In recent years, the infrastructure of horse racing in America has been under siege. The problems include race day medication debates, animal treatment issues, rule violations, betting scandals and a rapidly decreasing thoroughbred population.
Much of the population issue relates to ineffective breeding of durable animals with a shifting focus to speed instead of endurance. This is an important issue because it is often used as an explanation as to why the nation had been waiting for a Triple Crown winner for 37 years.
The American Triple Crown
In order to achieve this daunting task, the trainer, jockey and horse have to compete in and win the Kentucky Derby (1 1/4 miles), Preakness Stakes (1 3/16 miles) and the Belmont Stakes (1 1/2 miles) all within a five-week period starting on the first Saturday in May.
Through 2014, only 11 horses were ever able to accomplish this feat with the last one being Affirmed in 1978.
In 2015, America’s anticipation of the next Triple Crown winner came to screeching halt when American Pharoah, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Victor Espinosa, came storming down the stretch at Belmont Park to become the first TC winner in 37 years.
After several near misses in the last few years (Sunday Silence – 1989, Silver Charm – 1997, Real Quiet – 1998, Big Brown – 2008, California Chrome – 2014), fans expressed their delight and gave off a collective roar in approval of American Pharoah’s march into the history books as he crossed the finish line.
Horse Racing’s Salvation
In recent years, there has been a not so silent call for a racing champion to step up and grab the future of America’s horse racing industry. Crowds at racetracks throughout the country have been shrinking at an alarming rate as racing fans have watched racing star after racing star fall to injury or end up in retirement long before getting a chance to inspire potential racing fans to go to the race track.
With American Pharoah’s amazing accomplishment, there are high hopes that the industry has found the hero for which it has longed. If American Pharoah’s first eight races are any indication of what’s to come in the future, American horse racing has indeed found its salvation.
American Pharoah’s Racing Career
After finishing 4th in a useful maiden race in July of 2014, American Pharoah won the Grade I Del Mar Futurity in only the second start of his career. After annexing the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes as a prep for the Grade I Breeders Cup Juvenile, American Pharoah went the sidelines with a minor injury.
The good news was he had done enough to capture the 2014 Eclipse Award for Best Two-Year-Old Colt/Gelding. He remained on the sidelines until he made his three-year-old debut in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He crushed a decent field and confirmed his place as a Kentucky Derby contender.
By the time he easily handled his opponents in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, racing fans began to realize horse racing was poised for something special. American Pharoah just kept getting better and did not disappoint. After a hard-fought victory in the Kentucky Derby, he was simply unbeatable in his quest for the Crown.
Since his breeding rights have already been sold to Ashford Stud, American Pharoah will probably be retired at the end of 2015. In the next few months and with any luck, this new American Hero will probably run four more times.
His next scheduled race will be on August 1st in The Grade II Jim Dandy or the Grade I Haskell. If all goes well, it’s on to the “Mid-Summer Derby” where he will try to become only the second horse in history to win the Triple Crown and the historic Grade I Travers.
After another prep race, American Pharoah will be pointed to the Grade I Breeders Cup Classic and a possible showdown with 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. If he wins, racing fans will get the storybook ending they want, need and deserve.
If you want to find the best odds on any of his upcoming races, there is a number of online sports books that will feature them. By race day, his odds will be short. Therefore, it’s possible to catch the best betting odds by shopping early.
Author Bio: This article was written by Tony Samboras who is an expert in horse racing and has had several of his articles published on a variety of websites. He writes professionally for an Australian-based website that can be found at www.odds.com.au.