The dream of the first Triple Crown hero in 37 years is alive and well after American Pharoah decimated his rivals in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on Sunday morning.
The Triple Crown – which consists of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes – is the biggest prize when it comes to horse racing in the United States of America and has proved elusive in recent years.
Since Affirmed claimed all three races in 1978, the challenge has been too much.
American Pharoah is the 14th horse since then to win the first two legs and looks as good a chance as any of breaking the drought after a dominant performance.
Stepping out a short-priced favourite, jockey Victor Espinoza took the star three-year-old straight to the lead in front of a record crowd of 131,680 that defied the wet conditions.
The rain didn’t bother American Pharoah though, who controlled the race from the front and cruised away to win by seven lengths and setting up a potential dream scenario at Belmont in three weeks.
The Triple Crown dream is no stranger to Espinoza, who has been in this situation twice before with War Emblem (2002) and California Chrome (2014) while legendary trainer Bob Baffert is having his fourth shot at the coveted prize.
Baffert has been in this position before with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002).
“Great horses do great things and he showed that today,” Baffert said afterwards.
This is one of the only times of the year racing gets into the mainstream media in the USA and the build up will be enormous.
The Belmont Stakes will be held on Sunday morning, June 7 (Australian time).