A little more than two weeks away from his upcoming run in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), American Pharoah may have shown indications of his readiness Oct. 14 with a speedy workout at Santa Anita Park.
Just as sunlight began to peek over the San Gabriel Mountains, the Triple Crown winner officially covered seven furlongs with jockey Martin Garcia aboard in 1:23 flat, according to Santa Anita's clockers. He worked in company with a fellow Zayat Stables horse, Madam Aamoura.
"He needed a victim," trainer Bob Baffert said of the Pioneerof the Nile colt's workmate. "Not a victim, but he needed a target. We won't use the word 'victim.' He went really well. I wanted to get a strong work out of him and it looks like he handled it really well. He's reaching and running, and it looked like he came back happy."
Baffert's wife Jill and son Bode were both out to watch the drill, and the trainer clocked American Pharoah through fractions of :12 1/5, :24, :35 4/5, :47, :59 4/5, and 1:11 2/5. Baffert had a final time of 1:24 flat for seven furlongs, with a gallop out to a mile in 1:37 1/5.
Santa Anita's clockers had the bay colt's gallop out in a double-take worthy 1:35 2/5. Madam Aamoura, who started ahead and was passed by American Pharoah, was clocked at 1:13 4/5 for six furlongs. American Pharoah's seven-furlong breeze was the only work at the distance Wednesday, but his six-furlong fraction would have earned a bullet for that distance. Baffert stablemate Power Jam ran the fastest six furlongs on the worktab, at 1:11 4/5.
"I'm really happy," Baffert said. "I needed to see something like that. If I don't see something like that, we're (not) moving in the right direction. I was going easy on him, but now was time to lean on him a little bit."
American Pharoah has had five workouts at Santa Anita since a second-place finish in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) and his last before Wednesday was an easy 1:01 1/5 breeze Oct. 9.
"I didn't want to do too much too far out and show up with a rag doll," Baffert explained. "When I back off of him, he gets a little bit—he likes to train. That's what he does when he's on it... What he's been through, we've just got to get him so he's maintaining that (form)."
If he remains on a schedule where he is working every five days, American Pharoah could work twice before shipping to Keeneland, although Baffert hasn't expounded on his plans.
"He'll work again, but I just don't know what day I'm going (to Keeneland) yet," the trainer said.