When American Pharoah crossed the wire in the Belmont Stakes in first, his name became immortalized. He truly wouldn’t have to accomplish much else to have the racing world bowing down out as feet.
He was the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years and just the 12th horse to ever do it in all of racing history. He had placed the hopes and dreams of horse racing fans upon his back and carried us on a journey that we would never forget. His career could have been over at that very moment and the world would still rock t-shirts with his name on them and plaster pictures of him all over their walls (both physically and digitally). But, he didn’t stop there. His connections put their horse on a mission to do something no other horse had ever done before: win The Grand Slam.
The Grand Slam consists of four races: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes (Triple Crown) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. No other horse in history had the opportunity to win all four races before. The last Triple Crown had been won in 1978 and the Breeders’ Cup hadn’t formed until 1984. But from 1984 to 2015, the Breeders’ Cup Classic had made a name for itself as one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. To win a horse not only has to beat the best horses from their crop, but also the best horses of any age from ALL over the world.
American Pharoah would have to prove himself as not only the best horse in his own age range, but also as the best dirt horse in the world. He would be facing Met Mile and Whitney winner Honor Code, Travers Stakes winner Keen Ice, Suburban Handicap winner Effenix, and more.
In addition to the pressure of possibly winning the first Grand Slam in horse racing history, American Pharoah was also facing the pressure of making his final career start a memorable one. The world wanted him to go out a star.
As the field loaded into Keeneand’s starting gates for the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic, butterflies bounced around in the stomachs of everyone watching. The crowd erupted into cheers as the gates flew open and American Phaorah bounded to the lead.
American Pharoah galloped along leisurely with his ears perked. He looked to be floating over the track. His powerful stride carried him with absolute ease and efficiency.
The field rounded the far turn and jockey Victor Espinoza urged Phaorah slightly. The colt responded tremendously, opening up on his competitors with so much ease that it was unbelievable. The crowd screamed and cheered as the Triple Crown winner put his ears back and got to work, soaring down the stretch. It quickly became clear that no one would catch him.
“American Pharoah comes into his final furlong and he’s got a five..a six length lead as they come to the wire,” called Larry Collmus from the announcers booth. “A Triple Crown winner, a Breeders’ Cup Winner, a horse of a lifetime!”
American Pharoah flew under the wire far ahead of his competitors. Victor Espinoza raised his whip in triumph. Racing fans in the grandstands and on their couches felt tears of joys rolling down their cheeks. Twice American Pharoah had allowed us all to witness history.
The colt paraded in front of the grandstands and everyone hurried to catch a glimpse of him. He had truly “gone out in style”.
[Video: Watch American Pharoah win the Breeders' Cup Classic]
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