American Pharoah's final workout for the William Hill Haskell Invitational appeared intentionally easy Tuesday at Del Mar, with the Triple Crown champion recording a 0:48 4/5 seconds breeze underneath overcast skies.
With owner Ahmed Zayat in attendance, American Pharoah was escorted out by assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes aboard his pony, Sunny, and ran furlong fractions in 0:12 3/5 seconds, 0:25 1/5 seconds, and 0:37 flat. The Pioneerof the Nile colt galloped out to five furlongs in 1:01 flat and six in 1:14 2/5 under regular workout rider Martin Garcia.
"I can't be next to you," Zayat told trainer Bob Baffert before the drill. "Makes me too nervous."
The colt earned a spattering of applause from the few hundred in attendance on a dark racing day at Del Mar, which former California Horse Racing Board member David Israel declared was "more than opening day at Hollywood Park."
"It's more about keeping him happy," Baffert said of American Pharoah's third timed workout at Del Mar in 10 days. "He'll be ready for anything that gets thrown at him."
According to the trainer, American Pharoah has been easy to manage post-Triple Crown, which helps but doesn't entirely quell his connections' nerves.
"Pharoah is easy to manage. These other ones are hard, just getting 2-year-olds going," Baffert said. "We work Pharoah, and we won't even discuss him the rest of the day."
The colt will begin his journey to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, with his flight arriving at New Jersey's Atlantic City International Airport at 2 p.m. ET. After the Haskell on Sunday, Baffert said American Pharoah will head back to Del Mar either Monday or Tuesday, but the conditioner would not comment on further racing plans.
"We'll assess him after [the Haskell], but right now we're not talking about that," Baffert said. "We're going to do one race at a time and hone in on that one."