American Pharaoh Triple Crown Bid Could Be Special

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Legendary Status and High Stud Fees Await American Pharaoh

By John Ventola

Six days after another annual Mother’s Day celebration, American Pharoah took to a rain-drenched Baltimore racetrack for the Preakness Stakes and paid his own homage, setting a pace only a mudder could love!

The three-year-old colt did not let a downpour that featured lightning bolts and thunder

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American Pharoah Romped To Muddy Preakness Win

distract him from his work at hand, easily romping through the mud to defeat his seven rivals by seven lengths. The victory matched the sixth largest margin of victory in the Preakness, and was the largest margin of a winning horse since Smarty Jones set the 11-1/2 length record in 2004.

Firing Line, who finished second to American Pharaoh in the Kentucky Derby by one length, never challenged in the Preakness and finished second to last in the eight horse field. Third place Derby finisher Dortmund, a stablemate of American Pharaoh, finished fourth in the Preakness. Tale of Verve and Divining Rod negotiated the muddy track to finish second and third, respectively.

After breaking slow from the gate in synchronization with a loud clap of thunder, American Pharaoh held off an early challenge by Mr. Z, and then coasted the remainder of the 1-3/16 mile distance to the win. He now has to prepare for the third leg of the Triple Crown, the 1.5 mile Belmont Stakes to be held in Elmont, New York on June 6th

Owned by Ahmed Zayat, a businessman from Egypt, who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, American Pharaoh will be the fourteenth horse with a chance to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978. Trainer Bob Baffert will have his unprecedented

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Trainer Bob Baffert To Make His Fourth Try At Triple Crown

fourth shot at pulling off the magical Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Triple. He won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, and War Emblem in 2002, but each horse fell short in the Belmont.

There have been 23 horses disappointed with results at Belmont Park after they won the Derby and Preakness. The Belmont has proven to be the more difficult race through the years, and this season none of the competition has ever run a mile and a half race.

Zayat sold breeding rights for American Pharaoh to Coolmore Stud just a couple of days after the Preakness victory, announcing that his Zayat Stables would retain 100% of the racing rights to the horse, and an undisclosed percentage for the horse’s breeding rights. After retirement the bay colt will be sent to Coolmore’s operation at Kentucky-based Ashford Stud. The deal was struck with American Pharaoh a dual winner and though, not announced, a large sweetener will be added should the horse become the first Triple Crown horse in 37 years.

There have been eleven Triple Crown winners in horseracing, Sir Barton (1919), Gallant

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Eleven Previous Triple Crown Winners

Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978).

Just as athletics look for superstars to represent and popularize various sports, horseracing has been seeking a competitive package of speed, endurance, and adaptability to come along for almost four decades. American Pharoah has won five of his six starts, losing only his first start last August when he finished fifth.

He has shown that he can win despite not having a top effort (one length, Kentucky Derby), and that he can adapt to track conditions and pull away (seven lengths in mud, Preakness). He has overcome starting along the rail (Preakness), and he has shown he can compete with many (17, Kentucky Derby) or few rivals (7, Preakness).

Zayat and Baffert hope to see American Pharoah draped in a blanket of Carnations after the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes, just as he was adorned with blankets of Roses and Black-eyed Susan in the winners circle after the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, respectively.

It would be good for the sport, and it would definitely increase the monetary amount of the breeding rights deal Zayat agreed to with Coolmore Stud.

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