where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2015-08-04 09:08:56  
American Pharoah vs Golden Horn is a no go

THE world's two best horses seem destined never to lock horns, with owner Anthony Oppenheimer saying on Monday there is "absolutely no way" Golden Horn will have a Breeders' Cup Classic showdown with American Pharoah.

As one bookmaker took the view the Triple Crown hero will edge past the Derby and Coral-Eclipse winner and achieve a higher end-of-year rating, Oppenheimer all but ruled out what would amount to one of the all-time great head-to-heads at Keeneland on October 31.

The diamond magnate also repeated his wish for Golden Horn's racing career to end this year, when racegoers will also get the last chance to enjoy Coolmore-bound US phenomenon American Pharoah, who on Sunday delivered by far his most impressive performance yet when winning the Haskell Invitational without coming off the bridle.

'Complete no-no'

"He's very quiet, very happy and growing stronger by the day," said Oppenheimer, confirming the John Gosden-trained Golden Horn on course for the Juddmonte International at York on July 12, for which he was cut to 1-2 (from 4-7) by William Hill and to 8-15 (from 8-13) by Coral.

However, Oppenheimer offered no hope at all that the highest-rated thoroughbred in the world will be aimed at the Classic, for which, in a match bet, American Pharoah was quoted at 1-2 by Paddy Power with Europe's top horse on 6-4.

"It's a complete no-no, on dirt certainly," said Oppenheimer. "There's absolutely no way he'll run on dirt. First, it's quite a long bet for him to go to America anyway. Second, if we were to go to America he'd certainly only race on grass."

World's best

An update to the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings is due to be released next Thursday. Golden Horn sits atop the current standings on 130 with American Pharoah on 128. The Racing Post has Golden Horn on 132 and American Pharoah on 131.

Before the Haskell William Hill had Golden Horn at 4-11 to end 2015 with a higher figure than American Pharoah, who had been offered at 5-2. On Monday , however, there was a flip-flopping of superstars with American Pharoah now 5-6 to have the greater close-of-year rating with Golden Horn 11-8.

Coral priced up the two heavyweights at 5-6 each of two should they meet at any point this year, spokesman David Stevens saying: "While it is perhaps just a dream at this stage, a meeting between the pair would be a must-see showdown for racing fans everywhere."

'He's our Frankel'

Speaking to the Racing Post last night, Baffert paid American Pharoah the ultimate compliment.

"He's our version of Frankel," said Baffert. "I think he's there already. Watching him train, I've never seen anything like him. He's incredible. He's drawn so much attention nationwide that the pressure is starting to build. He's like an expensive Picasso. I have to make sure he doesn't get scratched.

"It's like the farewell tour now. We probably won't know what we're doing for a couple of weeks. You never know what will happen. I don't want to send him out unless I'm really confident he's at his best.

"It's hard to keep a horse at that level in the States. Racing on dirt is tough as they have to run fast and hard the whole way and this horse likes to dominate as well. Eventually it catches up with them.

"American Pharoah and Golden Horn are two different types of horse. I would never compare the two."

Asked if he expected American Pharoah to topple Golden Horn in the Longines rankings, Baffert added: "I wear a Longines watch and they do make a great watch. That's as much as I know about their rankings."

Confirming his plan to send Golden Horn to stud next year, Oppenheimer said: "I'm a breeder, not a racer, so I would like to get him to stud."

Racing POST 

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