The American Pharoah update: Still looking sharp, and still no decision on when he'll race next.
The first Triple Crown champion since 1978 breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.13 Sunday morning at Del Mar in his first timed workout since his easy win in the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey. Several hundred people, including his owner-breeder, Ahmed Zayat, watched the workout at the seaside track near San Diego.
"He went nice. He looked like the Pharoah we know,'' said trainer Bob Baffert, who still was not willing to commit to running in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 29 in upstate Saratoga. "I think he went really well, like it was nothing for him. It was really encouraging that he's still holding his form.''
The long-striding colt moved easily and eagerly for his regular exercise rider, jockey Martin Garcia, going his first half-mile in 47.60 seconds and galloping out 6 furlongs in 1:13 2/5. Longtime California-based clocker Gary Young was impressed, telling sports cable TVG Network, "I couldn't knock this work at all.''
Baffert said he likely will ask Pharoah to extend himself a bit more in his next workout, probably next Sunday, after which a Travers decision is expected to be announced. Last week he said he will "try to make it" as long as the colt remains in top form.
"He's showing me he's doing really well,'' Baffert told TVG Sunday morning. "Because we're always looking for a reason not to go [to the Travers]. If he gives us an inkling he's not ready, we won't go.
"It's work by work, gallop by gallop.''