American Pharoah: Leading a legacy of legends
by Laura Pugh
The last Haskell Legend ran in 2009, and her name was Rachel Alexandra. She was coming into her second Grade one vs males, after she beat the Kentucky Derby winner in the Preakness. She came to Monmouth, facing her toughest test to date, and she blew the field away by six lengths….today, August 2, 2015, a new Haskell Legend etched his name into history.
American Pharoah, the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, was welcomed to Monmouth Park with a roar from the crowd, as he made his way out of the tunnel. The excitement grew as the announcer counted down the minutes to post time, and by the time post time was announced the crowd seemed ready to explode.
The field loaded calmly with no issues, and when the horses were set free from gates, the people in the stands announced their approval with a thunderous roar. Competitive Edge went straight to the lead, throwing down the gauntlet, telling the Pharoah to come and catch him, if he dared. Meanwhile, American Pharoah sat comfortably in second, ears waving back and forth, under a firm hold from Victor Espinoza.
The half mile went in a solid 46 flat, and it was then that Espinoza let his champion out a notch. Then with his methodical and flawless stride, American Pharoah began his advance, cutting into Competitive Edge’s lead. Six furlongs in a scorching 1.09.3 and American Pharoah was at the throatlatch of his leading rival. As they turned for home, after a mile in a dazzling 1.34.2, it was clear that nobody was going to provide a challenge to the champion today.
Well before the wire, Espinoza began to wrap the big horse up, but the apparent ease of his win only made the crowd go louder. With every perfect stride he took the crowd grew louder, until the noise was completely deafening. They knew they were in the presence of greatness and they basked in his glory.
At the line the margin had diminished, but the win still came easy. What was even more amazing the time he did it in. Geared down, under wraps, American Pharoah ran the nine furlongs in 1.47.4. Not far off the stakes or track record.
At the end of the day people can draw all the comparisons they want, but they mean nothing. This horse is flawless, and his aura is transcendent. He is his own horse, and he is making his own legacy. A legacy of legends.
American Pharoah photo courtesy of John Wirth/Equi-Photo