American Pharoah has done what no horse could manage since 1978. But on Saturday, the bay thoroughbred easily cruised to victory in the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the horse racing’s most elusive prize, and with it, the Triple Crown.
Jockey Victor Espinoza summed up perfectly after crossing the finish line, 5 and 1/2 lengths ahead of Frosted, and well ahead of third-place finisher, Keen Ice, in 2:26.65.
“Holy shit,” he said, likely unaware the television audio was that crystal clear.
But when an entire generation has lived without seeing a Triple Crown winner, it was, perhaps, the only reasonable.
American Pharoah, the colt with the misspelled name and owned by Zayat Stables, becomes the 12th horse in history to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.
AMERICAN PHAROAH WINS THE BELMONT STAKES AND COMPLETES THE TRIPLE CROWN!!!!!
— Zayat Stables (@ZayatStables) June 6, 2015
The racing world’s 37-year-old drought was over. And, Amercian Pharoah, born in 2012, joins a storied group.
Past Triple Crown winners are Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978).
“Maybe a tad slow at the break,” its owners said. “American Pharoah nevertheless had the lead less than 100 yards into the race, and never relinquished it at any point despite several challengers making a run at him during the 1 ½-mile marathon.”
American Pharoah was the clear favourite paying just $3,50 on a $2 bet. But the lifetime of stud fees, those will be priceless.
Oh, and for those who haven’t seen it. Here’s the Triple Crown Trophy.