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Triple Crown winner American Pharoah gallops at Saratoga

If you blinked, you might have missed it. American Pharoah was on the Saratoga Race Course main track for all of five minutes for an easy gallop Aug. 27. It was the Triple Crown winner's first time on the track, following his arrival one day earlier.

Under regular exercise rider Georgie Alvarez, the Pioneerof the Nile   colt stepped onto the track at approximately 6:40 a.m. ET to get a look at the track where on Aug. 29 he will mount a bid in the Travers Stakes (gr. I). His one-mile gallop commenced at the half-mile pole.

Zayat Stables' homebred runner moved fluidly and efficiently throughout the gallop. When done, Alvarez turned the colt around at the 5 1/2-furlong pole and jogged back to Smokey, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's stable pony, who was ridden by Baffert's assistant, Jimmy Barnes.

Alvarez said American Pharoah was his usual self.

"You always want to make sure they handle the track (their first time on it)," Alvarez said. "That's what you're looking for from a horse. So far, he's been to (numerous) tracks, and this one is no different—he handled it really, really good."

Barnes said that he toyed with the idea of jogging American Pharoah, which is the colt's typical routine  the day after he ships. But when American Pharoah threw some bucks shortly after arriving at Saratoga, Barnes had a change of heart.

"From what I saw yesterday afternoon, it looked like we needed to gallop," Barnes said. "He was too happy, too fresh."

Barnes, like Alvarez, was happy with the gallop.

"Very high energy; just what you want to see shipping in for a race," the assistant trainer said.

"He pretty much floats over any track we take him to. (What's) amazing is how quick he gets back around to you. I will turn him loose, and it just seems that it's a minute or two, and he is already back around again."

About 40 members of the media lined the fence of the backstretch to watch the gallop, which took place on a chilly and cloudy morning. Several horsemen also were on hand to see American Pharoah, among them trainer Steve Klesaris, who said, "He looks well for a horse who went through the Triple Crown."

American Pharoah is coming off an easy win in the Aug. 2 William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and will face a field of nine other 3-year-olds in the 1 1/4-mile Travers. He is the 1-5 favorite on the morning line.

After the Triple Crown winner's gallop, the media flocked to Barn 25 to watch "The Pharoah," as Barnes referred to him on the day of his arrival, receive a bath. Photographers jockeyed for position behind the barriers set up by New York Racing Association security personal to keep people from getting too close to the colt. Later in the morning, American Pharoah schooled in the paddock along with fellow Travers contender Texas Red, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner who is coming off a victory in the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy (gr. II).

Barnes said he sent a text to Baffert that read: "Super good. Very happy. Went over track really well."

Baffert will be hand for American Pharoah's gallop on Aug. 28, which will take place during a special training session designated for Travers entrants, from 8:45 to 9:00 a.m. ET. Fans can enter the grandstand and clubhouse for free to watch the training session.

(Source: The Bloodhorse)

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