American Pharoah turned on the speed in the stretch and easily won the $US1.75 million ($A2.39 million) Haskell Invitational on Sunday in his first race since sweeping the Triple Crown.
With a record crowd of 60,983 cheering him at Monmouth Park, American Pharoah came out of the final turn with a clear lead and cruised to a 2-1/4 length victory without urging from jockey Victor Espinoza.
American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, and first in 37 years.
After a 57-day break after the Belmont, the three-year-old colt looked better than ever in winning his eighth consecutive race.
Sent off at odds of 1-10, American Pharoah became the shortest price in Haskell history.
Keen Ice rallied for second followed by Upstart.
American Pharoah’s next start is now the biggest question in racing. There’s no answer yet, but options include the Travers at Saratoga on August 29, the Pennsylvania Derby on September 19 and the Awesome Again at Santa Anita on September 26.
“No clue,” American Pharoah owner Ahmed Zayat said when asked about his colt’s next race. “We’re going to enjoy this moment.”
If all goes according to plan, American Pharoah will run his final race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky on October 31. And then, he’s headed down the road to the breeding shed at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud.
American Pharoah broke well from gate four but it was Competitive Edge who took the early lead.
Espinoza kept his horse in second until midway on the far turn. And then, with one overpowering surge he seized control and was alone in the stretch as the crowd roared.
“He ran like a champ,” Espinoza said.
The final margin was deceptive since Espinoza never asked American Pharoah to run any harder than necessary.
“The horse, he just keeps bringing it,” Bob Baffert said after his eighth win in the Haskell, five more than any other trainer.
Of the 12 Crown winners, eight have now won in their first race after the Belmont. One, Count Fleet, was retired after the 1943 Belmont with an injury.
American Pharoah opened his career with a loss, but has won eight in a row since – seven of them Grade One races.
Article from justhorseracing.com.au