American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert on the Travers: "We don't take anything for granted. We're coming in there ready."
And now, it's on to the Spa for the Triple Crown winner.
With post-position formalities out of the way, American Pharoah will be led onto a plane this morning for the cross-country trip to Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Saturday's Travers Stakes.
American Pharoah was made the overwhelming 1-5 favorite in a 10-horse field and drew the No. 2 post on Tuesday night.
"Once the draw is over, we just think about having everything going smooth into the race," trainer Bob Baffert said. "The horse is doing well; that's more important than what hole he drew."
If American Pharoah starts, the Travers purse increases $350,000 to $1.6 million, with the winner earning $850,000.
American Pharoah will try to become only the second Triple Crown winner to go on to win the prestigious Travers. Whirlaway won the 1941 Travers after sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
"We're just worried about getting him there and making sure he's sharp," Baffert said. "As long as he's sharp and ready to roll then what happens, happens."
Frosted was made the second choice at 6-1, and Texas Red the third choice at 8-1. Frosted ran fourth in the Derby, second in the Belmont and second in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Aug. 1. Texas Red won the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Jim Dandy.
American Pharoah has won eight straight races after a career-opening loss and earned more than $5.6 million. The 3-year-old bay son of Pioneerof the Nile will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, competing in his first Travers.
"We're excited. It's a good field. It's pretty solid," Baffert said. "It would be more like running in the Kentucky Derby. I feel like it will be the same kind of excitement with the people and the horses and everything."
The field from the rail out is Upstart (15-1), American Pharoah (1-5), Mid Ocean (50-1), Texas Red (8-1), Frammento (30), Frosted (6-1), Keen Ice (12-1), Tale of Verve (30-1), King of New York (50-1) and Smart Transition (20-1).
"Everything has to go smooth for him," Baffert said. "We don't take anything for granted. We're coming in there ready."
American Pharoah, owned by Ahmed Zayat, would become the fourth of the 12 Triple Crown winners to run in the Travers. In 1930, Jim Dandy upset Gallant Fox at odds of 100-1, Whirlaway won in `41 and Affirmed finished first in 1978 but was disqualified to second with rival Alydar declared the winner.
John Shirreffs, who trained the great Zenyatta, will send out Smart Transition with John Velazquez aboard trying to pull a huge upset.
"All I can say is, 'Jim Dandy.' Gallant Fox, right?" he asked. "He came here as a Triple Crown winner and there was a horse named Jim Dandy that beat him. You know what? I think it's more than that. It's going to be a great day for Saratoga."
American Pharoah returned to the races earlier this month, easily winning the Haskell Invitational in New Jersey on Aug. 1. American Pharoah has already defeated six of his Travers rivals, including Keen Ice three times.
A sellout crowd of 50,000 will jam the Spa to catch a look at the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. For those counting, it has been 74 years since Whirlaway's Travers win.
"I feel like I'm bringing the Beatles to town," Baffert said earlier Tuesday on a national conference call. Baffert is scheduled to arrive in Saratoga on Thursday.
Keen Ice, trained by Dale Romans, finished seventh in the Derby, third in the Belmont and second in the Haskell. Javier Castellano replaces Kent Desormeaux aboard the colt.
"He's getting better and better," Romans said. "We're getting a little bit closer every time, maybe eventually we'll catch him."
American Pharoah had a final tuneup for the Travers on Sunday, working seven furlongs in 1 minute, 23.20 seconds at his home base at Del Mar.
"Saratoga here we come!" Zayat said after the workout.
It's still unclear if another race is in the works before American Pharoah's finale in the Breeders' Cup Classic. After that race, he will be retired to Coolmore's Ashford Stud.
American Pharoah is scheduled to gallop on Thursday and Friday mornings at Saratoga. The Friday workout is open to the public.
Maryland men's basketball
Top-rated 2017 point guard Duval visits
Eight days after the top high school basketball player in the class of 2016 made an unofficial visit to meet with men's coach Mark Turgeon and his staff, the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2017 was in College Park on Tuesday. A source familiar with the recruiting process confirmed a report of Trevon Duval's unofficial visit by InsideMDSports.com. Duval, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound rising junior at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J, was the third five-star recruit among the recent spurt of unofficial visitors to Maryland, following 6-7 guard Josh Jackson of Detroit and 6-8 power forward Billy Preston, who plays at Prime Prep in Dallas. Like Duval, Preston is a rising junior. All play for Under Armour-sponsored Amateur Athletic Union teams, as did incoming Maryland freshman Diamond Stone. As with Stone, Maryland assistant coach Bino Ranson is taking the lead in the recruiting of Duval.
Towson LB Simms has 'minor cleanup' on knee
Towson linebacker James Simms (Reservoir), a redshirt sophomore who led Towson in tackles last season with 99 in his first season as a full-time starter, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee Tuesday. "Simms had surgery, but it was minor cleanup surgery," coach Rob Ambrose said after practice. "We didn't lose him." Junior cornerback Juleon Killikelly-Lee will miss the entire season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee without being touched during a recent practice.
Navy football: Senior defensive end Will Anthony has been added to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list. The award goes to the nation's best lineman or linebacker.
Women's college soccer: In a match that was rescheduled for Tuesday morning because of lightning delays the night before, Monmouth (2-0) scored in the 17th and 63rd minutes to earn a 2-0 victory over Loyola Maryland (0-2). ... Johns Hopkins was picked in the Centennial Conference preseason poll to finish in first place. McDaniel was picked for eighth and Washington College 10th.
Women's college lacrosse: Hofstra promoted Katie Mollot (Towson) to associate head coach. ... Loyola Maryland's Annie Thomas (2014-2015), Maddy Lesher (2014-present), Taryn VanThof (2014-2015) and Marlee Paton (2014) and Navy's Jasmine DePompeo (2010-2013); Loren Generi (2012-2015); Erin Rawlick (2008-2010) were named to the Patriot League 25th anniversary team, which.
Baseball: Denard Span was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday by the Washington Nationals, who hope the return of their center fielder can fuel a playoff charge. Span missed 40 games with a back injury. He will bat atop a lineup that operated for lengthy stretches this season without injured stars Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon. "It's nice to have those guys back and be at full strength offensively," manager Matt Williams said. "It gives us a little bit of an option." Span is batting .304 with five homers and 11 steals in 59 games this season. To make room for Span on the roster, Washington optioned right-hander Tanner Roark to Single-A Potomac. Roark was a full-time starter last year, but this season he pitched out of the bullpen in 28 of his 34 games. ... The Chicago Cubs agreed to terms with former Orioles outfielder Quintin Berry on a minor league contract.
Golf: Kevin Lee and Bob Rehman of University of Maryland Golf Club were low gross champions with 67 at the Free State Seniors Two-Man Team Tournament on Monday at Eagles Nest Country Club. The low net champions were Ron Dilonardo and Lee Murray of Sherwood Forest GC with 59.
Youth lacrosse: Tryouts for Tom Marechek's Team 42 Lax Club will be Saturday and Sept. 13 at Friends. For times and fees, go to 42lax.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-218-0217
Ravens benefit: The Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps is sponsoring a Ravens tailgate event Sept. 13 at Bill Bateman's Bistro at 2021 Pulaski Highway in Havre de Grace to benefit the Grace Ambulance Corps. Cost is $25 per person. For more information, call Christina Sides at 443-807-3745 or the ambulance corps at 410-939-6658, or go to hdgac.org.