AMERICAN PHAROAH GALLOPS 1 Â½ MILES AT CHURCHILL DOWNS; BAFFERT REPORTS TRIPLE CROWN HOPEFUL WILL BREEZE MONDAY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, May 30, 2015) - With only one week until the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI), Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah stepped up his training on Saturday morning with a 1 Â½-mile gallop on the Churchill Downs main track at 8:30 a.m. ET.
"It was another good day," said Jorge Alvarez, American Pharoah's regular exercise rider. "He was a little more aggressive this morning and wanted to do more, but I just kept doing my thing. I'm feeling more excited than nervous. We just feel that we have the right horse and he's doing well. We're all staying positive."
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's assistant Jimmy Barnes also liked what he saw and maintains a relaxed and positive attitude.
"We're back to our normal training routine and he looked good again," Barnes said. "We feel no nerves; we're just doing our job. We get more anxious the closer to the race, but there's a difference between anxious and nervous."
Bob Baffert is scheduled to fly into Louisville Saturday night from his Southern California base to oversee his string of 12 horses stabled at Churchill the following morning. Baffert confirmed via text Saturday morning that American Pharoah would gallop Sunday and breeze at Churchill Downs on Monday.
In other Belmont Stakes news, Donegal Racing's Keen Ice, seventh in the Kentucky Derby, galloped two miles on the main track with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar up for trainer Dale Romans.
"We're going into the race with no physical excuses," Romans said. "If he's good enough then he'll win. He's fit and he's ready to go the distance."
Keen Ice will likely breeze a half-mile on Tuesday morning before leaving for Belmont.
BELMONT STAKES POSSIBLE FIELD - The possible 10-horse Belmont Stakes lineup (with jockey and trainer): Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner American Pharoah (Victor Espinoza, Bob Baffert); Blue Grass champ and Kentucky Derby 10th Carpe Diem (undecided, Todd Pletcher); Blue Grass fourth and Kentucky Derby 11th Frammento (Mike Smith, Nick Zito); Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby 4th Frosted (Joel Rosario, Kiaran McLaughlin); Louisiana Derby 4th and Kentucky Derby 7th Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux, Dale Romans); Peter Pan winner Madefromlucky (undecided, Todd Pletcher); Florida Derby champ and Kentucky Derby 6th Materiality (undecided, Todd Pletcher); UAE Derby winner and Kentucky Derby 8th Mubtaahij-IRE (Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike de Kock); Preakness runner-up Tale of Verve (Gary Stevens, Dallas Stewart); and recent Belmont Park first-level allowance winner The Truth Or Else (Edgar Prado, Kenny McPeek).