American Pharoah the favorite in 10
(AP) Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is the overwhelming 1 5 favorite in a 10 horse field for Saturday’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
American Pharoah will start from the No. 2 gate in an attempt to become only the second Triple Crown winner to go on to win the prestigious Travers. Whirlaway won the 1941 Travers after sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Frosted ran fourth in the Derby, second in the Belmont and second in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Aug. 1. Texas Red won the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Jim Dandy.
American Pharoah, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, has won eight straight races after a career opening loss and has earned more than $5.6 million. The 3 year old son of Pioneerof the Nile will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, competing in the Travers for the first time.
“We’re looking forward to watching him run,” Baffert said.Cheap Jerseys china “We’re excited. It’s a good field. It’s pretty solid. It would be more like running in the Kentucky Derby. I feel like it will be the same kind of excitement with the people and the horses and everything.”
The field from the rail out is Upstart (15 1), American Pharoah (1 5), Mid Ocean (50 1), Texas Red (8 1), Frammento (30), Frosted (6 1), Keen Ice (12 1), Tale of Verve (30 1), King of New York (50 1) and Smart Transition (20 1).
“Everything has to go smooth for him,” Baffert said. “We don’t take anything for granted. We’re coming in there ready.”
If American Pharoah starts, the purse increases by $350,000 to $1.6 million, with the winner’s share $850,000.
American Pharoah, owned by Ahmed Zayat, would become the fourth of the 12 Triple Crown winners to run in the Travers. In 1930, Jim Dandy upset Gallant Fox at odds of 100 1, Whirlaway won in ’41 and Affirmed finished first in 1978 but was disqualified to second with rival Alydar declared the winner.
John Shirreffs, who trained the great Zenyatta, will send out Smart Transition with John Velazquez aboard to try and pull an upset.
“All I can say is, ‘Jim Dandy.’ Gallant Fox, right?” he said. “He came here as a Triple Crown winner and there was a horse named Jim Dandy that beat him. You know what? I think it’s more than that. It’s going to be a great day for Saratoga.”
American Pharoah returned to the races earlier this month, easily winning the Haskell Invitational in New Jersey on Aug. 1. American Pharoah has already defeated six of his Travers rivals, including Keen Ice three times.
A sellout crowd of 50,000 will jam the Spa to get a look at the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. For those counting, it has been 74 years since Whirlaway’s Travers win.
“I feel like I’m bringing the Beatles to town,” Baffert said earlier Tuesday on a national conference call. Baffert is scheduled to arrive in Saratoga on Thursday.
American Pharoah had his final tuneup for the Travers on Sunday, working seven furlongs in 1:23.20 at his home base at Del Mar.
“Saratoga here we come!” Zayat said following the workout.
It’s still unclear if another race is in the works before American Pharoah’s finale in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. After that race, he will be retired to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud.