Not since 1978 has the horse racing world witnessed a Triple Crown Winner, when Affirmed became the eleventh winner of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
Since Affirmed’s magical 1978 run there have been 14 other horses that have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown races, but could not close out a victory in the Belmont Stakes to complete the sweep.
Zayat Stable’s American Pharoah took the next step toward racing immortality by becoming that 14th horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown. American Pharoah dominated the competition by seven lengths at Saturday’s 140th running of the Preakness A. at Pimlico in Baltimore, MD.
“This is a dream come true,” owner Ahmed Zayat said after the race. “God willing, he comes out of his race well, and we could be talking about history.”
American Pharoah has been viewed as a superstar since winning back-to-back Grade 1 races as a juvenile last year, and his performance in the muddy slop that was the Preakness has made him a heavy favorite in the Belmont Stakes.
However, that doesn’t mean the Triple Crown – and history – is American Pharoah’s for the taking.
We have seen it before where a horse looks absolutely invincible coming into the Belmont Stakes, after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, only to come up short.
Many racing enthusiasts and trainers say the reason why winning the Triple Crown is so difficult is because horses are now trained to be fast and win early on, whereas it’s stamina that is really needed in the final race of the Triple Crown.
The other issue that stacks the odds against a Triple Crown winner, one that has gotten quite a bit of attention in recent years, is the fact that there will be a couple of horses running in the Belmont Stakes that did not run in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness – so they will be incredibly well rested and raring to go.
Regardless of the odds, racing fans everywhere are hoping to witness history at the Belmont Stakes and have that Triple Crown drought end with American Pharoah. And the bottom line is this – it takes a combination of talent, luck, and perseverance for any horse to win all three jewels of the Triple Crown.