One of racing’s biggest droughts has been broken with American Pharoah becoming the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown in the USA.
American Pharoah raced into history with a dominant all-the-way victory in the Belmont Stakes on Sunday morning in front of a capacity crowd of 90,000.
The three-year-old colt is the 12th winner of the Triple Crown series – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes – and the first since Affirmed in 1978.
After being named champion two-year-old, American Pharoah had all of his rivals covered, getting home by five and a half lengths to record his seventh straight victory.
For trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Victor Espinoza, it’s the pinnacle of their careers after enduring previous close shaves in the series.
This was Baffert’s fourth Triple Crown try, having fallen short in 1997, 1998 and 2002 while Espinoza had won the first two legs in 2002 and last year with California Chrome.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” Baffert said.
“I couldn’t be happier.”
Despite the challenge in front of him, Espinoza revealed he was bullish about his chances.
“I come here with a lot of confidence – more confidence than anywhere,” Espinoza said.
“This time I had so much confidence in American Pharoah.
“That trophy caused me a lot of stress. But the third time is the charm.”
American Pharoah joined the ranks of Triple Crown winners Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed.