American Pharoah fires bullet in final pre-Derby breeze

Posted to: American Pharoah Sunday, April 26, 2015
American Pharoah fires bullet in final pre-Derby breeze
Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah heated up the Churchill Downs track on a very chilly Sunday morning with a stellar five furlong work in :58.40 seconds, a bullet move that looked as impressive as the time indicated.

The Arkansas Derby (G1) winner turned in split times of 11.40; 23, 34.60 and 46.40. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.40.  It was American Pharoah’s first work since he won the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths on Apr. 11, and will be his only work prior to starting in next Saturday’s Run for the Roses.

“He’s where we want him to be,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert told a large press contingent afterward. “He hasn’t regressed. He looks great. It was pretty exciting to come in here on a nice, cool day, so everything worked out From here on out we have to keep him happy.

“He was just clipping along,” Baffert continued. “Usually, I talk to (jockey Martin Garcia, via the walkie-talkie), but I just left him alone. He was doing it in hand, but that’s the way he works. Mr..Zayat was wondering if he was going too fast, but he hasn’t seen him. That’s how he works in California. He does things really effortlessly. He galloped out strong, came back and wasn’t blowing. He handled it well.”

Ahmed Zayat and son Justin were on hand for the work as well. 

“I want to focus on the positive, and there’s a lot,” the elder Zayat said. “I’m very proud of my horse, my horses – I have two others (El Kabeir and Mr. Z) in the Derby. I’m very proud of my trainer. (American Pharoah) is one different horse. I don’t how, other than the fact that we bred him. His daddy, Pioneerof the Nile ran in the Derby and almost got it done for us (second in 2009). His mommy, Littleprincessemma, named after my daughter, we raced her, we loved her. He is totally Zayat blood from A to Z. If you want to be in the Derby and you want to come with a horse that you feel would have a decent chance that would be the one. For that, it means a lot for us. It’s a privilege just to be here. It’s a humbling experience.”

El Kabeir, trained by John Terranova, worked four furlongs in :46.81 seconds Saturday at Belmont Park and was scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs via van on Sunday. Mr. Z. trained by D. Wayne Lukas, is already at Churchill and galloped Sunday at the Louisville oval.