With Belmont Victory, American Pharoah Takes Triple Crown and Place in History

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --  American Pharoah outclassed seven other horses, all of them more rested than he was, to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday and complete the elusive Triple Crown.

Finishing second, five and half lengths back, was Frosted. Keen Ice came in third.

As he accepted the Belmont trophy the owner of American Pharoah, Ahmed Zayat of Teaneck, N.J., said, "New Yorkers, all racing fans, this is for you."

The overwhelming favorite, American Pharoah paid $3.50 for a $2 bet to win. He covered the mile and a half in 2:26.65.

The bay horse with the unusually short tail became the 12th to capture the Triple Crown, joining Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978).

Trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Victor Espinoza, American Pharaoh came into the race as the overwhelming favorite in the eight-horse field and as a sentimental favorite among racing fans who wanted to see a Triple Crown champion for the first time since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978.

Baffert, who was disappointed in three previous Triple Crown attempts, said: "I'm very emotional. I'm thinking about my parents. I wish they were alive to see this."

One of the 90,000 people who did witness the race was Penny Chenery, who owned Secretariat, the Triple Crown winner whose time of 2:24 still holds up as the record in the Belmont Stakes. "I'm thrilled," the 93-year-old Chenery said after the race.

American Pharoah, who was the betting favorite, took the first jewel in the Triple Crown when he won the mile-and-a-quarter Kentucky Derby on May 2, outlasting Firing Line in a tight race down the homestretch.

Two weeks later, in the shorter Preakness Stakes on a muddy track, American Pharoah once again entered the race as the favorite and this time opened up a seven-length lead down the stretch.

None of the seven other horses in the Belmont field had run both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

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