American Pharoah hushed any doubters as to his legacy with an impressive follow-up to his Triple Crown championship, winning the 1st of his major horse races at the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park as a -900 favorite this past weekend. American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza seemed to toy with the field in New Jersey, sitting in second for the majority of the race before exploding into the lead in the final turn and easing up down the stretch.
It almost seemed too easy for the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. So what does American Pharoah do for his next encore?
Here are the possible places horse bettors will see American Pharoah run before the end of the year:
Travers at Saratoga
This August 29 race would mean a lot of travel for American Pharoah this month. He trained in California and was shipped back to the golden state following the Haskell, so racing at Saratoga in New York would mean another cross-country hike for the Triple Crown champ. The 1 ¼-mile long race would be a longer race than the Haskell (1 1/8 mile) but shorter than the Belmont ( 1 ½ mile) and has a big purse of $1,250,000 – if money still matters to Zayat at this point.
This event usually has a tough field as horses and trainers look ahead to the Breeders’ Cup Classic in October, using the Pennsylvania Derby as a tuneup race. Zayat did tell reporters American Pharoah will likely run against three year olds in his next event, which trims the perspective field down to this race and the Travers. Trainer Bob Baffert did win this race with Bayern last year – then the Breeders’ Cup Classic – so there’s familiarity at Parx.
Awesome Again Stakes
American Pharoah may pass on this September 26 race due to the fact the field is for three year olds and up, something Zayat may not be comfortable with right now. However, racing at Santa Anita would be a short trip for the horse and a shorter run at 1 1/8 miles. American Pharoah may also pass on the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 22 due to the same age concerns.
Breeders’ Cup Classic
While Zayat hasn’t confirmed American Pharoah for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, it is assumed this will be his final run as a two year old – taking a shot at horse racing’s Grand Slam. The Classic, which is run on Halloween at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, already has the Triple Crown winner pegged as an even money favorite. He will face a field of three year olds and older in a 1 ¼-mile capper to his already legendary 2015.