After the disappointing loss in the Travers, Zayat had hinted at the “R” word and the possibility that the Travers was indeed his last race. On Thursday, after hours of talks with trainer Bob Baffert and the rest of Team Pharoah this week, the owner decided against retirement because “the champ deserves another chance”.
The $1.6 million Travers ended American Pharoah’s eight-race winning streak and was his first setback since a fifth-place finish in his career debut at Del Mar on August 9, 2014. Keen Ice beat American Pharoah in that race.
“He loves to race”, said Zayat.
Triple Crown victor American Pharoah will point for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic after all.
After leading early in the Travers, American Pharoah began to slip behind. “I have my name on the side and back of my trousers like a lot of riders”. What’s in Pharoah’s future? . This was the kind of grit American Pharoah showed in winning the Kentucky Derby and surely, the crowd expected him to hold on. “I have every confidence that he can run to his best again, and he deserves the chance to do so”, Zayat concluded.
On an unforgettable Saturday afternoon at Saratoga, there was indeed a horse race – perhaps a final race for a grand champion. Possible contenders to face him in the Classic include Whitney winner Honor Code, Pacific Classic winner Beholder, European invader Gleneagles and several horses from the Triple Crown trail including Travers winner Keen Ice.
The morning after American Pharoah raced to glory at Belmont Park, Zayat said he felt a responsibility to racing fans to showcase the hero they had coveted for decades.
According to an interview with the Daily Racing Form, Ahmed Zayat believes the horse deserves the chance to compete in the Breeders Cup, the year-end racing event. “I know I’ve never seen anything like that at Monmouth”. They are telling the world, “I was there … this is what you missed … this is what you can now share…this is witnessing the experience that is American Pharoah without being there”. In experiencing the Amercan Pharoah phenomenon, I have heard the sounds of deafening cheers, while my friend George has heard the nearly eerie “sounds of silence”.