American Pharoah Makes History And Dreams Come True
A horse made history on Saturday, June 6, 2015. A 37-year dry spell ended when American Pharoah glided across the finish line, ears pricked, to take the Belmont Stakes and along with it the Triple Crown.
He wasn’t supposed to get the distance. His dosage was 4.33 and no Triple Crown winner had a dosage above 3.00. He wasn’t supposed to handle the track. Every Triple Crown winner had prior races over the Belmont strip, and American Pharoah had none. He wasn’t supposed to overcome fresh rivals. He was competing in his fifth race in 12 weeks, a schedule that would break a normal horse. But, as some already knew, and the rest of the world soon learned, American Pharoah is no ordinary horse. He makes the impossible look a walk on the beach.
However, his physical and mental prowess are only part of the what makes him a special horse. What makes him even more special is his unique ability to unite and give all who handle him, or even simply watch him the confidence that the impossible is, indeed, possible.
The confidence he exudes was transcendent, even from even a young age. The way he moved, the way he carried himself had top trainers raving about him. All Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert needed was a video of the colt, to know that he wanted American Pharoah in his barn. In the first race jockey Victor Espinoza rode the son of Pioneerofthe Nile he was amazed at the colt’s power. “I didn’t want to jinx it, but sitting there I thought, this is my Derby Horse.” Little did any of them know that American Pharoah would go on to even more unimaginable heights.
Following consecutive Grade 1 wins, American Pharoah was the likely favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he had to miss that race with what was announced as a foot bruise. It was devastating news for owner Ahmed Zayat, who said his colt was training like Seattle Slew .
But Zayat kept his faith in Baffert, calling the trainer “a magician” by the time they set together at the post Belmont Stakes press conference. Indeed, Baffert had trained American Pharoah from a precocious, injured two-year-old to Triple Crown victory in six months.
During this Triple Crown American Pharoah made dreams a reality. The Zayat’s spent years playing the bridesmaid in Triple Crown races, finishing second in the Derby with Pioneerofth Nile, Nehro in 2011, and Bodemeister and second in the Belmont with Paynter.
Bob Baffert was a Triple Crown bridesmaid, having fallen a neck short with Silver Charm before falling just a nose short with Real Quiet the following year. Espinoza had his shots, too, first on the Baffert-trained War Emblem in 2002 and then again last year aboard Califonia Chrome. American Pharoah gave the Zayats their first Derby winner and gave Baffert and Espinoza their long awaited Triple Crown.
“This horse is a dream come true” said Baffert. “God put him in my hands. I owe it all to him. This is American Pharoah.”
Indeed it is. The greatness that has transcended our sport is indeed American Pharoah. A horse who inspires confidence even when faced with the impossible, and the horse who makes dreams a reality. All hail the Triple Crown Champion. All Hail American Pharoah.