American Pharoah gallops strongly at Belmont

NEW YORK (AP) American Pharoah picked up the training tempo Thursday morning as he prepares for the Triple Crown try in the Belmont Stakes.

On Wednesday, the colt trained by Bob Baffert tested Belmont Park's sandy surface for the first time with a very leisurely jog around the 1 1/2-mile oval.

By Thursday, he was raring to go.

Accompanied by stable pony Smokey, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner set out at 8:45 a.m. for a strong gallop with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez in the saddle.

Head bowed and ears pricked forward, American Pharoah glided around the track with owners Ahmed and Justin Zayat looking on.

''When he finally came down the stretch, he was really moving so fluid like he usually does,'' Baffert said. ''It was a very positive gallop. It was very comforting to see that. You can tell he still has his energy.''

Baffert will send American Pharoah out for one final gallop Friday morning as the final tuneup for the Belmont on Saturday.

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