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WATCH: American Pharoah Gallops For Final Time Before Belmont

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — American Pharoah took a final gallop around Belmont Park on Friday before he attempts to win the Belmont Stakes and become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

PHOTOS: American Pharoah's Final Gallop

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner looked fresh and ready for his morning run on Long Island but was held to an easy lap around the 1 1/2-mile oval by exercise rider Jorge Alvarez. Trainer Bob Baffert watched from well past the finish line.


"When he went by us after going around there he looked like he was just still floating over the race track like he normally does," he said. "He looked very relaxed out there."


Since arriving Tuesday, the 3-year-colt has had a jog and two gallops. American Pharoah faces seven rivals Saturday in his bid to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978.


"We're all excited," Baffert said. "The anxiety is starting to build up. The next time he's on that track, it'll be in front of 90,000 — wait, there's still 8,200 tickets left. But I recommend you might want to scoop those tickets up. Everything looks good. I think he's going to run his race."

American Pharoah Gallops For Final Time Before Belmont

Owner Ahmed Zayat is enjoying his shot at horse racing history, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

"Every moment we are trying to cherish, live, enjoy," Zayat said. "I don't think it's really sunk in yet."

American Pharoah Gallops For Final Time Before Belmont

The pre-race favorite will break from the No. 5 position.

Baffert said win, lose or draw, his horse gets a lot of carrots after the race.

Fans Ready For Triple Crown Winner

Even Sam 'The Bugler' is ready for a date with destiny. He's planning to serenade American Pharoah as a new king of horse racing.

"We are toying with the idea of the Egyptian national anthem if the horse wins the triple crown," he told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff.

A taste of New York will be on the menu this weekend, as fans arrive with big hope and big appetites.

"Chef uses a lot of locally sourced purveyors, so all of our cheeses and meats are sourced locally," Centerplate Regional VP, Peter Matra said.

Refrigerators also burst with color; Belmont white carnations, and New York state roses. Tony Green has hundreds of centerpieces to ready before work begins at midnight on the 500 carnation winners circle blanket.

"Gotta make it fresh. It has to be fresh," he said.

If American Pharoah wears the carnations he will have joined the ranks of only 11 other immortals, after a 37 year Triple Crown drought.

"Coming in feeling that we really have a good shot, and the horse is doing as well as you could have dreamed," Zayat said.

Stepping through the gates at the night-before-the-race block party in Garden City, and you found out quickly that it was all about American Pharoah.

"It's such a rare occasion. It's so difficult that's exciting to see. We'll be a part of history if we get to see it," Gerard Mach told CBS2's Lou Young.

Most horses that get this far don't make it.

"It's this aura that nobody can get it. Everybody is so close. Last year California Chrome got close. This year American Pharoah. Everybody's saying this is the horse that can pull it off," Dan Schmidt said.

Belmont is a longer track than the other two and some of the other horses are more rested so it's not a slam dunk.

"He's got a lot of competition. I don't know if the small field hurts him or helps him, but they say the 5th post, he's got an advantage so hopefully he'll come through," Steve Calvito said.

Whatever horse you park your money on, make sure you save enough to park your car. The closest spaces cost $125, but once inside, you could witness racing history.

A couple thousand tickets are still available through Ticket Master. Tickets will not be available at the track on Saturday.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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