American Pharoah wins Belmont Stakes, becoming 1st Triple Crown winner since 1978
American Pharoah was victorious at the 147th Belmont Stakes Saturday, becoming the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown.
American Pharoah bested the fields at both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but the 1 1/2 mile run at Belmont had knocked 13 horses off track in their bid for the Triple Crown since the feat was last accomplished by Affirmed in 1978. American Pharoah is only the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown.
The promising 3-year-old horse was the favorite in the race, but faced some challenges. He conquered the race against seven rested horses that had sat out at least one of the Triple Crown races over the past five weeks.
The distance was longer than in the other two races — the Kentucky Derby track is 1 1/4 mile and the Preakness track is 1 3/16 mile.
Rain early in the day in Elmont, New York, also made the sandy track even softer, but American Pharoah proved at both the Preakness and Kentucky Derby that he can deftly handle a soggy course.
The sold out race was witnessed by 90,000 — the fortunate who nabbed tickets in case history was made and now, will forever be able to say they were there.
The Preakness brought American Pharoah's winning streak to six, and Saturday's rare achievement made seven. Owner Ahmed Zayat, who is involved in a number of legal disputes, adds $800,000 to his fortune.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Victor Espinoza will also be celebrated for decades — but likely not as much as American Pharoah, whose name will forever be associated with an elite group of colts that captured the elusive Triple Crown.