Looking quite regal, Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, stepped off the brightly painted Brook Ledge van onto the Monmouth Park racetrack backstretch grounds shortly after 4 p.m. this afternoon, July 29, without the slightest hesitation. The bay colt, who will run in this Sunday’s Haskell Invitational (gr. I) remained calm, relaxed and professional as his handlers casually walked him near a mix of media and racetrack employees who wanted an up close and personal look at the new Triple Crown winner. A row of police officers stood nearby as onlookers took photographs and videos of the three-year-old by Pioneer of the Nile out of the Yankee Gentleman mare, Littleprincessemma who after having walked for about 20 minutes was given a soapy sponge bath.
The equine superstar seemed to be in excellent form even though he was flown from Ontario, California to Atlantic City National airport with a stop in Lexington, Kentucky in between. In Atlantic City the Triple Crown winner exited the plane to board a large horse van which was emblazoned with the phrase “American Pharoah, 2015 Triple Crown Winner. Welcome to Monmouth Park” on the side. The first horse to win the Triple Crown title in 37 years had a police escort from the airport up through the Garden State Parkway and finally to Monmouth Park where sirens could be heard in the distance just prior to his arrival.
Jim Barnes, the assistant trainer to Bob Baffert, was readily available to answer questions today about the super horse and generously offered his time in this exclusive interview with atombash.com:
How did American Pharoah handle the trip?
Jim Barnes: He handled it like a pro. No issues whatsoever. He travelled well.
Did you have any problems loading him onto the plane?
Jim Barnes: None at all. He loaded fine.
Can you describe what type of personality he has?
Jim Barnes: He is a sweetheart of a horse. There is not a mean bone in his body. He loves people.
What type of treats does he like?
Jim Barnes: He loves carrots — baby peeled carrots to be exact.
What will he do the rest of the evening?
Jim Barnes: After his bath he will probably be walked about another 30 minutes and then we will get him settled into the barn.
Is American Pharoah’s lead pony-friend here to keep him company at Monmouth Park?
Jim Barnes: No, Smokey didn’t come. Smokey isn’t just American Pharoah’s pony, he is a pony for about six other horses, too.
American Pharoah and the other contenders in the Haskell are scheduled to gallop over Monmouth Park’s main track Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Clubhouse will be open to the public, free of charge, from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. so fans can watch.