The $300,000 American Pharoah S. (G1) will be run Saturday as race 8 at Santa Anita. The 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds will be run on the main track and is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series where the nominated winner will gain an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

Top Picks for the American Pharoah

  • #5 Spielberg
  • #4 Notable Exception
  • #8 Waspirant
  • #7 Westron

Betting the American Pharoah

  • $40 exacta: 5-4
  • $10 exacta: 5-8

American Pharoah Contenders

#1 Touchdown Brown looked great breaking his maiden by more than five lengths in his well-bet career debut then he came back and lost all chance when roughed up at the start. He tried blinkers last out and was a good third and now stretches out to two turns while trying open company for the first time. Juan Hernandez wins 28% with his route mounts.  

#2 Rombauer rallied from off the pace to win going away in a two-turn mile on the turf at Del Mar then he was only beaten two lengths there against stakes foes in a very rough trip. Son of Twirling Candy tries dirt for the first time for Mike McCarthy, who wins 24% with this surface switch — the last 50 of them show a flat-bet profit.

#3 Dyn O Mite is still a maiden after four tries, but he was a good second going two turns on the turf two starts back. That race was strong enough for Keith Desormeaux to try him in stakes company and he was an even fifth going 7 furlongs in the Del Mar Futurity (G1). Sire Goldencents did great on the dirt at middle distances so he has the right pedigree to try this.

#4 Notable Exception broke his maiden by more than five lengths as the 7-5 favorite on the synthetic track at Arlington Park. Owner Calumet Farm is noted for running in stakes races whether or not the horses fit, but this one ships in with a beautiful dirt pedigree to go long and trainer Jack Sisterson is 27% stretching out for the first time. Son of Street Sense is out of a dam by Bernardini that has produced two stakes winners.  

#5 Spielberg was a distant second in his career debut as the 4-5 favorite going 6 furlongs at Del Mar then he came back in the Del Mar Futurity and was second again to the same horse who, luckily, is not entered today. Son of Union Rags cost $1 million as a yearling and reminds me of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Good Magic. Luis Saez is in for the ride and appears to be sitting on a huge day with Bob Baffert.

#6 Get Her Number broke his maiden going 5 furlongs on the turf first time out then was only beaten a length against stakes foes going two turns. He tries dirt for the first time and his sire, Dialed In, is more suited for it than turf anyway. I like how the colt has good pace and looks fit enough to handle the switch for Peter Miller, who wins 21% in this spot.    

#7 Weston broke his maiden first time out going 4 1/2 furlongs on the dirt here then came back and won the Best Pal S. (G2) going six furlongs at Del Mar. He weakened last out after pressing the pace in between horses and tries two turns 19 days later. Drayden Van Dyke will have to use him going into the first time and then try to settle him down.

#8 Waspirant was badly outrun in his career debut in a key race at Del Mar then he came back there and broke his maiden going a two-turn mile in sluggish time. After showing talent already, the ever-patient John Shirreffs adds blinkers for the first time. By the long-winded Union Rags, he is out of Life is Sweet, who won two Grade 1 stakes including the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) and is a full-sister to Sweet Catomine, who won the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Oak Leaf S. (G2).