The Triple Crown is the ultimate prize in horse racing. But it is far from the end of a career for a race horse. So when another season of racing starts Thursday at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, American Pharoah will be there.
He won't be racing yet, mind you, but the biggest thing on hooves is going to stay in Del Mar for a while. Trainer Bob Baffert is brought American Pharoah to our town Tuesday. Baffert had worked the horse out a few times at Santa Anita.
The next time the now-legendary horse will race is Aug. 2 in the $1 million Haskell Invitational in New Jersey. But his owner and breeder, Ahmed Zayat, has not ruled out more races after that. In fact, he seems ready to let American Pharoah run for a while longer.
"With this horse," Zayat told the Washington Post after winning the Belmont Stakes in June, "we owe it to the sport to continue properly and as often as we possibly can. It is my genuine desire to race him as long as I possibly could, at least, at least - until his finishes (as a) 3-year-old."
That opens the possibility that American Pharoah will, indeed, race at Del Mar again. Remember, he got his first win on this track last year in the Del Mar Futurity, so there are fond memories here. Plus, the $1 million Pacific Classic is held on Aug. 22. That leaves a nice break between races for the prized horse.
Jockey Victor Espinoza, a regular at Del Mar, will be racing as usual this season north of San Diego. But when American Pharoah is on the track Espinoza will be with him again.
NBC 7's Todd Strain asked Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President Joe Harper about whether or not we'll see American Pharoah, and plenty of other topics, in this 2015 Del Mar Racing Season primer.