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Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah Makes His Way Home to California (Getting Stuck in LA Traffic on the Way)

26 Jun 2015 4:19 PM | Deleted user

The road home for Triple Crown-winning thoroughbred American Pharoah went through Ontario International Airport on Thursday morning.

The bay colt, who became the first horse to win all three of horse racing’s premier events since 1978, enjoyed the luxury accommodations provided by First Class Equine Air Travel early Thursday from Louisville International Airport to Southern California.

Once on the ground at Ontario at 9:40 a.m., American Pharoah was treated like the champ he is, escorted onto a Bob Hubbard Horse Transport trailer and escorted via police motorcade from the Inland airport to Santa Anita Park, where the horse is headquartered at trainer Bob Baffert’s barn. His time on the grounds at the south end of the Ontario airport was less than 30 minutes – and the champion never actually touched the ground, going directly from the airplane to the transport trailer – according to an airport spokesperson.

The motorcade headed south on Vineyard toward the 60 freeway, and there was no mistaking the occupant of the trialer. Banners with “2015 Triple Crown Champion,” “Santa Anita Welcomes Home American Pharoah” and winning rider Victor Espinoza’s silks adorned the sides of the 65-foot semi truck and trailer.

“After the long flight from Kentucky, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, received the red carpet treatment,” was the post Thursday on the LA/Ontario International Airport Facebook page. “ONT was honored to welcome him back as he makes his way home to Santa Anita with a police escort.”

American Pharoah secured the first Triple Crown in 37 years by winning the Belmont Stakes on June6 by a dominant 51/2 lengths. The horse had previously won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes as part of the rare triple.

In honor of Pharaoh’s return, Santa Anita officials announced that the horse will make a public appearance between races at Santa Anita on Saturday, June 27. First post time is at 12:30 p.m.

“We want to again thank American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat and his trainer, Bob Baffert, for being so incredibly generous in sharing this horse with fans from coast to coast,” Santa Anita Chairman Keith Brackpool said in a release on the track website.

Baffert hasn’t specified when or where American Pharoah’s next race will be, but hopes to take him back to Kentucky for this fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. The 3-year-old has won seven of eight career starts.

Last Saturday, Zayat all but guaranteed that Pharoah’s next race will be the Haskell on Aug.2 at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

According to multiple reports, Del Mar is trying to lure American Pharoah to the Aug.22 Pacific Classic, which is open to older horses.

American Pharoah’s camp was initially hesitant to leave Churchill Downs before returning to California to prepare for the next phase of his racing career.

The colt had been based at Baffert’s Barn 33 at Churchill Downs since mid-April before starting his historic quest toward becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner. A small group of fans and media said goodbye to American Pharoah as he boarded a transport van around 7:25 a.m. Thursday morning for the flight back to Santa Anita.

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