Wrapping up American Pharoah’s spectacular Triple Crown

Profile Picture: James Scully

June 10th, 2015

Emotional best describes the scene at Belmont Park following American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown victory, a wild celebration built upon 37 years of waiting.

Finishing full of run through the Belmont stretch, the freakish three-year-old turned a short lead into a widening 5 ½-length advantage and his grand performance resulted in an outpouring of adulation that lasted well after the race.

Unraced from September to March, American Pharoah is still improving. He’s won seven straight stakes races, the Belmont representing a career-best in my eyes as he posts impressive front-running victories nearly every time.

The Kentucky Derby serves as the lone exception, an off day that put American Pharoah to the test. The workmanlike one-length decision proved misleading, especially to those foolhardy souls (me included) who tried to beat the superstar in the next two legs of the Triple Crown. 

American Pharoah dominated the Preakness and Belmont Stakes with considerable ease, leaving the impression he has more to offer.

Owner Ahmed Zayat said he’s committed to racing American Pharoah through the end of the year, a sporting gesture given the colt’s enormous breeding value. It makes sense as well because there’s little to fear about facing older horses.

They’ll likely join the cast of runners left in American Pharoah’s wake.

Not everybody was thrilled to see the Triple Crown realized. Contrarians were still beating the same tired diatribe criticizing competition, final times and perfect trips despite the historical significance and worthiness of the two-year-old champion.

Contrarians set the bar too high for any modern-day Thoroughbred and probably still won’t give American Pharoah credit if he wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

I don’t know where American Pharoah ranks all-time, but there’s no denying he’s special, a wonderful horse who provided a jolt of enthusiasm to his sport.

American Pharoah photo courtesy of Dave Alcosser/Adam Coglainese Photography