On Sunday, American Pharoah won the Haskell Stakes in an easy fashion. The horse barely broke a sweat and did not appear winded after the race. The case must now be made why American Pharoah should run again against three year olds, as opposed to waiting for older horses and specifically why running in the Travers makes sense.
The most basic of principles in sport is competition. The Travers offers an opportunity for the 2014 Juvenile Breeders Cup champion, Texas Red to have his first opportunity against American Pharoah. Due to injuries these two horses haven’t competed against each other. Texas Red won the Jim Dandy on Saturday and is the only three year old left in America racing at that championship level that American Pharoah hasn’t beaten. To bring this race to Saratoga would be fantastic.
Saratoga offers the tradition of the Travers. The Travers is the oldest continuous run thoroughbred race in America. It is a race that has eluded Bob Baffert over many years. American Pharoah has the stride and speed necessary to cover the track without difficulty and should allow the Zayat silks to be painted on the canoe in the Saratoga infield. To have anyone else’s silks painted there would be unappealing in the year when the triple crown was won for the first time in 37 years.
The Zayats have said that American Pharoah is the people’s horse. How much more can you be of the people than in Saratoga? You are 300 miles from New England, Pennsylvania and all of New York. This would be a home run for the fans who would clamor to see him. This would allow people who never would have the opportunity to see a horse of this magnitude. Victor Espinosa would not need to walk amongst the fans to the paddock; he probably would be thrust overhead as if he were a chariot rider.
Saratoga deserves to have the opportunity to host American Pharoah. The Zayats should run him here. Will they, only they and Bob Baffert know for sure.