The smooth ride for American Pharoah through his scintillating 3-year-old campaign hit its first bump on Saturday in the Travers at Saratoga.
And, after the Triple Crown winner’s second-place finish to Keen Ice, questions arose. Would American Pharoah race again? According to a report by SI.com’s Tim Layden, jockey Victor Espinoza said Jose Lezcano, riding Frosted, was "was trying to hurt American Pharoah."
Frosted was only ridden by Lezcano because Joel Rosario was injured in a spill two races earlier.
Lezcano had Frosted at American Pharoah’s side through much of the race. Espinoza told SI.com that he believed Lezcano didn’t have his mind on winning.
Lezcano denied the accusation: "That never happened," he said. "His horse was coming out."
Espinoza also told SI.com that American Pharoah began sweating profusely at the starting gate, something he had not seen before in riding him to eight consecutive victories.
"Just when I turned him around to take him back to the gate, he started to sweat," Espinoza said. "Then it got really bad. I had to wipe the sweat of his mane with my whip. He’s never been like that before."