By Dick Downey
Photo by Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Updated 2:50 p.m. ET
With trainer Bob Baffert expected back in Louisville tonight, American Pharoah was moved forward in expectation of his final workout for the Belmont Stakes with a strong gallop Saturday morning at Churchill Downs.
Shipping to New York is set for Tuesday. While most observers expected his next breeze to happen Sunday, Scott Hazelton tweeted a little after 10:00 ET this morning that Bob Baffert confirmed the move will be Monday. It's expected to take place at 8:30 during the time reserved for the two Belmont Stakes contenders stabled at the Louisville track.
American Pharoah's gallop Saturday was much more ambitious than Friday's. With several hundred fans looking on, he went a strong 1 1/2 mile, looking like he wanted to do more, on a picture-perfect, sunny morning.
"It was another good day," said exercise rider Jorge Alvarez. "He was a little more aggressive this morning and wanted to do more, but I just kept doing my thing. I'm feeling more excited than nervous. We just feel that we have the right horse and he's doing well. We're all staying positive."
Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said, "We're back to our normal training routine, and he looked good again. We feel no nerves; we're just doing our job. We get more anxious the closer to the race, but there's a difference between anxious and nervous."
Keen Ice was next on the track, and he galloped further than American Pharaoh, starting about 100 yards before the finish line, completing a lap around the one-mile oval and continuing into the far turn again.
"We're going into the race with no physical excuses," Romans said. "If he's good enough, then he'll win. He's fit and he's ready to go the distance."
Neither horse appeared to get hot during the morning exercise, and the table is just about set for their departure to Belmont Park for the 147th Belmont Stakes.