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It’s been almost two months now since we’ve seen the champion American Pharoah on the track in a competitive race. However, none of us have gotten him off our minds. A parade at both Santa Anita and Churchill Downs plus several workouts shown by TVG and members of the media through Periscope has made sure his crazed fan base could keep track of him. When something happens once every 37 years you would expect nothing less as this horse has captivated even the most casual of racing fans. However, now it’s back to business and the serious racing fans know there is so much more out there for him to accomplish. For the die hard race fans, the Summer/Fall means just as much as the Triple Crown. Can he carry his greatness to the next level?
Answering that question starts this Sunday in the William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. As of now the field looks to be short, and the challengers don’t exactly look all that menacing. However, it is a $1 million dollar, Grade 1 race. American Pharoah can’t control who shows up to these races. Why would you blame any owner or trainer for not showing up to the Haskell when races like the Jim Dandy and West Virginia Derby are also being ran this weekend? All the Triple Crown winner can control is running his race which by all indications shouldn’t be a problem. So perhaps the Haskell could turn into a one horse show this Sunday. Would anyone really have a problem with that? I know the expected massive crowd that will be at Monmouth (including the Dudes) won’t care in the slightest.
With a win this Sunday, things could get a whole lot more serious if his connections decide to run American Pharoah next in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Stable manager Justin Zayat, as well as his father Ahmed Zayat, have both expressed a true desire to run in this race. It would only be fitting that he does. Saratoga is the home of horse racing and the home of legends. Anyone that watched SportsCenter live at Saratoga last week saw the passion the town has for racing. They want American Pharoah in the worst of ways. And if the horse is healthy and doing well they should be rewarded with his visit. However, don’t think that winning the Travers will be an easy task. Every good three-year-old will be pointing for this race, and history will not be on American Pharoah’s side. Only one Triple Crown winner (Whirlaway) has ever went on to win the Travers. Only three horses have ever pulled off the Haskell-Travers double. How many horses have won the Triple Crown, Haskell AND Travers? The answer to that would be ZERO! This would be just another incredible accomplishment.
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