California's Pharoahites had their last chance to watch their Triple Crown hero up close and personal yesterday morning at Santa Anita, where American Pharoah zipped 4 furlongs in 462/5 seconds. Watching the colt's final workout for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland was bittersweet for his fans, and especially for his trainer.
"It was a little emotional to see him coming down the stretch that last time,'' Bob Baffert told bloodhorse.com. "I was happy with the way he was doing it, but a little piece of me said, 'It's a little bit sad.'
"He went really well. He looked like Pharoah.''
The superstar mare Beholder, considered one of Pharoah's main rivals in the $5-million Classic, also looked sharp yesterday morning, breezing 5 furlongs in 591/5 seconds at Keeneland.
American Pharoah drew post 4 in a field of 10 and was installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for the 11/4-mile Classic. Beholder, the second choice at 3-1, will start from post 10. Honor Code (post 9) and Tonalist (1) are 6-1, followed by Keen Ice (post 2) at 12-1 and Frosted (3) at 15-1.
One hundred seventy-five horses, including eight also-eligibles, were entered in 13 year-end championship races with purses totaling $26 million. Four of them -- the 11/16-mile Juvenile Turf (3:30 p.m.), Dirt Mile (4:10), the 11/16-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf (4:50) and the 11/8-mile Distaff (5:35) -- will be run Friday.
Saturday's card will feature nine Cup races: the 11/16-mile Juvenile Fillies (12:05 p.m.), 51/2-furlong Turf Sprint (12:45), 7-furlong Filly & Mare Sprint (1:25), 13/16-mile Filly & Mare Turf (2:10), 6-furlong Sprint (2:50), turf Mile (3:30), 11/16-mile Juvenile (4:10), 11/2-mile Turf (4:50) and the Classic (5:35).
Three of last year's champions return to defend their titles -- Judy the Beauty (Filly & Mare Sprint), Untapable (Distaff) and France-based Karakontie (Mile).
Turf favorite Golden Horn will attempt to hit an unprecedented trifecta, having won Europe's two most important races, the Epsom Derby in June and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 4.
Undefeated Nyquist, trained by Doug O'Neill, drew the unfavorable post 13 in the 14-horse Juvenile.