October 3, 2015 / 10:15 PM / in 2 years

American Pharoah 'just cruising' in final workout

(Reuters) - Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was “just cruising”, said trainer Bob Baffert, as the 3-year-old completed his final Santa Anita workout on Saturday before he ends his stellar career at this month’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Jun 4, 2015; Elmont, NY, USA; American Pharaoh ridden by exercise rider Jorge Alvarez gallops the front stretch during a morning workout in preparation for the 2015 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With Martin Garcia on board, American Pharoah breezed through five furlongs in 59.80 on the iconic race track in Arcadia, California, in a workout brought forward by 24 hours because of rain forecast for Sunday.

”He looked good,“ Hall of Fame trainer Baffert, 62, told a group of reporters. ”I’ve never seen him look bad working.

”He went around there like he always does, just cruising. He did it the right way. He did it without any effort. He’s right on schedule.

“I was going to work him tomorrow, but we just moved it up a day because of the weather.”

Santa Anita-based American Pharoah is preparing for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, on Oct. 31, though Baffert was not yet certain when the horse would be shipped there.

”I don’t have a ship date right now,“ he said. ”I was going to maybe ship him Monday, but we postponed that. We“re going to wait.”

Asked whether American Pharoah would be sent directly to Keeneland or Churchill Downs, Baffert replied: “We don’t know yet.”

American Pharoah entered the pantheon of U.S. thoroughbred racing’s all-time greats by winning the Belmont Stakes wire-to-wire in June to become the first horse to capture the coveted ‘Triple Crown’ in nearly four decades.

In winning a seventh straight race, American Pharoah became the 12th horse and first since Affirmed in 1978 to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

After making his farewell racing performance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the muscular son of 2009 Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile will then retire to stud.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Both

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