Owner: Plans in works for American Pharoah's next start

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

NEW YORK -- The owner of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah says plans are underway for his champion to race again this year.

Which race the horse will compete in next is still up in the air.

Ahmed Zayat said Sunday morning that he wants the fans "to still enjoy something," and he's leaving it up to trainer Bob Baffert to map out a schedule.

Zayat pledged to keep racing's newest superstar in training, at least through the end of the year. Before the Belmont, Zayat sold breeding rights to American Pharoah for an undisclosed amount to Coolmore Ashford Stud near Versailles, Kentucky.

"They have zero say until he retires,'' Zayat said. "We owe it to the sport to do the right thing. Money plays an important factor in this game. I've already sold the breeding rights, but it is my genuine desire, as a fan, as someone who loves horses, to race him as long as I possibly can.''

Among the races under consideration are the Jim Dandy at Saratoga in upstate New York on Aug. 1; the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in New Jersey on Aug. 2; the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 22; and the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 29.

The Haskell might have an edge because Baffert has won it a record seven times and Zayat lives in Teaneck, New Jersey.

"He's an athlete. We have to keep him moving,'' Baffert said. "He's so happy when he's on that track.''

The ultimate goal would be the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, to be run Oct. 31 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, the cradle of American racing and breeding and near where American Pharoah will serve stud duty.

Baffert vowed to have American Pharoah properly prepared for his next race, saying, "He'll tell me.''

Should anything happen to the colt in future races, Zayat is covered by an insurance policy for which the rates are "incredibly high,'' Baffert said recently.

Zayat, who has invested tens of millions of dollars into his breeding, buying and racing operation, believes it's not always about money when you're passionate about something.

"We are not thinking here of value or money,'' he said. "When the horse is ready, we will not be scared of running him to lose or not. It's all about the fans and this belongs to history.''

American Pharoah led all the way to win the Belmont Stakes by 5 lengths Saturday, becoming the first horse in 37 years to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes -- one of the sporting world's rarest feats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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