Game Winner much the best in American Pharoah Stakes

September 29, 2018 05:49pm

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the 2019 Kentucky Derby added another contender in the Grade 1, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita Park Saturday. Though there were only five starters in the race, it was an easy run for Game Winner, who won by four lengths at 1/5 for trainer Bob Baffert under Joel Rosario.

"I can’t take credit for this horse," the two-time Triple Crown winning trainer said. "The Wests (owners Gary and Mary) and their team found this horse and trusted me with him. Clients put their trust in me. I just want to get there (Breeders' Cup) with a nice healthy horse. This horse tipped us off this summer that he was going to be a good one. He is strong and he still looks a little heavy. It’s exciting to have this horse."

After stalking Rowayton, Game Winner sailed through the stretch and completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.77.

Gunmetal Gray was second for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and rider Flavien Prat at 3-1, and his stablemate 
Rowayton ran third after setting the pace, under jockey Florent Geroux at 5-1.

For Gunmetal Gray, "Being around two turns is an advantage..." said Hollendorfer before the race, "this is the day before Christmas."

Later he added, "
No excuse for running second. I don’t know yet whether we’ll go to Churchill Downs for the Breeders’ Cup."

The American Pharoah, formerly the FrontRunner, is a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. It was renamed this year to honor the 2015 Triple Crown winner, who won the race at 2.


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