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Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has arrived at Saratoga for the Travers on August 29th

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah has arrived at Saratoga for the Travers on August 29thTriple Crown winner American Pharoah stepped off the van at Saratoga Race Course at precisely 3 p.m. ET Aug. 26 for his next assignment, the $1.6 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) coming up Aug. 29 at the upstate New York oval.

The journey for Zayat Stables' homebred runner began 12 hours earlier in California, when he left his Del Mar barn in the early hours of the morning bound for Ontario International Airport. He was flown to Lexington's Blue Grass Airport before traveling on to Albany International Airport.

On the trip, American Pharoah traveled with his stable pony, Smokey. In Kentucky they were joined for the final leg of their journey by 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Funny Cide, who will be paraded in the Saratoga paddock Aug. 27 and will participate in a fundraiser for Old Friends Equine's Cabin Creek division.

A large gathering of media and racing fans assembled at Barn 25 to welcome American Pharoah. Cameras and cell phones were held aloft by just about everyone in the crowd as the Brookledge horse van rolled up to the barn. A vase of roses, sent by a fan, rested on table outside the barn, which is home to runners conditioned by trainer John Terranova, who will host the horse during his stay.

American Pharoah was led off the van by Jimmy Barnes, trainer Bob Baffert's assistant. During his 15-minute walk to stretch his legs from the trip, the 3-year-old colt threw in a few playful bucks, which suggested that his journey took little, if anything, out of him.

Barnes spoke with the media, which included several local television outlets that followed American Pharoah during his police-escorted journey from Albany International, about 40 minutes south of Saratoga Springs.

"It was actually a very quick trip, 12 hours stall-to-stall," Barnes said. "Traveling with Pharoah, they make it very convenient for us. We're the last one to show up to the plane and the first one off. (American Pharoah) handles shipping very well. He has shipped so many times now, he is a pro.

"We're used to this," added Barnes of the reception American Pharoah received when he arrived. "This is just how it is when you travel with 'The Pharoah.'"

American Pharoah has become quite the cross-country traveler since winning the June 6 Belmont Stakes presented by DraftKings (gr. I). Shortly after the win, he shipped back to California. In late July, he was flown to New Jersey for the William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I), which he won in dominant fashion Aug. 2 before returning to California.

"I think he is an exceptional case as far as being able to handle all the shipping, keeping his weight well, and keep eating," Barnes said. "You go back and forth from the East Coast to the West Coast, they could back off their feed (and) lighten up on you. He pretty much gained weight. (Traveling) hasn't been an issue at all.

"(His laid-back personality) probably makes him a better horse, because he doesn't have any wasted energy," Barnes added. "You put him in the stall and he's not nervous. You lead him to the paddock and he's not nervous. He really never has a nervous moment."

Barnes said he will talk to Baffert regarding American Pharoah's training plans for Aug. 27, and said the horse could have a "light gallop" or a "jog" over the main track. His training plans are firm for Aug. 28, when American Pharoah is expected to gallop before a large crowd of spectators during a training session reserved for Travers entrants, from 8:45 to 9:00 a.m. Admission will be free of charge for fans wishing to see the Triple Crown winner that morning.

(Source: The Bloodhorse)



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