By Dick Downey
Bob Baffert typically holds his next-race cards close to the vest, but the owner of American Pharoah has played his hand.
The Rebel Stakes winner will be returning to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby, Ahmed Zayat said Friday afternoon. American Pharoah was flown back to his Southern California base last Monday. Zayat said Baffert has already decided to run back in Arkansas.
“That has been the plan,” Zayat said. “Timing-wise, it works best. But also, we don’t ship unless we’re ready. And funny enough, Bob thinks he’s ready today. The horse has been on a tear.” Zayat said American Pharoah “galloped like a freight train” Friday morning at Santa Anita.
The comfirmation of American Pharoah means at least four horses are pointing for the Arkansas Derby. The other three are Far Right, winner of the Smarty Jones and Southwest Stakes; and Bold Conquest and the Truth Or Else, third and fourth in the Rebel.