American Pharoah Walks It Home In the Haskell

We will never, ever get tired of watching this beautiful horse perform. Here’s the scoop on Sunday’s Haskell victory!

American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes. Diana Robinson/Flickr/CC

American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes. Diana Robinson/Flickr/CC

In his first race since rewriting the history books with a Triple Crown sweep — the first in 37 years — American Pharoah strolled under the wire out in front at Monmouth Park on Sunday, August 2, 2015 in the Haskell Invitational. A record crowd of over 60,000 fans swelled the stands at the New Jersey track to catch a glimpse of “America’s horse,” making him the unsurprising favorite at 1-10.

A few echoes from the Triple Crown campaign made a valiant attempt to conquer the Pharoah, with Upstart (a Derby runner) and Keen Ice (another Derby contender and third in the Belmont) the standouts in the seven-horse field. Competitive Edge headed to an early lead, with American Pharoah stalking him easily just on the outside. But at the quarter pole, AP simply pulled away, and from there, the race was basically over.

Down the stretch, American Pharoah loped, ears pricked characteristically forward, Victor Espinoza riding easy in the irons having never needed to go for the whip. I guess we can give a little credit to Keen Ice, who rallied up from fifth or sixth and covered plenty of crown to rocket forward to second; while it looks like the margin between first and second was certainly shrinking at the wire, keep in mind that AP wasn’t being asked to do much of anything other than what was necessary to win. But hey — good on you, Keen Ice, you ran a good race.

While no official plans have been announced for American Pharoah’s next start, many are hoping to see the colt head to Saratoga’s Travers next. The ultimate goal remains the Breeders Cup Classic, with AP heading to Ashford Stud, the prestigious Coolmore’s American outpost.

What did American Pharoah’s team have to say about the Haskell victory?

Jockey Victor Espinoza: “He did everything by himself. It was pretty easy, pretty impressive.”

Owner Ahmed Zayat: “It’s very rare that I’m speechless, but I am extremely proud […] this is a superstar. He has touched everybody’s heart.”

Trainer Bob Baffert: “This horse, he just keeps bringing it. He’s just a great horse.”

And what did American Pharoah himself have to say? Just his usual ears forward, easy flowing stride, running for home:

Go American Pharoah, and go riding!

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