The Breeders' Cup Classic seemed so far off the last time Triple Crown winner American Pharoah ran a race.
Now, the highly anticipated championship is a mere three weeks away.
Trainer Bob Baffert put the 3-year-old colt through a workout Friday morning at Santa Anita Park, then started putting shape to American Pharoah's travel plans later this month.
The Classic takes place Oct. 31, with the Breeders' Cup being hosted by Keeneland Race Course in Lexington for the first time.
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"There are options (to ship)," Baffert said in a Santa Anita news release. "The 27th is the last (date), and there's the 25th, so it could be the 27th, the 25th — I'm watching the weather."
Either way, it looks like American Pharoah will travel from Santa Anita to Keeneland, without a previously considered stint to train at Churchill Downs in between.
"He'll have a couple more breezes here before he goes (to Kentucky)," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "He'll breeze two more times here. I change from day to day, but he'll breeze here next week."
American Pharoah worked 5 furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Friday in 1:01.20.
Jockey Martin Garcia, American Pharoah's regular work rider, told Baffert from the track that the horse went "real good."
"I got him in like :49 (for 4 furlongs) and 1:01," said Baffert, who sent the colt out after the 6:30 a.m. break when temperatures were in the low 70s, but expected to reach triple digits by afternoon. "I didn't want to do a lot with him."
After claiming horse racing's first Triple Crown in 37 years on June 6 at Belmont Park, American Pharoah coasted to victory in the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park, then finished second to Keen Ice in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 29 at Saratoga. He has been at Santa Anita ever since, preparing for the Breeders' Cup.
Beholder tuning up for showdown
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder, considered a prime challenger to American Pharoah in the Breeders' Cup Classic, breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 at Santa Anita on Friday.
"We weren't looking to do too much today," trainer Richard Mandella said in a Santa Anita news release. "She just cruised, got a little eye-opener. She couldn't have looked more comfortable.
Mandella said Beholder would breeze once more at Santa Anita before being shipped to Keeneland on Oct. 19.
"She doesn't need much," he said. "She'll get a nice work at Keeneland."