American Pharoah makes history becoming the first thoroughbred in 37 years to win the Triple Crown. The Zayat Stables runner now joins eleven of the greatest horses, the superstars of racing, who were able to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah’s classic victory closes a very long chapter in thoroughbred racing history that began in 1979 with Spectacular Bid and ran all the way to 2014 with California Chrome. American Pharoah wrote the ending to the chapter on Triple Crown Near Misses, which had thirteen sections, when he was ahead every step of the mile and a half Belmont Stakes.
The final chapter of this Triple Crown story began on a beautiful sunny afternoon at Belmont Park where 90,000 racing fans assembled to be part of the crowning of the horse who would follow the stars of the 1970’s; Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed. Then it was up to the bay son of Pioneer of the Nile and Littleprincessemma to write the following long-awaited history lesson.
American Pharoah’s jockey Victor Espinoza, who twice before had failed to finish a Triple Crown try successfully, took his strategy from the history books and urged his horse to the lead right out of the starting gate, just the way the previous Triple Crown winners had done. Espinoza’s immediate reaction was, “It’s amazing. It’s just unbelievable how things work out with such an amazing horse like American Pharoah.” “He broke a little step slow and in two jumps I was right in the lead, a length in front of everybody, said Espinoza. “We stayed that way all the way around.” Describing why the new Triple Crown winner is so good, Espinoza said, “The way he runs, the way he travels, the way he stretches his legs, the way he hits the ground. You don’t feel that he is going that fast. It’s like he is in slow motion.”
The final time for the twelve furlongs was 2:26.55, the fastest final time since Point Given won in 2001 and second only to Secretariat for Triple Crown winners. In machine like fashion, American Pharoah completed each quarter in :24 and change. In the end, trainer Bob Baffert gave the credit where it was due, “I just feel like I have a very special horse, and he’s the one that won. It wasn’t me it was the horse. This horse is, a dream come true.”