Whoa! Welcome to you and hello from my barn to yours. I know it’s been a while but Pudge and I purposely waited until after the Belmont Stakes was run before we made our comments on the Triple Crown races. It’s been a thrilling 5 weeks to say the least, just amazing.
The Road to the Roses was so exciting and we had a great time watching all those wonderful prep races and then reporting on them. Watching the replays did not make it any easier to narrow down our picks. This year’s crop of year olds are pretty darn good. There were some standouts and then right before the Derby, many had made their choice but some commented that American Pharoah would have to be pretty spectacular in the Arkansas Derby to sway them. Well lo and behold that is exactly what happened. American Pharoah blew that field away impressively and so we focused next on the Kentucky Derby.
The gates opened that first Saturday in May and wallah, under the urging of Victor Espinoza, we saw American Pharoah pull off the win. Still we were not sure, we waited for the Preakness. We thought that perhaps American Pharoah had to work too hard for that win and perhaps he might be tired. Soon we were to find out that he was more than fine and looked brilliant in his subsequent works that followed as he prepared for the Preakness. Many said on race day that he looked magnificent and ready to run. Still some had to be convinced. It did not take long though because after the huge downpour on Baltimore as the race was about to begin, we remembered that American Pharoah had excelled in slop before!! The gates opened, he was out in front gate to wire and that was it. He won the Preakness in such a convincing fashion if there were any doubters before Pudge and I thought for sure they would know he was the “real” deal!
Onward to Churchill Downs he went and he drilled for the Belmont. Many wondered why he did not go to Belmont Park after the Preakness but Bob Baffert had gone through this before and he knew it could be hard in New York. Many distractions and all that. Not that it is bad, but Baffert felt for his colt he wanted him to relax and rest and be focused for the big race ahead. Once again the colt did his works in brilliant fashion and each day Pudge and I would hear about how good he came out of the race and how confident the connections were that the colt was up to the task.
Finally the long awaited day for him to arrive with his entourage at Belmont came. The pictures snapped and they came out in droves to give him the hero’s welcome to New York. In the meantime, American Pharoah’s competition were waiting, ready and anxious to get the win at Belmont too. Fresh horses too! This was going to be an important race with the Triple Crown on the line. Bob Baffert had him ready, his owners felt confident as did his jockey. But also we saw that the connections of the competition were pretty pleased with how their horses were doing as well. No one was going to hand this win to American Pharoah without a fight.
Finally it was race day at Belmont Park. The electricity about this race was so thick you could feel it with all your senses. Pudge and I were nervous wrecks but we also felt pretty good. American Pharoah had a decent post position, he was conditioned, he came out of the two previous races in good shape, he kept his weight and had a good appetite, connections were confident. The only thing now was to wait for the gates to swing open and away they go call from Larry Coulmus!
The gates opened sharply and American Pharoah broke a touch slow, but a couple of hops and he was out in front! He was in front the whole way and took the win in commanding fashion as floated over the track. His margin was 5 and 1/2 lengths over Frosted who gave his all and not only that it was the fastest Triple Crown time and the 3rd fastest Belmont Stakes race. Only Secretariat the tremendous machine did it faster and his record continues to stand. But like Secretariat, American Pharoah fought off his opponents one by one and his fractions were faster with each furlong. That is just something we have not seen since Secretariat ran in the Belmont.
Pudge and I are still in amazed tears today and I think that we always will be. American Pharoah did what for 37 years had not been done. Many came close but only yesterday did it finally happen. This is a tremendous achievement and not an easy one too. What makes this one so utterly beyond belief is how he looked as he did it! American Pharoah has such a beautiful gliding stride that it looked like a walk in the park. It was smooth and effortless – at least that is how he looks when he runs. A magnificent specimen of talent that is out of bounds, actually no words that Pudge or I know of could do it justice to describe just how beautiful he does it. Even after the race he looked like he was ready for what’s next.
What is next is that we hope to see him in a few more races before he goes to Coolmore Ashford Stud at the end of the year to start his next career. His owners, his trainer and all his connections did a great job with him and we have been blessed to witness such greatness. One that will remain in our hearts forever.
His connections fondly think of him as pet because he has such a calm and pleasant personality. He has the will to win, but at the same time is kind and thoughtful.
He is a true gift from God. May he enjoy his kingdom.
All for now,
Your friends in racing, Indy and Pudge ♥