Champ on the scene

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A New York State Trooper pulled into the stable area of Saratoga Race Course backstretch of the main track with emergency lights flashing and parked outside Barn 25 just before 3:00 p.m. Wednesday.

The attention of the hundreds of media members, horse people and fans who were gathered around the metal barricades surrounding both ends of John Terranova’s barn were suddenly heightened and the anticipation was palpable. A minute or so later, the pent-up energy was released in the form of hundreds of camera clicks, breaking news narrations and social media posts as a blue and white horse van pulled in.

American Pharoah had arrived.

As American Pharoah, led by assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, stepped off the van and onto the soil, it marked the first time in 37 years that a Triple Crown winner set foot on the hallowed ground of historic Saratoga Race Course.

The journey from California took approximately 12 hours as the Triple Crown winner was vanned from Del Mar to Ontario International Airport, flew from Ontario to Albany International Airport onboard Kalitta Charters flight 725, with a stop in Lexington to pick up champion Funny Cide, and finally vanned from Albany to Saratoga Springs.

To read the rest of American Pharoah’s arrival story, download Thursday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland.