LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) American Pharoah looked fresh after his first jog since winning the Kentucky Derby, and trainer Bob Baffert plans to keep his preparations for the Preakness just as light.
The top three Derby finishers all jogged lightly Thursday as dawn broke on a clear morning at Churchill Downs. American Pharoah was on the track with stablemate and third-place Dortmund and runner-up Firing Line.
They appeared in good shape afterward as they await next weekend’s Preakness. American Pharoah and Dortmund are expected to travel to Baltimore on Wednesday and Baffert said that he doesn’t plan timed workouts for his horses.
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”They jogged today and everything went really well,” Baffert said on an NTRA conference call. ”They’ll go to the track and gallop. I’m going to get there Sunday.
”I really doubt if I’m going to breeze them. I don’t think they need any breezing.”
American Pharoah exercise rider Jorge Alvarez took the Derby winner on a clockwise jog. Dana Barnes put Dortmund through a similar outing under the supervision of assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes.
Barnes is overseeing preparations for Baffert while the trainer is in California. He sent Baffert video of the colts Wednesday and had more good news for his boss after Thursday’s jogs.
”Everything seems fine with both horses,” he said. ”It’s just a matter of recharging their batteries. You want to get them happy and put some weight on them.”
American Pharoah fulfilled expectations as the Derby favorite, rallying past Firing Line in the stretch for a one-length victory and fifth straight win overall. Dortmund finished two lengths behind Firing Line.
American Pharoah was given Sunday off and walked the shedrow Monday. On Thursday, the Derby winner and Dortmund both seemed lively.
”They’re pretty much ready to roll,” Baffert said. ”I’m just going to keep them strong, healthy and happy.”
Firing Line also jogged under Humberto Gomez alongside Perfect Drift, the third-place finisher behind War Emblem in the 2002 Derby. The colt trained by Simon Callaghan will gallop Friday.
”He was good this morning, a lot of energy and feeling good,” Gomez said.
But for American Pharoah and Dortmund, Thursday was a time to loosen up. The Derby champion and one of his likely challengers got baths before heading back to their barns for rest and feeding.
”Both are eating well,” Barnes said. ”They didn’t back off their feed, so that’s a good sign.”
AP Racing Writer Richard Rosenblatt contributed to this report.