Congratulations to American Pharoah in stylishly putting an end to our 37 year wait to anoint a truly deserving Triple Crown winner in the Belmont Stakes. I'm neither claiming he was a cinch or a lock as my Best Bet. As said many years ago "no man alive ever paid the house or mortgage at three to five".
Pharoah was 3-5 on the board combining with second choice Frosted for a very chilly favorite exacta of $13.60 as well. You wouldn't be able to pay the house cable bill with that payoff either. In fact 90% of all $2 winning tickets have gone uncashed as keepsake souvenirs or EBay potential for resale at a later date. Shows you this isn't your daddy's sentimental Secretariat, Seattle Slew or Affirmed Triple Crown.
So where do we go from here racing fans? As promised, AP's stud book and dating schedule was lined up and ready to go following the Preakness. His historic win in the Belmont only enhanced his value and selection of broodmares. One more race at most is only a potential target and that is not guaranteed.
His owner, Ahmed Zayat has teased that American Pharoah would run on August 2nd in the $1M Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park but that is highly unlikely. The purse is attractive along with the local New Jersey fanfare but measured so close to three grueling Triple Crown races makes it a longshot.
Circle this day, October 31st and The Breeder's Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Course as AP's final appearance on the race track. That it if it already hasn't possibly occurred. Ironically, our favorite ghoulish holiday (Halloween) and you can bet his current owner and new partners are concerned between now and then something spooky could happen. Like an injury occurring in training or worse happening in the race itself. This is where the financial economics of the sport unfortunately become magnified by winning a Triple Crown.
Along with giant potential stud fees come giant risks and giant insurance payments...all likely figured into the deal signed before the Belmont win. Like heads of state or real Pharaohs, American Pharoah is now assigned a guardian or guardians to watch over him and his every move. His barn is a high security area and each workout and time spent exercising on the track is a carefully planned event. If you want to feel bad for this guy, he will get little privacy for a long, long time.
The Breeders Cup – October 31st at Keeneland Race Course
Until we settle in to watch ESPN documentaries about American Pharoah, let's face the obvious as we're basically interested in one issue. When is the next opportunity to bet on or against him winning again? That opportunity will next likely come in the Breeder's Cup Classic at a 1 and ¼ mile distance at Keeneland Race Course on October 31st. The only sure thing is if AP does run he will be facing a much more accomplished field that will include older horses in their prime, running at the peak of their conditioning. To be fair, if he is entered, he should also be that much better as a more mature 3-year old. In human terms, think of it as a male athlete at 22 or 23 compared to 19 years old. The extra four months in maturity can make that much difference at this stage of a thoroughbred's progression.
As far as wagering options, thus far we've seen industry giant William Hill post a Yes/No proposition wager on whether American Pharoah will or will not win the Breeder's Cup Classic.
All things considered the odds on YES at 3-1 are very generous and worth considering should you be in Nevada and in position to secure a ticket on this action either directly in-person or online with a legal account. Gazing into the future should AP make it to the race I would judge his post time odds to be significantly less and not by virtue of handicapping chance. But more by his "popularity", media hype and overall rooting interest within the U.S. public taking his final bow.
Further proof of this are similar propositions being offered by popular esteemed online sportsbook websites like Bovada. In this example American Pharoah is a stunning 3-2 favorite and poor value, especially compared to the 3-1 proposition wager at William Hill in Nevada. The only "good or potential reasonable value" might be isolating another horse to win like California Chrome (9-1) or Honor Code (14-1) in hopes of better than their post time odds. Along with others offered in wagering, both horses are pointed toward the Breeder's Cup Classic but would need further wins in prep races to become betting favorites. Check the rules involving these propositions. But overall, these wagers are highly risky and not recommended.
Putting aside all sentimental stories about our new four-legged poster boy, what would you do faced with a next decision regarding his professional status?
A. Train for the Breeder's Cup Classic with a "potential" winner's share of $3,000,000. A fifth place or less finish offers zero along with the always risk of injury.
B. Arrange my date book for AP in the fall which offers approximately $100,000 per foal. Our young super stud can accomplish approximately 150 live foals per year. Total: $15,000,000 not including any potential arranged ownership deals per live foal.
As much as I LOVE horse racing and would enjoy seeing Pharoah's legend expand on the track, I say dim the barn lights, cue the John Legend music and go to work big fella. You earned it. Let's get to work handicapping the next race at Saratoga, Del Mar, Gulfstream or anywhere else.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights from Glenn, click here.