Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: American Pharoah

American Pharoah is the likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby off the strength of his stellar Oaklawn preps, which build upon the foundation of his Eclipse-award winning 2YO campaign. Here’s his road to the Kentucky Derby.

Debut Maiden Race

This was the key maiden race of the summer at Del Mar, featuring upset winner Om, American Pharoah, One Lucky Dane, Calculator, Iron Fist, and Daddy DT. It’s American Pharoah’s only career loss.

Despite still being a maiden, American Pharoah went off favored in the Del Mar Futurity, where he was sharp and ultra-impressive.

Frontrunner Stakes

Next was the Frontrunner, his first distance test at two turns. Passed authoritatively.

Rebel Stakes

An injury sidelined him from the Breeders’ Cup, but Baffert trained him aggressively through mid-winter for American Pharoah’s return in the Rebel at Oaklawn.

Arkansas Derby

He then faced a tougher field in the Arkansas Derby, although it still wasn’t the deepest field. No matter who he beat, he was electric and solidified status as the Kentucky Derby favorite.

American Pharoah has been sensational on the track, and is undefeated around two turns. He has a knack for opening up through the lane, something that bodes well for the stamina test that is the Kentucky Derby. He showed a new dimension in the Arkansas Derby, rating a bit off the lead, which he’ll likely want to do in Kentucky.

Finally, while the competition at Oaklawn was not the deepest, American Pharoah beat plenty of quality horses during his 2YO Southern California campaign. However, it’s worth noting that he may have benefited from being separated from Dortmund, a bonus of both horses sharing a trainer in Baffert.