American Pharoah is 6-5 favorite for Breeders’ Cup Classic

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Triple Crown champion American Pharoah was made the early 6-5 favorite Monday in a field of 10 for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the last race of his career.

The colt will break from the No. 4 post on Saturday at Keeneland. He is 6 for 7 this year, and is coming off a loss in the Travers two months ago.

Beholder drew the far outside post and is the 3-1 second choice for the 1 1/4-mile race against male horses. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari pulled the numbered pills that decided the positions at the draw.

Beholder and American Pharoah are both based at Santa Anita, where her trainer Richard Mandella was tempted to get a jump on the highly anticipated showdown.

“I wanted to say to Bob, `Let’s just spin them once around and see what happens,”‘ he said.

Tonalist, the 2014 Belmont Stakes winner, and Honor Code are the co-third choices at 6-1. Tonalist, who ended California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid last year, drew the No. 1 post, while Honor Code is in the No. 9 position.

American Pharoah is scheduled to arrive in Kentucky on Tuesday from Santa Anita, along with his trainer Bob Baffert.

“I’m happy with the post,” Baffert said by phone. “The most important thing is the horse is doing really well.”

American Pharoah was timed in 46.20 seconds for a half-mile workout Monday.

“He wanted to do more,” Baffert said. “He looks great. We’re really getting excited.”

After the Classic, the colt is set to begin a stud career in nearby Versailles.

Already in Lexington is American Pharoah’s jockey, Victor Espinoza.

“I’m confident,” he said. “The last time I saw him work out I was very impressed.”

Travers winner Keen Ice drew the No. 2 post and is 12-1 on the morning line odds. Frosted, third in the Travers, will break from the No. 3 post and is 15-1.

Jerry Crawford, president of Donegal Racing which owns Keen Ice, has already predicted his horse will win.

“We’re very positive and bullish,” he said. “We’ll have a little bit of that 12-1, thank you very much.”

Also in the Classic field are Ireland-bred Gleneagles, Effinex, Smooth Roller and Hard Aces.

Wedding Toast is the slight 4-1 favorite for the $2 million Distaff, one of four Breeders’ Cup races on Friday. She will break from the No. 7 post in the full field of 14 going 1 1/8 miles.

Sheer Drama is the 9-2 second choice. Defending champion Untapable and Stopchargingmaria are the co-third choices at 5-1.

Untapable returns with a different jockey. Rosie Napravnik rode her to victory last year at Santa Anita and then retired. She’s been replaced by John Velazquez, who is 1 for 6 with the 4-year-old filly since then.

Nyquist drew post position 13 in a field of 14 and is listed at 9-2 odds for the $2 million Juvenile. A victory would position the undefeated 2-year-old as the early favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby.

The colt is 4-0 and faces his toughest challenge yet on Saturday with an outside post and the biggest field he’s run against.

Nyquist is ridden by Mario Gutierrez, trained by Doug O’Neill and owned by J. Paul Reddam. The trio teamed with I’ll Have Another to win the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. That colt’s Triple Crown bid derailed when he was retired the day before the Belmont because of an injury.

The Juvenile, to be run Saturday on the second of two days of racing during the 32st Breeders’ Cup, includes two entries each from O’Neill and Keith Desormeaux, who trains Exaggerator and Swipe. O’Neill’s other horse is 12-1 shot Ralis, also owned by Reddam.

The other undefeated colt in the Juvenile is Canada-based 15-1 shot Riker, also 4-0 for trainer Nicholas Gonzalez. Jockey Jesse Campbell will be riding in his second Breeders’ Cup after finishing ninth in last year’s Juvenile. It will be Riker’s first race on dirt; he’s won all his races at Woodbine, which has a synthetic surface similar to the one Keeneland used to have. He drew the No. 2 post.

Desormeaux and his brother-jockey Kent teamed to win last year’s Juvenile Texas Red, but the colt never made the Triple Crown trail because of injury. Kent Desormeaux will ride 6-1 shot Exaggerator for his brother.

Arabian Knight off Kentucky Derby trail; will return later

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arabian Knight is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Wagering has been suspended on the 3-year-old colt for the Derby’s future wager after owner Amr Zedan announced the decision. Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind favorite Forte for the May 6 race.

“Trainer Tim Yakteen wasn’t happy with his last work & we feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush & allow him more time to develop,” Zedan tweeted. “We know he’s a superior talent & our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign.”

Purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last November. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest at Oaklawn in January and won by 5 1/2 lengths.

Arabian Knight had his third workout at Santa Anita.

Tapit Trice wins Tampa Bay Derby, earns Kentucky Derby points

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tapit Trice rallied from last to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite in the field of 12 paid $3 to win. The 3-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, which places him in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher extended his record for most wins in the Grade 3 race to six. He already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.

Classic Car Wash was second and Classic Legacy was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Tapit Trice was making his stakes debut after winning two of three starts.

“Once he got clear down the lane, he really extended himself,” Pletcher said. ”I loved the way he finished up. He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he’ll get.”