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Preakness champion American Pharoah leaves Pimlico to ready for Belmont, Triple Crown

Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah, attempting to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, leaves Pimlico Race Course Monday morning. The colt will train at Churchill Downs before heading to New York and the June 6 Belmont Stakes.
Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah, attempting to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, leaves Pimlico Race Course Monday morning. The colt will train at Churchill Downs before heading to New York and the June 6 Belmont Stakes. (Jerry Dzierwinski / Maryland Jockey Club)

Horse racing's latest Triple Crown threat left the home of the series' middle jewel Monday morning.

American Pharoah, expected to try to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes since Affirmed in 1978, left Pimlico Race Course for Churchill Downs, where the 3-year-old colt will prepare for the June 6 Belmont.

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Trainer Bob Baffert on Sunday said he would give the Preakness champion a light week before training for Belmont begins. American Pharoah likely will not go to New York until the Wednesday before the Belmont Stakes, Baffert said.

American Pharoah is likely to face a field of fresh horses in Elmont, N.Y., but Pharoah's connections feel confident after winning the Preakness by seven lengths.

"I've never won this race as easily and handily," Baffert said Saturday. "It's going to be tough. I've always said this is the easiest of the three legs ... I know everybody right now is sharpening their knives, getting ready."

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