Triple Crown winning American Pharaoh races to win at Breeders Cup in final appearance of career
American Pharaoh races to win in final appearance
SHOWS: LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, UNITED STATES (OCTOBER 31, 2015)(HAMMOND COMMUNICATIONS/BREEDERS CUP-ACCESS ALL)
1. NEWS CONFERENCE AFTER RACE (SEATED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) AMERICAN PHARAOH’S RACING MANAGER JUSTIN ZAYAT, JOCKEY VICTOR ESPINOZA, OWNER AHMED ZAYAT, TRAINER BOB BAFFERT AND HIS SON BODE
2. (SOUNDBITE)(English) TRAINER BOB BAFFERT SAYING:
“I’m just so proud of Pharaoh, what he did today just watching him turn for home, it was just, it’s just probably the greatest, you know, horse I’ll ever be involved with and I’ve had some really nice horses but I’ve just never seen anything like him, never trained anything like him and I’m just so, he is a gift from god and I’m just glad that Pharaoh — he goes out the champ that he is and it’s going to be sad to see him go but you know I think he’s done enough, he’s proved enough, but we’re gonna miss him though aren’t we Bode (turns to his son).”
3. (SOUNDBITE)(English) JOCKEY VICTOR ESPINOSA SAYING:
“And I saw the wire (finish line) maybe 20 yards and for me it was not coming fast enough because I want to cross and get it over with and you know American Pharaoh is one of the best horses that I ever probably going to ride.”
4. (SOUNDBITE)(English) OWNER AHMED ZAYAT SAYING:
“What could you say I mean what a horse! The kindest, friendliest, happiest, easiest ,most brilliant horse I’ve ever seen in my life, we’ve been very privileged.”
5. WIDE NEWS CONFERENCE
STORY: Triple Crown winner American Pharoah won the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday (October 31) to end his career as horse racing’s first-ever Grand Slam champion.
The Bob Baffert-trained colt, who earlier this year became the 12th horse — and first since Affirmed in 1978 — to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, romped to a commanding 6 1/2 length victory over a fading Effinex to bring the curtain down on a spectacular career. Honor Code was a distant third.
“I’m just so proud of Pharaoh,” said Baffert afterwards.
“It’s going to be sad to see him go but you know I think he’s done enough, he’s proved enough.”
Since winning the Triple Crown and cementing his place in racing history, American Pharoah won the Haskell Invitational but finished second in the Travers Stakes on August 29 at Saratoga in New York.
Breaking from the number four post the three-year-old colt showed no signs of rust from the extended layoff, charging to the front and never surrendering the lead.
The 3/5 favourite controlled the pace over the entire 1 1/4 test, pulling away from the pack on the final turn to the thundering approval of a packed grandstand that had come to witness history.
Even with twice Breeders Cup winner Beholder having to pull out of the Classic due to injury, the field was rated the toughest ever faced by American Pharoah but the colt made it look easy as he would not let anyone spoil his farewell party, demolishing the competition under a perfect ride from jockey Victor Espinoza.
“American Pharaoh is one of the best horses,” praised an emotional Espinoza.
American Pharoah heads into retirement having won nine of 11 career races and capturing the imagination of sports fans.
“What can I say? What a horse! He is the most brilliant horse I have ever seen,” gushed owner Ahmed Zayat.