History has been made! American Pharoah defied the odds and proved that he’s a horse of legend! He, with Victor Espinoza, won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner in over 37 years!
It’s a day for the history books! American Pharoah, the horse that took home the trophies at both the 2015 Kentucky Derby and the 2015 Preakness Stakes, became a Triple Crown winner by winning the Belmont Stakes on June 6! Thanks to his jockey, Victor Espinoza, 43, American Pharoah is the first horse to win all three major events since 1978! Victor is also the oldest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown.
We are still amazed by American Pharoah! It’s so hard for a single horse and jockey to take home all three victories in a single racing season, but the 3-year-old horse and Victor did it! Winning the Triple Crown has been one of the hardest feats in thoroughbred horse racing. The third track, Belmont, is much different than the other two, and usually trips up a horse (often, literally) in their attempt to win the Triple Crown.
In fact, in over 140 years, only eleven horses have managed to pull it off. The last horse to win the coveted prize was Affirmed, in 1978. Prior to that, Seattle Slew won all three races in 1977. Secretariat became a Triple Crown winner in 1973 — his owner, Penny Chenery, was actually in the audience. Secretariat also set the record for fastest win at all three races. In fact, Secretariat won the 1973 Belmont Stakes in 2:24, a world record that still stands! American Pharaoh finished right behind that record with two minutes and twenty-six seconds.
Pharoah and Victor’s victory at Belmont followed their championship runs at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. During the May 2 race in Kentucky, Pharoah ran alongside fellow horses Dortmund and Firing Line for an incredible three-horse lead at the start of the race. But, once Pharoah caught his second wind, he cruised for the win! And this is only American Pharoah’s eighth race — ever. That’s impressive.
At Preakness, Pharoah faced a challenge from his longtime rival, Mr. Z. It was Mr. Z who reportedly chewed off half of American Pharoah’s tail while they were growing up together! The nerve! Thankfully, Pharoah finally got his revenge, blowing past by his bitter frenemy to cross the finish line.
All eyes were on Pharoah and Victor when they lined up at the startling line at Belmont. This was Victor’s third attempt to win the Triple Crown. He failed to do so last year while riding California Chrome. Chrome suffered an injury at the start of the race and ended up finishing fourth. Victor has never been able to win the Belmont Stakes. Well, he snapped that losing streak, won the race and finally took home the Triple Crown!
Congratulations to American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza for their historic win! Send your congratulations in the comments below, HollywoodLifers!
— Jason Brow