For the first time in 37 years, horse racing has a Triple Crown winner.
American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza did what many thought would not be done again on Saturday, leading the Belmont Stakes nearly wire to wire to take home Triple Crown for the first time since Affirmed did it in 1978. The victory snapped the longest Triple Crown drought in history, second only to the void from 1948-1973.
“It’s just unbelievable how things worked out,” Espinoza told reporters after the race. “I feel so good. I hope American Pharoah feels like me.”
The 1.5-mile race is typically called the “Test of the Champions.” Since 1978, American Pharoah was the 13th horse to attempt to win the Belmont Stakes after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. While the other 12 ultimately disappointed, this horse did not.
“I just feel like I have a very special horse,” trainer Bob Baffert told reporters. “It wasn’t me; it was the horse.”
The fans at Belmont Park roared as American Pharoah opened up a big lead on the final turn and cruised to victory, becoming only the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown. It was truly a historical moment.
Frosted finished second and Keen Ice finished third.