11 May 2015, Baltimore, Maryland ~ Five-time Preakness-winning trainer Bob Baffert was back at Churchill Downs Monday morning to get his first live look in a week at Zayat Stables’ Kentucky Derby (G1) winner American Pharoah and Kaleem Shah’s third-place finisher Dortmund.
“I was happy with both of them. It looks like they have kept the same energy level (as before the Kentucky Derby),” Baffert said after the colts galloped 1 ½ miles following the morning track renovation break. “American Pharoah floated over the ground and picked up his gallop the last half-mile. He wanted to do more. Dortmund got aggressive with (exercise rider) Dana (Barnes) and galloped well.”
Baffert, who had returned to his Southern California base the day after the Derby, has traditionally kept his Preakness starters at Churchill Downs until the middle of Preakness Week, a pattern he is following again this year with a Wednesday ship date to Baltimore.
“Coming out of a big race like the Derby, you don’t have to do too much. It is just a matter of keeping them at the same level,” Baffert said. “The good horses are easier to train. These two are used to running a lot and coming back in two weeks is not a big concern with them.”
American Pharoah was partnered Monday morning as usual by Jorge Alvarez.
Both colts are scheduled to gallop Tuesday morning and will train Wednesday before loading for the short van ride to Louisville International Airport and a Tex Sutton charter to Baltimore, one of two such flights scheduled that day.
American Pharoah is set to join his half-brother, Xixixi, on the Pimlico Race Course backstretch Wednesday. The 4-year-old son of Maimonides was claimed from Zayat Stables for $5,000 by trainer Charlie DeMario at Pimlico on April 3.
The Kentucky Derby winner and Xixixi are out of Littleprincessemma.
“My owner actually recognized the mare, where most people didn’t,” said DeMario, who trains Xixixi for Kirk Sheehan. “I thought for sure we would have to shake for him. I asked everyone else if they knew who he was and they said, ‘No.’ Nobody knew who he was.”
DeMario admits that there are few similarities between American Pharoah and his recent claim.
“Ours stops; American Pharoah keeps on going,” he said.
After being claimed out of a second-place finish, Xixixi has finished off the board in allowance and starter-allowance company in his first two starts for his new connections.
DeMario said he expects Xixixi will take to grass racing after winning two of his 15 starts on dirt.
“I think he likes the grass. We just have to find the right distance,” he said.
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