American Pharoah is owed the chance to make history
by Laura Pugh
In our sport there are flashes of brilliance and then there are legends. Brilliance often can lead to the making of legends, but it is up to the owners to allow their horses to build a legacy of legends. A great example of this is the late Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stables. He brought Curlin back as a four year old which allowed him break the American earnings record. He gave Rachel Alexandra opportunities and she went on to have one of the greatest campaigns by a three year old filly.
In 2015 racing has witnessed it’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. American Pharoah has transcended our sport with his brilliance. He has proven that he is a great horse with a world of talent, but what he has yet to prove is his status as a legend. Let me be clear by saying a Triple Crown is a great accomplishment which is why he is great. However, not every Triple Crown winner is a legend, only the ones that were given a chance to build upon that accomplishment became legends.
Secretariat did not race after his sophomore season but what he did do is take on new horizons by trying turf and facing his elders. Had he not taken on his elders and dominated the green he still would have been a great horse, but Secretariat wouldn’t be remembered as the legend he is today.
Affirmed and Seattle Slew could have hung up their capes after their Triple Crowns, but they didn’t. Seattle Slew had every reason to stop after his viral infection, but once he recovered his connections gave him the chance to extend his legacy and he did just that. Affirmed lost five races in a row after winning his Triple Crown, but his connections gave him a chance to rediscover his form. Affirmed not only rediscovered his form but went on to win his final seven races, while also beating the great Spectacular Bid.
When we look at the careers of these horses we see that they all have more than just their Triple Crowns in common. We see that they all lost. After their Triple Crowns Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed all lost, but all three were given the chances to not only redeem those losses but to extend their legacies.
American Pharoah has a chance to become a legend, he has the chance to do what no other Triple Crown winners had the chance to do. In this era, we have the Breeders Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup, two races that have the ability to extend the legacies of greats. American Pharoah is great enough to win both races and will be given the chance to win one, but he could still do so much more.
If allowed to come back at four American Pharoah could create a legacy that portrays him to be the greatest of all Triple Crown winners and possibly on the best horses to ever grace a racetrack. It is true that the horse owes his connections and his fans absolutely nothing. He has already obtained greatness, but it is what his connections owe to him. He deserves the chance to race through the year’s end and into next year. He deserves the chance to make a new kind of legacy. He deserves to the chance to become the greatest horse in the history of racing.
American Pharoah photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography