The keys to American Pharoah's ride to Triple Crown history
NEW YORK (AP) American Pharoah made his own luck in winning the Belmont Stakes, ending the 37-year Triple Crown drought.
The colt with the short tail forced the issue right at the start and set the pace for the entire 1 1/2 mile lap around the Belmont Park oval.
He wasn't dependent on a trip, or the moves of any rival.
Victor Espinoza rode the colt with supreme confidence and American Pharoah responded with a 5 1/2 length victory.
At no point was the outcome in doubt once American Pharoah bounded out of the gate, leaving seven rivals chasing in vain.
The keys to the victory:
So many races are lost at the break when a horse stumbles or hits the starting gate. Espinoza knows that from hard experience. His first Triple Crown try in 2002 ended when War Emblem stumbled badly and finished eighth. No worries this time. American Pharoah got away clean, and immediately glided over to the rail.
PRESSURE NEVER MATERIALIZED
As expected, Materiality tried to prompt the pace. The Florida Derby winner ranged into second, to American Pharoah's outside. Materiality was unable to hook the leader as American Pharoah maintained his high cruising speed, holding that rival comfortably at bay on the run down the backstretch.
PLENTY LEFT IN TANK
Turning for home, American Pharoah was rolling along on a two-length lead when Frosted picked up the chase. For a fleeting moment, it appeared the gray colt might take a run at American Pharoah.
And just a quickly, it was over. American Pharoah kicked away as Joel Rosario implored Frosted to keep pace.
No wonder. American Pharoah ran the final quarter mile in 24.32 seconds, even faster than Secretariat's 25 second final quarter in his record-setting Belmont victory in 1973.