While many observers have explained that the lack of a really speedy pace rival plays into American Pharoah’s hands, there is a contrarian voice out there: Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Travers (G1) rival Frosted.
“My thought process is that if there’s no pace, he’s (Pharoah) going to set the pace, and he might go faster than if you put pace in there with him,” McLaughlin analyzed.
“He’s down inside, so he’s probably going to commit and go. Hopefully going a mile and a quarter he slows down a little bit and we’ll be gaining. It’s a tough situation. If there was a pacemaker in there, he would just sit second. He seems to be able to do anything. Maybe he goes faster on his own.”
In any event, McLaughlin is pleased with how Frosted is coming into his rematch with the Triple Crown champion, following a fourth behind him in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and a second in the Belmont (G1). The two went their separate ways last time, with American Pharoah landing the Haskell (G1) and Frosted finishing second to Texas Red in the Jim Dandy (G2).
“We’re ready to go,” the horseman said. “He couldn’t be doing any better, so we’ll see how it goes. We haven’t had our luck yet to beat him, so we hope something changes Saturday. We’re sitting on go but I don’t know if we’re good enough.
“We were prepared for the race whether (American Pharoah) was here or not. We were hoping he would go to Parx or somewhere else, but he’s here, so we’ll deal with it. We’re at our best. We just need some racing luck and hope that (Pharoah) isn’t as good as he’s been.
“(Frosted) couldn’t be better. Is that good enough? We’ll find out Saturday at 5:50.”
Photo courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Susie Raisher.