Pharoah fantastic in Haskell return

HORSE RACING

In his first start since taking the Triple Crown in the June 6 Belmont Stakes, American Pharoah looked as charged up as ever as he easily took the $1.75 million William Hill Haskell Invitational (Grade I) by 2 1/4 lengths over Keen Ice on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

The 1-9 favorite patiently stalked front-running Competitive Edge through the races first three-quarters of a mile, and then commanded the lead in the stretch and won under a hand ride from jockey Victor Espinoza. Final time for the 1 1/8-mile event was 1:47.95 in front of a record crowd of 60,983 at Monmouth Park.

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah's trainer Bob Baffert, center left, jockey Victor Espinoza, center, and owner Ahmed Zayat, second right, and his wife, Joanne Zayat, right, hold up the winner's trophy after American Pharoah won the Haskell Invitational horse race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015. Keen Ice was second. Photo: Mel Evans, AP
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s trainer Bob Baffert, center left, jockey Victor Espinoza, center, and owner Ahmed Zayat, second right, and his wife, Joanne Zayat, right, hold up the winner’s trophy after American Pharoah won the Haskell Invitational horse race at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015. Keen Ice was second. Photo: Mel Evans, AP

The 2 1/4-length victory margin might not sound like a lot, but the roaring crowd could tell that the champ had plenty left in the tank. When Sports Illustrated‘s Tim Layden reportedly asked Espinoza when he stopped asking American Pharoah to run in the homestretch, the veteran jockey responded by saying, “I never asked him in the first place.”

American Pharoah’s victory Sunday came as the recorded-extending eighth Haskell win for trainer Bob Baffert. The Triple Crown winner will return to Del Mar race course in Del Mar, Ca. where Baffert eventually will determine his next move.

More horse racing stories from the weekend:

KENTUCKY FOOTBALL
PHOTO COURTESY: KENTUCKY SENIOR SAFTEY A.J. STAMPS (1) VS. UT MARTIN (2014)
PHOTO COURTESY: KENTUCKY SENIOR SAFTEY A.J. STAMPS (1) VS. UT MARTIN (2014)

We are just over a month away from the Sept. 5 opening kickoff versus Louisiana-Monroe in the new Commonwealth Stadium. After an unbelievable slew of new commitments over the past couple of weeks, Kentucky currently ranks 12th in Rivals.com‘s 2016 team rankings. With the Cats returning to the field for fall camp this week, here are a few links to quench your football thirst:

KENTUCKY BASKETBALL
Isaac Humphries (15) and Australia took on Greece during the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (FIBA photo)
Isaac Humphries (15) and Australia took on Greece during the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (FIBA photo)

The good news keeps coming for John Calipari’s 2015-16 Kentucky team. Over the weekend, class of 2016 Australian recruit Isaac Humphries announced that he would be reclassifying into the 2015 class and enroll at Kentucky for the upcoming season.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, left, and North Carolina coach Roy Williams speak before an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Kentucky coach John Calipari, left, and North Carolina coach Roy Williams speak before an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

In other Kentucky basketball news, details were finalized for the first-ever alumni charity game between former Kentucky players and former North Carolina players, which will be held Sept. 13 in Rupp Arena.

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