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First Triple Crown winner since 1978, American Pharaoh wins 147th Belmont Stakes
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American Pharaoh became the first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown when he won the 147th Belmont Stakes Saturday. Pharaoh's jockey Victor Espinoza pushed his ride to the front after the race started. Pharaoh outclassed the field, pulling away down the stretch to make racetrack history. Frosted finished second, and Keen Ice rounded out the top three.
Jockey Victor Espinoza rode American Pharaoh during this year's Triple Crown races.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion, American Pharaoh began Saturday as a 3-to-5 favorite in the betting line. Pharaoh started from the fifth position in a field of eight.
He became the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, beginning with Sir Barton in 1919 and most recently Affirmed in 1978.
After Affirmed's Triple Crown win, 12 horses won the first two legs of the Triple, only to lose the bid at the Belmont, either because of an upset or because they did not start or complete the race.
Jockey Espinoza rode American Pharaoh during this year's Triple Crown races. It was the second straight year Espinoza went to Belmont with a chance at the mark. Espinoza was the jockey of California Chrome last year. Espinoza also rode War Emblem to the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 2002 before finishing eighth at Belmont.
For American Pharaoh trainer Bob Baffert, Saturday marked his fourth shot at the Triple Crown. He also trained Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998 and War Emblem, teaming with Espinoza for that attempt.
Owned by Zayat Stables, American Pharaoh's stables are headed by Ahmed Zayat. Bred by the stable and was born in February 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky, Pharaoh is the son of Pioneer of the Nile, who finished second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.
Ahmed Zayat had said before Belmont that American Pharaoh likely would retire at the end of 2015. Zayat also announced that Pharaoh would stand at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky, from which he fetched an undisclosed stud fee that, Zayat announced, would escalate based on performance.
Justin Zayat, son of Ahmed Zayat said that the stable rejected offers of more than $20 million from breeding farms in May.
A bay colt with a white star on his forehead, Pharaoh outraced Firing Line and Dortmund, among others, to win the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on May 2. Two weeks later, Pharaoh outclassed a field that again included Dortmund and Mr. Z to win 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes on a sloppy course after a heavy rainstorm.
The Belmont Stakes, at 1 1/2 miles, is longer than either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown and is thus known as the "Test of the Champion."
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