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Eight Rings comes up big in American Pharoah S. (G1)
Friday, September 27, 2019
Eight Rings capped a Grade 1 double for Bob Baffert on Friday at Santa Anita with his commanding six-length win in the $300,000 American Pharoah S. (G1), send the 2-year-old colt on to the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), also run at Santa Anita.

Eight Rings had something to prove after losing his rider Drayden Van Dyke at the beginning of the Del Mar Futurity (G1), a race where he was the heavy favorite. Bet down to odds-on once again on Friday, Eight Rings came out of the gate very fast and opened up by three lengths in the first half-mile. American Theorem gave token pressure on the far turn, but Eight Rings quickly dispatched him and came home to win with ease.

"It was a good race for him, coming off that last disastrous race," Baffert said. "I'm just so fortunate that Drayden didn't get hurt worse (in the Futurity)." 

Said winning rider John Velazquez. "He ran a good race, but you can see he has some room to improve (switching to his off lead in deep stretch). If he can put his mind to running, he'll be a dangerous horse." 

Velazquez, who also guided Baffert's 2-year-old filly Bast to victory in the Chandelier S. (G1) earlier on the card, became racing's all-time leading graded stakes-winning jockey with the two Grade 1 scores.

Eight Rings, who won his debut by a similar margin as he did Friday, has two wins in three starts and has earned $216,951. He is owned by the partnership of SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC and Fred Hertrich III.

Eight Rings is the latest of Baffert's eight American Pharoah winners. Named for his 2015 Triple Crown winner, the American Pharoah was previously known as the FrontRunner S. and Norfolk S. 

Baffert 2013