If you’ve been paying attention, you’re already well aware that 2015 was a legendary year in the world of horse racing as American Pharoah emerged as a standout racehorse and shocked the world with his jaw-dropping performances in horse racing’s most noteworthy events.
In 2015, all this horse did was win. He was an unstoppable force, dominating nearly everything in his path and absolutely destroying the competition to carve out his own destiny and cement his name in the history books. American Pharoah was voted American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse for the 2014 Eclipse Awards in spite of being unable to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but no one expected the show he would put on starting the following spring.
After getting off to a strong start by winning the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March 2015, American Pharoah went on to clinch first place in the Arkansas Derby the next month in an incredible build-up to the Kentucky Derby. He was listed as a 2.9-1 favorite in a field of 18 horses for the Kentucky Derby in May, but his fellow contenders had impressive résumés as well and proved to be extremely aggressive competition. American Pharoah couldn’t seem to shake Dortmund through the majority of the race, but ended up winning the 2015 Kentucky Derby by a length.
Just a couple of weeks later, American Pharoah took the Preakness Stakes after starting from the rail – a feat that no horse had accomplished since 1994. The track was in rough shape after being drenched with rain prior to the start of the race, but fortunately, American Pharoah had experience running in less-than-favorable conditions during the Rebel Stakes. He kept the lead throughout the race and ended up winning by 7 lengths!
Though he was the favorite heading into the race, there were some who had their doubts about whether American Pharoah could win the Belmont Stakes after nailing the other two legs of the Triple Crown™. Could he repeat past performances and become the first horse to win the Triple Crown™ since Affirmed in 1978? Attendees were treated to an amazing performance by American Pharoah, finishing five and a half lengths ahead of his closest competition and sealing his status as the 12th official winner of the Triple Crown™!
Breeders’ Cup Classic
After competing in a couple of other races, American Pharoah entered the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he would face several older and more seasoned challengers. Unfortunately, the extraordinary mare who was expected to be his biggest competition – Beholder – was forced to withdraw due to a temporary lung issue. American Pharoah breezed his way to a finish six and a half lengths ahead of his closest competitor, Effinex, and become the first horse in history to secure the unofficial “Grand Slam” of horse racing. Relive the excitement of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic below!
The Breeders’ Cup Classic was American Pharoah’s last hurrah before retirement, and it was a fitting end for the champion.
Witness the Emergence of the Next Champion
Will we see back-to-back Triple Crown™ winners? It wouldn’t be the first time – it happened in 1977 and 1978, thanks to racing legends Seattle Slew and Affirmed. American Pharoah proved to us this year that nothing is impossible, and we can’t see what this year’s two-year-old crop has in store for 2016!
If you haven’t already reserved your spot at the 2016 Kentucky Derby, there’s no better time! Churchill Downs has begun renovations to its premium seating areas that will be finished by May and promise an updated elegance along with the luxury you’ve come to expect from this historic venue. Guests with premium packages will be out of the elements as they enjoy privileged views of the track and high-end amenities such as gourmet dining, open bars, outdoor viewing platforms and private wagering stations. Three nights of luxurious hotel accommodations can be had at The Galt House, Embassy Suites Louisville-Downtown and The Seelbach hotels.
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