/5 for three furlongs, and :48 3/5 for a half-mile. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13, seven furlongs in 1:26, and one mile in 1:39 3/5, according to Churchill officials, and impressed viewers with his powerful and smooth action.
"Everything went really well today," Baffert said. "I was worried about the rain a little bit, but the track was in perfect shape. He went around there really nice. (The rain) sort of let up a little bit when he worked.
"It went just as we were hoping. He just kept on clicking right along, so I was really happy with that."
American Pharoah, bred in Kentucky by his owners out of the Yankee Gentleman mare Littleprincessemma, is looking for his seventh straight victory when he heads to the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park with a chance at history on the line. He could become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to sweep the Triple Crown, and is the fourth contender Baffert will take to New York in pursuit of the legendary series.
Baffert tackled the Triple Crown in 1997 (with Silver Charm), 1998 (Real Quiet), and 2002 (War Emblem), but his three contenders fell short in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont after winning the Derby and Preakness.
"We're sort of used to running in these big races, it's not like the first time for us," the trainer said. "The only time we get nervous is when things aren't going well or you start worrying about something. But so far everything's been on right schedule; we haven't had any setbacks, no hiccups, so that's the main thing."
Baffert plans to ship American Pharoah to New York June 2.
"Now we just play the waiting game," he said. "We'll ship out tomorrow morning and hope everything goes well when we go to the 'Big Apple.' My job is to bring him in there ready to roll. If he runs his race, we all know he's going to be very tough."