The Latest: It’s a Triple Crown for American Pharoah
NEW YORK (AP) — At long last, a Triple Crown!
American Pharoah ended a record 37-year drought without a Triple Crown winner by soaring to victory in the Belmont Stakes on a historic Saturday in front of 90,000 cheering fans.
The brilliant 3-year-old colt seized the lead from the start and fought off every one of his seven challengers, and made no doubt he was worthy of Triple Crown glory by refusing to wilt in the final quarter-mile of the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion.”
What a win for the record books. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert failed on three previous Triple Crown attempts, and jockey Victor Espinoza was 0 for 2 in Triple attempts, including last year with California Chrome.
A roar from the crowd went up as soon as American Pharoah came around the far turn, and it Belmont Park was rocking when the colt came barreling down the stretch.
American Pharoah, who won the Kentucky Derby on May 2 and the Preakness on May 16, won by 5 1/2 lengths over Frosted.
“He’s just a great horse,” Baffert said. “It takes a great horse to do it.”
The winning time was 2:26.65.
“I’m thrilled,” said Penny Chenery, the 93-year-old owner of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who was in a private box at Belmont. To owner Ahmed Zayat, she said, “Welcome.”