On a beautiful Saturday evening, June 6, 2015, a gorgeous 3YO colt named American Pharoah won American Thoroughbred Racing’s elusive Triple Crown at Belmont Park. American Pharoah, with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, defeated seven challengers in front of 90,000 screaming fans. After a slight bobble at the start, American Pharoah went to the lead, and never looked back. Going wire to wire, American Pharoah was challenged near the top of the stretch by the eventual 2nd place finisher Frosted, but, American Pharoah was way too superior. American Pharoah just kicked away, and left that field in the dust by 5 1/2 lengths. The colt became the 12th Triple Crown winner in Thoroughbred Racing history, last being Affirmed, edging out his rival Alydar in all three Triple Crown races, in 1978, thus ending the 37 year old Triple Crown drought.
However, American Pharoah just pulled away, and I knew the Crown was his. Hearing that roar on TV, and realizing thata Crown was actually going to happen was very emotional. I was screaming and crying, “HE DID IT!” repeatedly. I heard jockey Victor Espinoza shout, “HOLY $&£%!” The FCC, I am sure is going to bust someone. I can’t blame Victor. It was Victor’s third attempt at winning the Triple Crown. If it we me, I would have been yelling a few other choice words. NBC should have had the seven second delay ready. What was really awesome, post-race,was seeing jockey Victor Espinoza parading the horse in front of the entire grandstand, so those folks could see them. That was awesome.
American Pharoah’s owners, Zayat Stables, were very gracious in their accepting the trophies for both the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown. Ahmed Zayat, the head of the stable, said that the trophy was for “racing” and for the “fans.” The Zayat entourage all passed the Triple Crown trophy as if it were the Super Bowl trophy. Trainer Bob Baffert was very gracious as well . There was much talk of business deals connected to AmericanPharoah, and one of them was one with Monster drinks. That’s why during the presentation, jockey Victor Espinoza was holding up the Monster drink cans. I thought it was a little tacky, but that’s how it is.
Now that American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown, what does this son of Pioneerofthe Nile do for an encore? Well, he’s NOT “going to Disney World.” However, he has been flown back to Churchill Downs, where he’ll stay there for a week or so. In speaking of Churchill Downs, this Saturday, June 13th, he will be a part of the NBC sports broadcast of the Stephen Foster Handicap. I believe he will be making a special appearance. Later, he’ll go back to California, and from my understanding, his next target is likely the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. His main target is the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, KY. Due to a deal the Zayats made with Coolmore between the Preakness and the Belmont, American Pharoah will be standing stud at Ashford Stud (Coolmore) in Versailles, KY upon retirement at the end of this year. I am disappointed that American Pharoah won’t be running as a 4YO, but considering that this deal was made, and now that the horse has won the Triple Crown, he is worth tens of millions at stud.
The one thing that I am really happy about concerning American Pharoah’s winning the Triple Crown is that it should put to bed any ideas of changing the Crown. There have been calls for changing the distances, or changing the spacings between races. The fact that there’s been such a long drought, people in racing have started to become desperate for a Crown winner, that they think changing it will make it easier. Of course, we had that ridiculous tirade from California Chrome’s minority owner Steve Coburn, in partnership with Perry Martin as Dumbass Partnership (DAP).
California Chrome, dead heated for 4th in his attempt to win the Crown last year. Coburn whined that it wasn’t fair for new shooters (Tonalist, the winner, skipped the first two legs ) to enter. Well, the Triple Crown winner is supposed to face all comers. American Pharoah not only won all three legs. He ran on fast tracks, and on a sloppy one. He ran against horses he faced already, and new shooters in the Preakness and the Belmont. He did it all, and even bungled the start of the Belmont Stakes, and still won. No excuses.
I want to end this by saying that I am so not only happy to have seen another Triple Crown, but I am glad that younger generations finally got to see one. I am so happy that these young people can tell their kids about American Pharoah. Not only that, I hope that younger people can become new fans of the sport as well. I hope that you enjoyed this blog. Feedback is welcome.