LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — American Pharoah looked fresh after his first jog since winning the Kentucky Derby.
The top three Derby finishers all jogged lightly Thursday as dawn broke on a clear and pleasant morning at Churchill Downs. American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert, was on the track with stablemate and third-place Dortmund and runner-up Firing Line.
They appeared in good shape afterward as they await next weekend’s Preakness. American Pharoah and Dortmund are expected to travel to Baltimore on Wednesday.
American Pharoah exercise rider Jorge Alvarez took the Derby winner on a clockwise jog. Dana Barnes put Dortmund through a similar outing under the supervision of assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes.
Barnes is overseeing preparations for Baffert while the trainer is in California. Baffert is expected to arrive in Louisville on Sunday, but Barnes had good news for his boss.
“Everything seems fine with both horses,” he said. “It’s just a matter of recharging their batteries. You want to get them happy and put some weight on them.”
American Pharoah fulfilled expectations as the Derby favorite, rallying past Firing Line in the stretch for a one-length victory and fifth straight win overall. Dortmund finished two lengths behind Firing Line.
American Pharoah was given Sunday off and walked the shedrow Monday. On Thursday, the Derby winner and Dortmund both seemed lively.
Still undecided is American Pharoah’s training plan before the trip next week to Pimlico, where the Kentucky-bred and California-based colt will try to add the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Unlike training for the Derby, where the horse went five furlongs just six days out, the two-week turnaround between that race and the 1 3/16-mile Preakness series alters the plan somewhat for both Baffert horses with different owners.
Barnes said Baffert will determine the schedule after the two discuss Thursday’s jog.
Firing Line also jogged under Humberto Gomez alongside Perfect Drift, the third-place finisher behind War Emblem in the 2002 Derby. The colt trained by Simon Callaghan will gallop Friday.
“He was good this morning, a lot of energy and feeling good,” Gomez said.
But for American Pharoah and Dortmund, Thursday was a time to loosen up. The Derby champion and one of his likely challengers got baths before heading back to their barns for rest and feeding.
“Both are eating well,” Barnes said. “They didn’t back off their feed, so that’s a good sign.”
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.