American Pharoah: The Travers, The Decision, and a Thank You

September 06, 2015 08:36am
Keen Ice beats American Pharoah in 2015 Travers.
Photo: Courtney Heeney/NYRA

By now, I think all American Pharaoh fans have come down from off the ledge. He lost the Travers, but he lost nothing in defeat, especially after comprehensive analysis of this race, which has been written about here on this site. We know about the fractions, the historic Travers mile time, and the fact that all of this took place while being pinned on a dead rail, which also did in even the great Secretariat back in the ’73 Whitney. What is forgotten, though, is that I believe this race was very similar to his Kentucky Derby, as far as what he will get out of the race.

Going into the Derby he had two easy wins without any type of challenge, and finally in the Derby he was challenged and got a lot out of the race fitness-wise to move him forward. Going in to the Travers he had a race one month before, but let’s face it folks, it was a paid workout. Bottom line to me is that he came in to the Travers a short horse with having only the Haskell in the last 84 days.

Moving forward, I expect American Pharoah to thrive, and would love to see a prep for this guy before the Breeders’ Cup Classic. A few years from now, when all is said and done, we may look back at this Travers as being one of his very best races. I expect this class of three-year-olds to distinguish themselves in the months and years to come, and barring injury, I expect Frosted and Keen Ice will go on to have stellar careers.


To Ahmed Zayet and the American Pharoah team: I think I speak on behalf of racing fans worldwide, when I thank you for taking the time you needed to evaluate your horse, and the race that took place. I believe you will be rewarded by your decision to keep American Pharoah in training, as he is poised to complete perhaps the greatest three-year-old season of all time by going out in an unprecedented blaze of glory at Keenland in one of the most anticipated thoroughbred races in history. Let the countdown begin to the "Grand Slam".


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Chip Gehrke has been with Horse Racing Nation since 2015 and currently serves as a Featured Writer. Based outside of Chicago, Chip can be found in the press box many weekends during the Arlington Park meet. The On The Air With Dr. Derby name originates from his local sports radio show appearances as an on-air racing expert. Now also a weekly contributor on FOX Sports radio's "The Fast Track," Chip can be heard giving his thoughts on the racing world every weekend.

In 2017, Chip was chosen to be a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. As a part of the NTWAB, Chip became a voter for the year-end Eclipse Awards, something he takes very seriously. Some of Chip's favorite writings from the last couple of years is the best way to get to know him, along with following him on Twitter at @doctorderby.

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