Story by Megan Sarnacki
Here’s one for the history books: American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years. The Triple Crown has only been won eleven times, with the most recent win in 1978, but all that changed on June 6.
Trotting into the race, American Pharoah had the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes under its hoof, along with his abundant fan base. 90,000 fans cheered in the stadium, along with many more watching the race on television. Everyone tuned in to witness if this three-year-old bay colt could sprint to a unique triumph at the Belmont Stakes.
Charging out of the last turn, American Pharoah picked up his pace and crossed the finish line with a five and a half length lead. Records report that the champion finished the one-and-a-half mile track in 2 minutes and 26.65 seconds, earning him the sixth-fastest time in Belmont history. Jockey Victor Espinoza, 43, also set two records: the first Latino and the oldest to win the Triple Crown.
As the twelfth horse, American Pharoah joined previous Triple Crown winners: 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).
What kind of horse is he? Trainer Bob Baffert described American Pharoah as a special, tough athlete who is also very sweet, loving, and enjoys people’s company. Both Baffert and Espinoza were confident in the horse’s ability to win.
Baffert said he will be donating $50,000 to the Permanently Disabled JockeysFund and the California Retirement Management Account. Espinoza stated that he will be donating his entire $80,000 winnings to City of Hope, a charity for cancer research.
However, it looks like American Pharoah will not be heading into retirement just yet. Ahmed Zayat, the owner of the champion, already sold the breeding rights to Coolmore Ashford Stud in Kentucky, but plans to have his horse race again this year.
“It is my genuine desire, as a fan, as someone who loves horses, to race him as long as I possibly can,” Zayat said. Adding that it is not about the value, money, or winning, but “it’s all about the fans and this belongs to history.”
With a goal of keeping the horse healthy, Baffert will continue to train American Pharoah. He also mentioned that American Pharoah will compete at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Lexington, Kentucky at the end of this October. However, the horse’s summer racing schedule has yet to be determined.
With additional racing competitions ahead, who knows what the future will hold for this horse?
Nevertheless, fans will be able to look forward to watching this champion race once again.
Megan Sarnacki is a sophomore. She is interested in digital media and other fields of entertainment. She enjoys traveling, exercising, binge-watching Netflix, and spending time with family and friends.