American Pharoah flashed his speed in the stretch and easily won the $1.75 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday in Oceanport, N.J., his first race since sweeping the Triple Crown.
With a record crowd announced at 60,983 cheering him on at Monmouth Park, American Pharoah came out of the final turn with a clear lead and cruised to a 2¼-length victory without any urging from jockey Victor Espinoza.
American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first in 37 years. Following a 57-day break after the Belmont, the 3-year-old colt looked better than ever in winning his eighth consecutive race.
Sent off at odds of 1-10, American Pharoah is the shortest price winner in Haskell history, returning $2.20 for a $2 win bet. He paid $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show.
Keen Ice rallied for second at 18-1 odds. The winning time for the 1⅛-mile race was 1:47.95 — .95 seconds off the Haskell record.
American Pharoah's next start is now the biggest question in racing. Options include the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 29, the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 19 and the Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept. 26.
"No clue," American Pharoah owner Ahmed Zayat said when asked about his colt's next race. "We're going to enjoy this moment."
If all goes according to plan, American Pharoah will run his final race in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 31. And then, he's headed down the road to the breeding shed.
Rahal wins, makes big gain
Graham Rahal won Sunday's IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio, pulling to within nine points of series leader Juan Pablo Montoya.
There are two events remaining in the season, and Montoya's lead has shrunk thanks to back-to-back finishes outside the top 10.
Justin Wilson finished second, 3.4 seconds behind. Simon Pagenaud was third. Montoya, who came into the race with a 42-point lead over Rahal, finished 11th.
"I mean, 42 points, I'm not going to lie to you, it sounded like a lot," Rahal said.
Rahal is a native of New Albany, Ohio, about 45 miles south of the course. This was the third IndyCar victory of his career and second of the season.
Beckman tops Funny Car field at Sonoma
Jack Beckman won the NHRA Sonoma (Calif.) Nationals for his second straight victory and fifth of the season, beating Tommy Johnson Jr. on Sunday in the Funny Car final.
Antron Brown won in Top Fuel, Chris McGaha in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle, marking the first time in NHRA history that all four No. 1 qualifiers also won the event.
AROUND THE HORN
Mixed martial arts: Ronda Rousey got off to a quick start and knocked out home-crowd favorite Bethe Correia only 34 seconds into the first round at UFC 190 on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro. Rousey (12-0) defended her bantamweight title by throwing a rapid sequence of punches at the Brazilian's head, landing a combination of strikes that sent her opponent face-first into the ground.
Soccer: FIFA President Sepp Blatter is relinquishing his position on the International Olympic Committee. He was among a group of IOC members up for re-election for another eight-year term on Monday.
WNBA: The New York Liberty honored former star Becky Hammon, putting the San Antonio Spurs assistant coach in its ring of honor during halftime of a 78-62 victory over Seattle.
Tennis: John Isner won the Atlanta Open for the third year in a row, beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-3.