LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, May 28, 2015) - Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI) winner American Pharoah returned to the Churchill Downs racetrack Thursday morning for a once-around clockwise jog around the one-mile oval. The 3-year-old, preparing for a sweep of the Triple Crown in the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (GI) on June 6, walked around Barn 33 on Wednesday after breezing a half-mile in :48 the day before.
"He felt great, no different," said exercise rider Jorge Alvarez. "He's a running machine; all he wants to do is run. When we go to a different track, nothing changes. He doesn't have to take his racetrack with him. He'll run on anything."
Jimmy Barnes, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, also was pleased with how Zayat Stables' homebred 3-year-old jogged during Churchill Downs' special 8:30-8:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) training session exclusive to Belmont Stakes contenders.
"From what we saw I thought he looked very good," said Barnes, who rode Baffert's pony Smokey alongside American Pharoah during the exercise. "He jogged almost every step of the way and felt strong. He looked super good. I've been asked just about every question so far except for the big one: 'Can he do it?' and I think that he can."
Barnes said American Pharoah is scheduled to resume galloping Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Baffert, who was in town for Tuesday's workout, is scheduled to return to Louisville from his Southern California base on Saturday night. Baffert said Tuesday that American Pharoah could work Sunday or Monday. Barnes speculated on Thursday that Sunday at 8:30 a.m. is the more likely of the two options.
In other local Belmont Stakes news, Conquest Stables' Conquest Curlinate has been withdrawn from Belmont Stakes consideration. Norman Casse, assistant to his father Mark, said that the horse did not have high energy on Thursday morning and simply wasn't training in his normal manner.
"It isn't a soundness issue," Norman Casse said. "He just wasn't training the way that we wanted him."
The Ontario-bred son of Curlin instead will be pointed to the $1 million Queen's Plate on July 5, a race that his stable mate Danzig Moon, fifth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), also is targeting.
Donegal Racing's Keen Ice, who breezed six furlongs in 1:13.60 on Wednesday, walked around the shed row of trainer Dale Romans' barn on Thursday.
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).
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