FILE - In this July 14, 2015, file photo, Triple Crown champion American Pharaoh stands in the stables of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Tuesday in Del Mar, Ca. American Pharoah, NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Masters and U.S. Open champ Jordan Spieth are the t
Lenny Ignelzi, File
December 21, 2015

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Masters and U.S. Open champ Jordan Spieth are the leading candidates for The Associated Press 2015 Male Athlete of the Year award.

The AP announced the top three vote-getters Monday, and the winner will be announced Saturday.

The AP sports writers who cover the athletes wrote summaries of their 2015 achievements.

- American Pharoah was the first in nearly 40 years to capture the most coveted prize in his sport. He earned $8.3 million in less than eight months, and he's currently worth about $20 million. He could wind up as the most valuable athlete in the history of his sport. He also packed the house everywhere he showed up and put on performances that had sports fans in awe, standing and cheering, knowing they might never see another athlete like him. His game was breathtaking, his style overpowering, and he carried a sport on his shoulders for nearly the entire year. He drew record crowds even when he trained, or just walked around. He won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes - the first to pull off the feat since 1978. And in a glorious farewell run for the ages, he blew away the field in the Breeders' Cup Classic. - AP Racing Writer Richard Rosenblatt

- Stephen Curry captured the MVP and the hearts and minds of basketball fans around the globe, who were captivated by the Golden State star and his toddler daughter, Riley, as the Warriors won their first championship in 40 years. And Curry has only gotten better. Even his coach, Steve Kerr, had no idea Curry - with that meticulous shooting routine - could take it to another level as Golden State set an NBA record for the best start to a season at 24-0. - AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley

- Jordan Spieth's accomplishments stand alone, and they are accentuated by context. The combined winning score in all four major championships this year was 58-under par. Spieth was 54-under par. He was the first wire-to-wire winner at the Masters in 39 years. He won the U.S. Open to join Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to get halfway to the Grand Slam since 1960. He was tied for the lead at the British Open with two holes to play. He played in the final group of the PGA Championship. He earned a record $22 million this year - $1 million for each of his 22 years. - AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson

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