American Pharoah Headed to Breeder’s Cup

George Alvarez, American Pharoah
The Associated Press

Celebrated Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah will continue racing this year, at least until the Breeder’s Cup, the horse’s owner announced on Thursday.

In the aftermath of Pharoah’s relatively lackluster second-place finish at the recent Travers Stakes, owner and breeder Ahmed Zayat announced this week that he wanted to give the champ another chance to go into retirement on a high note.

After, Travers Zayat had said he was “60-40” on whether to retire the horse immediately. But he has since changed his mind and will go on to the Breeder’s.

“I have discussed all aspects of American Pharoah’s race last Saturday in the Travers–and his condition since the race–with our whole team, and have decided American Pharoah deserves another chance, so we are pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” Zayat said in a public statement.

Zayat said he was confident of the decision and gave it a lot of thought.

“My initial concern right after the race was about American Pharoah’s condition, because he did not run his ‘A’ race,” Zayat said on Thursday. “He has come out of the race in great shape. And after examining all the evidence and talking it over with our team…. I believe there were a combination of factors that prevented American Pharoah from running his absolute best on Saturday. I have every confidence that he can run to his best again, and he deserves the chance to do so.”

American Pharoah was the toast of racing when he won the Kentucky Derby by a length on May 2, then galloped to a seven-length win at the Preakness on May 16, and finally gained a 5-1/2 length lead to take the Belmont Stakes on June 6. With that record, American Pharoah became one of thoroughbred racing’s all-time greats and the first horse to earn the coveted Triple Crown in almost forty years.

The horse will go to stud at Ashford Stud in Kentucky once he finally ends his racing career.

“I am very confident that this is the right decision for American Pharoah,” Zayat concluded. “He loves to race. He has provided my family, racing fans, and general sports fans with great thrills this year. He won the Triple Crown earlier this year, and he deserves the chance to be in the sport’s premier year-end event.”

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