Saturday, June 6, 2015

American Pharoah Becomes the First Triple Crown Winner Since Affirmed

History was made today when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown the first horse to do so since Affirmed 37 years ago. The air was thick with anticipation today before the race American Pharoah was the second horse in a consecutive year to win both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Last year, California Chrome, a horse loved by racing and non-racing fans alike, won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness but fell short of winning the Belmont Stakes. Chrome had been injured coming out of the starting gates and was boxed in early on and placed fourth. Tonalist, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Belmont Stakes in 2014. 

American Pharoah is owned by Ahmed Zayat. When Pharoah was a yearling, Zayat had brought the colt to an auction to be sold. however, eh ended up buying the horse back excuse he believed that Pharoah would be a good horse. 

 American Pharoah’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, was the first jockey in history to be in a position to win the win the Triple Crown in consecutive years. In fact, this was the third time he would be riding a horse in the Belmont that had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. In 2002, he attempted to ride War Emblem to a Triple Crown victory. Unfortunately, War Emblem had stumbled coming out of the starting gates and lost to Sarava. In 2014, the year before American Pharoah competed in the Belmont, Victor Espinoza rode California Chrome in all three Triple Crown races. California Chrome had won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness but placed fourth in the Belmont Stakes to Tonalist.

Victor celebrating after winning the Triple Crown. credit
 Victor was not the only one to have yet another chance at winning the Triple Crown after failing several times. American Pharoah’s trainer, Bob Baffert, had trained three other horses that have won the first two jewels of the Triple Crown. In 1997, Silver Charm won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes by a head. He started started the Belmont nicely, but went too wide on the first turn and was defeated by Touch Gold. The next year, Real Quiet also came close to winning the Triple Crown. His rival, Victory Gallop, had been second in both races and challenged Real Quiet in the Belmont Stakes. Real Quiet took the lead with 3/8 of a mile to go, followed closely by Victory Gallop. The race ended in a photo finish. Victory Gallop won by a nose. In 2002, War Emblem, ridden by Victor Espinoza, entered the Belmont Stakes with hope of winning the Triple Crown. However he fell to his knees coming out of the starting gates, finishing second to Sarava. When Baffert first saw Pharoah, he had known that Pharoah would be a great horse, and he was right.

 The pressure was on for American Pharoah, with so many people believing in him, including myself.  Before the race began, I had predicted the finishing order as follows: American Pharoah first, Frosted second, and Materiality third. With how well American Pharoah has been doing, I just believed that he could succeed where so many others have failed. It seems that Bob Baffert, Victor Espinoza, and owner Ahmed Zayat believed the same thing. Frosted has a impressive and race record, and I believed that he would do well. Materiality was trained by Todd Pletcher, who had trained Tonalist, the horse that defeated California Chrome in the Belmont last year. 

American Pharoah began the race with odds of 3-5. He took an early lead and held it to the finish line. As he galloped effortlessly down the homestretch, he pulled ahead from the pack, winning by five and a half lengths, with Frosted finished second and Keen Ice third. American Pharoah became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. Thirteen horses and tried and failed to accomplish that incredible feat since Affirmed did so in 1978, and that day, American Pharoah did what many thought was impossible. He finished with an incredible time of 2:26.65. I can't describe how incredible it was to watch and how happy I am to see a Triple Crown winner in my lifetime. There is just something indescribably amazing to watch a racehorse do something that was deemed by many asa lost impossible.

have actually written a book about Triple Crown winners, which I will publish when I add American Pharoah to it.


  1. I have been reading all these other blogs praising American Pharaoh's win and I feel like I am the odd ball out (lol) because I detest anything horse racing, but I do admit what the horse did was impressive.


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