American Pharaoh won the third leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont in a race that inspires an industry. Frosted came in second, and Keen Ice took 3rd away from Mubtaahij in the final seconds.

Although many have come close, including California Chrome in 2014 and I’ll Have Another in 2012 no other  horse has won all three races to take the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing since Affirmed in 1978 until today . The 37 year drought along with a raised public awareness about the sport brought huge numbers of viewers to the Belmont Stakes via simulcast centers and home televisions that can now bring the track directly to novice and seasoned fan’s living rooms on high definition wide screen televisions and full wall projectors.

With less than an hour to post time American Pharaoh had taken in nearly $6 million in wagers, nearly half of all staked, while Frammento had raised his odds to 18-1 from a dismal 30:1 the day before. Frammento started from post #4, next to American Pharaoh at #5.

Leading up to the race, family and friends were gathered in reflective quietude and American Pharaoh jockey Victor Espinoza commented that he hadn’t had much sleep, before heading to the treadmill to sharpen up. Espinoza has had two previous opportunities to take the Triple Crown and trainer Bob Baffert has had three. No other rider has had three chances at the coveted award and Espinoza was the first to try two years in a row.  At 43 he is the oldest rider to take the Triple Crown. Braffert followed up Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins in 1997, 1998, and 2002.

The jockeys came onto the paddock en masse to pose for the official jockey portrait at about 6:25. Analysts had predicted at that time that the end result would be American Pharaoh 1, Frosted 2, and Materiality 3. Handicappers were suggesting Frosted would take the race due to the pressure on American Pharaoh from Materiality. When the Belmont Stakes Buglers did First Call and the race was announced, the horses and riders came out to rousing cheers from the crowd and the piping of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York.

 

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