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American Pharoah Has Final Triple Crown Hit-Out
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes hero American Pharoah completed his final training session at Churchill Downs yesterday ahead of his Triple Crown bid in this weekend's Belmont Stakes, reports Blood Horse. The Bob Baffert-trained colt was clocked in 25 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, :36 3/5 for three furlongs, and :48 3/5 for a half-mile. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13, seven furlongs in 1:26, and one mile in 1:39 3/5, according to Churchill officials, and impressed viewers with his powerful and smooth action. The son of Pioneerof The Nile will bid to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978, and the 12th of all time, to win the elusive US Triple Crown when he lines up in the Belmont Stakes in New York on Saturday. "Everything went really well today," Baffert said. "I was worried about the rain a little bit, but the track was in perfect shape. He went around there really nice. (The rain) sort of let up a little bit when he worked." He added: "It went just as we were hoping. He just kept on clicking right along, so I was really happy with that. So far everything's been on right schedule; we haven't had any setbacks, no hiccups, so that's the main thing." Baffert plans to ship American Pharoah to New York June 2. "Now we just play the waiting game," he said. "We'll ship out tomorrow morning and hope everything goes well when we go to the 'Big Apple.' My job is to bring him in there ready to roll. If he runs his race, we all know he's going to be very tough."