American Pharoah caught in LA traffic en route to Santa Anita

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is walked by trainer Bob Baffert as the colt arrives at Santa Anita Park.

AP

There was no stopping American Pharoah in the Triple Crown series. In fact, it seemed as if nothing would slow down the 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile.

On Thursday, however, the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years found his match: Los Angeles-area traffic. Once again, the freeways won.

The bay colt had been based at Baffert’s Barn 33 on the Churchill Downs backside since mid-April before starting his historic quest toward becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner. A small group of fans and media said goodbye to American Pharoah as he boarded a transport van around 7:25 a.m. ET Thursday for a flight back to Los Angeles. From Ontario Airport east of LA, he was transported by trailer to Bob Baffert’s barn at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

Everything went smoothly in the air. The same can’t be said of his road trek, despite a police escort.

Things got better at Santa Anita, however. American Pharoah was greeted by a crowd of well-wishers, including Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts. The colt settled in comfortably.

Baffert says it’s great to have American Pharoah home after he became the first horse since 1978 to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes.

American Pharoah will make a public appearance at the track on June 27 when he will be paraded.

Baffert hasn’t specified when or where American Pharoah’s next race will be, but hopes to bring him back to Kentucky for this fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. The 3-year-old has won seven of eight career starts. 

Roberts was a guest of Baffert and his wife Jill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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