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Why a horse race means so much

By: John Galletley

American Pharoah's capture of the Triple Crown is one of the greatest achievements in sports history, especially with today's rules of horse racing.

American Pharoah’s capture of the Triple Crown is one of the greatest achievements in sports history, especially with today’s rules of horse racing.

Finally! After 37 years, we can finally say there is a Triple Crown winner. American Pharoah joins elite company as only the 12th horse to ever capture the illusive title. American Pharoah will not only be remembered as the horse that broke the streak, but also causing one of the greatest sports moments in recent memory and one of the greatest horses in the history of the sport.

People may question why a horse that won a two-minute race will be one of the most memorable moments in this generation of sports. The answer is because there was nothing in this era of sports that was more difficult to accomplish. Imagine a team like the New York Yankees having to win three World Series in a row while other teams only had to play half the games. That was the hurdle American Pharoah had to overcome.

We have been teased for potential Triple Crown winners before but one way or another, they all failed. A couple of notables are Silver Charm and Real Quiet losing by less than a length, War Emblem stumbling out of the gate, Smarty Jones blowing his lead at the very end, I’ll Have Another getting scratched before the Belmont, and just last year California Chrome being stepped on. It was a fair question to ask why American Pharoah would not avoid this same fate.

There was no doubt American Pharoah had legitimate talent going in. He dominated the Arkansas Derby to make himself a favorite in the Kentucky Derby which he won in an exciting finish over Firing Line and Dortmund before running away from the field in a muddy Preakness Stakes. The only thing left to wonder now was if American Pharoah had reserves to win a third race in such a short time span.

It turns out, those were only appetizers for his performance in the Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah was able to take the lead out of the gate. He continued to hold it going into the home stretch and most people had to think he was not going to be able to keep up that pace. Not only did he keep it up, he created distance from his competition as he cruised to the finish line to win the Triple Crown.

American Pharoah won the race from wire to wire, never relinquishing the lead. He also had the sixth fastest time in Belmont history at 2:26:65. To do both of those things are impressive enough, but add on to the fact that he ran three races in six weeks, you are looking at quite a remarkable horse.

Being a Triple Crown winner already puts you with the best of the best, but American Pharoah has an argument to be in the top tier of the top tier horses. Statistically, he has proved himself to be elite and he defied the odds by today’s standards.

Back in the old days, more horses ran all three races and also ran a higher quantity of races. Nowadays, more horses skip the Preakness or both to be fresh for the Belmont to not only improve their chances of winning, but to also potentially play spoiler.

American Pharoah overcame all of those odds and still won the Belmont Stakes with ease. It’s amazing that something so difficult can look so easy when the best of the best are the ones doing it. Is he a Secretariat or Citation? Probably not. But American Pharoah proved he is among the top five or ten horses ever with one of the most impressive races to date.

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Want to talk sports? John Galletley is the man to go to. He has been following sports of all kinds since he was a child but had a first love for baseball being in a family of Yankees fans. He also loves to travel and has used sports in order to do this including taking several road trips to MLB stadiums and other sports venues. John has always dreamed of working in the sports world and wants to make his way there as a writer in order to follow the philosophy of never working a day in your life if you love what you do.

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