American Pharoah is going to run in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday.
“We are thrilled to welcome the return of one of New York’s most beloved and successful home-grown thoroughbreds on the eve of New York Breeders’ Showcase Day at Saratoga”, said NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay.
According to tweets by Jay Privman from the Daily Racing Form, Baffert asked rider Martin Garcia after the workout if the colt was “ready to go a mile and a quarter”, the Travers distance, and Garcia replied “Si”.
“I don’t want to find any Onions”, he said, a reference to the horse who pulled off one of the biggest upsets in racing by beating 1973 Triple Crown victor Secretariat in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga.
“Pretty incredible work. But he’s a pretty incredible horse”, Baffert said, in another tweet by Privman. “That was very, very positive, ” Baffert said to the DRF. Terranova and his wife, Tonja, are former Baffert assistants whom he trusts to house his horses when he ships them to New York.
Outside of Saratoga’s reputation for being the “Graveyard of Favorites”, there are other factors that could be problematic for American Pharoah on August 29.
Assistant Jimmy Barnes typically travels to New York to oversee his horses, too.
A day before New York Breeders’ Showcase Day at the Saratoga Race Course, the first New York-bred to win the Kentucky Derby, amusing Cide, will make an appearance at the Spa. The NYRA, which operates Saratoga, Belmont Park and Aqueduct, will raise the purse of the Travers to $1.6 million from $1.250,000 if American Pharoah runs.
American Pharoah has won eight of nine career races. He went on to win the second leg of the Triple Crown in 2003 and captured the 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
This years Travers will draw the sold out crowd of 50,000, the first time that attendance was capped. The barn area where American Pharoah would stay is also not the most spacious.