Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, a smashing 2 ¼-length winner of the August 2 Haskell Invitational (G1) in his last start, received post 2 at Tuesday evening’s draw for Saturday’s $1.6 million Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
“The horse is doing well, that’s more important than the post he drew,” trainer Bob Baffert said before adding, “He still has to break.”
The break is the only concern considering American Pharoah possesses the early speed to establish a favorable forward position in a 10-horse field lacking pace.
A winner of eight straight stakes races, American Pharoah was installed as the 1-5 favorite on the morning line for the 146th running of the Mid-Summer Derby. Regular rider Victor Espinoza will be up on the son of Pioneerof the Nile in the 1 ¼-mile Travers.
A Zayat Stables homebred colt, American Pharoah has earned $5,630,300 during his remarkable career.
Frosted (post 6) and Texas Red (post 4) are the most viable upset contenders should American Pharoah falter.
Grade 1 winner Frosted, runner-up in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2) in his last two outings, is listed as the 6-1 second choice. Joel Rosario rides the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee.
Jim Dandy hero Texas Red, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) victor, comes next at 8-1. Kent Desormeaux rides for his brother, trainer Keith Desormeaux.
The rest of the Travers field, with posts and morning line odds, consists of Upstart (post 1, 15-1); Mid Ocean (post 3, 50-1); Frammento (post 5, 30-1); Keen Ice (post 7, 12-1); Tale of Verve (post 8, 30-1); King of New York (post 9, 50-1); and Smart Transition (post 10, 20-1).
American Pharoah winning the Haskell courtesy of Bill Denver/Equi-Photo