DEL MAR, Calif. — Trainer Bob Baffert says American Pharoah is "right on course" for his first race since winning the Triple Crown after a longer-than-expected run in California.
Baffert also says he thinks the 3-year-old colt is "getting faster" after working 6 furlongs in 1:11.00 at Del Mar on Thursday. American Pharoah is set to return to racing Aug. 2 in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
American Pharoah was expected to go 5 furlongs, but Del Mar clockers gave him the time for 6 because he was still going strong under workout jockey Martin Garcia. The time came five days after American Pharoah worked 6 furlongs in 1:11.40.
"I think he's getting faster," Baffert said. "He gives me goosebumps."
Thursday's interim splits were :12.40, :24.00, :36.20 and :58.80.
American Pharoah galloped out to 7 furlongs in 1:24.00 and a mile in 1:38.40.
It came as a surprise to some that the first Triple Crown champion in 37 years would be given such a short break between serious workouts in preparation for a start in the Haskell. But it was a case of Baffert knowing the horse and going on his Hall of Fame instincts.
"I'm going with a five-day schedule with him now," Baffert said. "I've done that with other horses before. First time with a Triple Crown winner, though.
"We'll work him a half (mile) before we leave. An easy half; next Tuesday. He needed to get back to the track. That last one (work), he came out of it blowing a bit. Not today, though. He looked like he did it easy.
"If I wait too long with him, he starts to get antsy. He'll work too fast when I put him back out there. I waited 14 days after Arkansas (Derby) and he went real quick. He needs to get out there."
"The track here is a little demanding. But he just doesn't make it look that way."
"He's right on course (for the Haskell). No excuses. He'll be ready to go there."
Head clocker John Malone was duly impressed.
"He looked good; as good as always," Malone said. "Some folks are saying they think he has lost weight. I don't think so. He looks like he's still growing."