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Keen Ice Upsets American Pharoah In Gr1 Travers Stakes

Monday, 31st August 2015

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was been beaten for the first time in over a year when suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Keen Ice in Saturday's Gr1 Travers Stakes (10 furlongs) at Saratoga racecourse in New York. Runner-up to American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes and the Haskell Invitational at his past two starts, Keen Ice (Curlin) had won just the one race prior to the Travers but showed he was a horse of significant quality when surging home late to defeat the champion colt by three-quarters of a length for trainer Dale Romans in the US$1.6 million feature. Trainer Bob Baffert said he was proud of American Pharoah's effort despite the loss. "You never know how the horse is feeling until you run him. He travelled and he shipped well, but I could tell by Victor's body language that he was done at the half-mile pole and he kept trying," Baffert told Blood Horse. "That's the only reason he ran second, it's because he's such a great horse - but the winner ran a really great race." He added: "I wasn't disappointed with his race. We were all sad. We really wanted him to win. He's been so great to us; that's why I'm not disappointed in him. He tried. If I had to do it again, I would have brought him here. I'm glad I brought him. I think racing needed something like this." Baffert said that no decision had been made regarding Pharoah's immediate future despite comments by owner Ahmed Zayat that the horse may be retired. "Mr Zayat is a very emotional man. We were all pretty disappointed. We were like in shock. We were surprised he got beat. We weren't really prepared for a losing speech," said Baffert. "Basically, we'll let the horse tell us what he's doing. We'll just play it by ear." He added: "Sometimes, you feel like he's invincible, but they all get beat. There's no horse that's ever done it like he's done it. I've never had a horse that could bring performance after performance after performance. I've had horses throw a big performance, but they can't keep it going. He almost did it." Baffert said if American Pharoah does run again, he would likely head towards the Gr1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland on 31 October.

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