American Pharoah returns to races with rousing victory in Haskell Stakes
American Pharoah returned to the races Sunday with a brilliant victory in the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
The Triple Crown winner broke cleanly and settled in second behind Competitive Edge with Mike Smith up.
The opening quarter was :23 1/5 seconds with Victor Espinoza comfortably on American Pharoah in second, three-quarters of a length back.
American Pharoah roared to the lead at the top of the stretch and he cruised to victory, winning by open lengths in a rousing return. The final margin was an eased-up 2 1/4 lengths.
"This horse is like a gift from God," trainer Bob Baffert said after winning his eighth Haskell as American Pharoah won his eighth straight.
"Like the Triple Crown winner, he ran," Espinoza said after the romp.
The distance for the race was 1 1/8 miles.
American Pharoah was the 1-9 favorite in the field of seven at the track by the Jersey Shore. Monmouth Park boosted the purse of the Haskell to $1,750,000, an increase of three-quarters of a million dollars to have American Pharoah run in its top stake
It was his first race since ending a 37-year drought for Thoroughbred racing when the son of Pioneer of the Nile captured the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown with front-running ease on June 6.
Of the other 11 Triple Crown champs, eight had won their returns to the races.
What is next for American Pharoah?
That may not be enough to get the Triple Crown winner to the historic track.
Monmouth Park is considering creating a race with a $1 million purse in September to bring American Pharoah back to Oceanport, N.J.
Additonally, Parx outside Philadelphia plays host to the Pennsylvania Derby in Sept. 19.
Of course, there is the possibility of a race in California, where Baffert trained American Pharoah on the road to glory.
The champion... Flawless! Thank you for what you've given our sport #AmericanPharoah— Britney Eurton (@BritneyEurton) August 2, 2015
Governor Christie could of ridden #AmericanPharoah today.— Paul Lo Duca (@paulloduca16) August 2, 2015
TRIPLE CROWN WINNER AMERICAN PHAROAH WINS THE HASKELL INVITATIONAL!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/WQFRYgcgPJ— HRTV (@HRTVNetwork) August 2, 2015