American Pharoah beaten in Travers
A race that has often proved a step too far for the season’s champions in the States claimed American Triple Crown hero American Pharoah last night at Saratoga as Bob Baffert’s stable star could only manage second behind Keen Ice in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes.
Owned by Coolmore for stud purposes and sent to war once more after this seasons Triple Crown glory in front of a packed Saratoga crowd it wasn’t to be for jockey Victor Espinoza who attempted to make all, but despite battling to retain the lead into the closing stages Javier Castellano steered Keen Ice to the front from the back of the field to deny the champion.
Possibly off to stud now rather than race again and Ahmad Zayat, owner is considering the options. “He was happy and he’s special and he is the Triple Crown winner, then you ask yourself is the show over. Is it time”
“My gut feeling right now, without being outspoken, is to retire him. If this horse is one percent not the American Pharoah that we cherish, the show’s over.
Bob Baffert was also willing to asses the situation following the defeat. “This is something we have to sit and figure out. I’m not really used to being in the position with him, so it’s sort of hard to digest right now. You never know how the horse is feeling until you run him. He travelled and he shipped well, but I could tell by Victor’s body language that he was done at the half-mile pole and he kept trying.
“That’s the only reason he ran second, it’s because he’s such a great horse. The winner ran a really great race.”
“He won the Triple Crown and then he lost a race at Saratoga that he didn’t have to run. He made people care about racing and then he raced some more. He doesn’t owe us anything.”
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