Ahmed Zayat, third left, the owner of the racehorse American Pharoah, his son Justin, left, wife Joanne and Mexican jockey Victor Espinoza pose for photographers after receiving their Longines World's Best Racehorse award for American Pharaoh's achievemen
Matt Dunham
January 19, 2016

LONDON (AP) The American Pharoah victory lap has reached London.

If confirmation was needed, the U.S. Triple Crown-winning colt was officially chosen as the world's No. 1 racehorse in 2015.

The award by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities was collected at a ceremony in the British capital on Tuesday by Team Pharoah, led by owner Ahmed Zayat.

''It's a Cinderella ending to a Cinderella story,'' Zayat told The Associated Press.

''To have this kind of acceptance internationally, and to get the recognition that you are the No. 1 in the world, is a true fairytale.''

The ceremony at Claridge's hotel came three days after American Pharoah won Eclipse Awards in Florida for U.S. Horse of the Year and 3-year-old male champion. His victory in the Belmont made him the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, and the race was voted the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's moment of the year.

The colt, who swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes before capping his career with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic, is retired and standing at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky.

''Last year was just one of those years that every jockey in the world dreams to be in my spot,'' jockey Victor Espinoza said. ''To ride American Pharoah was different to every other horse I rode. To be on his back was like being on a cloud.

''I didn't feel like I was riding. I felt like I was flying in the air. He's one of a kind. To have a year like the one I had in my career was unforgettable.''

Golden Horn finished second in the awards, which are presented by Longines. The England-based colt won the Epsom Derby, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and finished second to Found in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

The award is determined by performance-based rankings from international handicappers.

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was chosen as the World's Best Horse Race by the IFHA.

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Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

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