Came out of the far turn. Squared his shoulders. To a deafening roar.


As American Pharoah came out of the far turn and squared his shoulders to let his rider Victor Espinoza stare down the long withering stretch of Belmont Park, a sense of inevitability surged through this mammoth old grandstand. The fans in a capacity crowd strained on the tips of their toes and let out a roar from deep in their souls. It was going to end, finally — this 37-year search for a great racehorse. […]

But as American Pharoah bounded into the stretch amid a deafening roar, the memories of the gritty Affirmed, the speedy Seattle Slew (1977) and that tremendous machine Secretariat (1973) were summoned from backside to grandstand, and rightfully so.

No one doubted that American Pharoah was about to enter the history books. He was bouncing down the lane as if jumping from one trampoline to another, and no one was going to catch him. […]

“The crowd was just thundering,” he said. “I was enjoying the crowd and the noise and everything happening.”

Materiality gave chase for a mile, but American Pharoah picked up his tempo and shook that rival off at the mile.

“Steady, steady,” Espinoza said to himself. […]

In the saddle, Espinoza felt a rush that had twice eluded him. He was on California Chrome last year and War Emblem for Baffert, only to remember how two very good colts staggered beneath him and the collective gasp of more than 100,000 disappointed people rustled within him. […]

But not this time — Espinoza dropped the reins on his colt and let the muscled bay take him home. When he was a boy in his native Mexico, Espinoza had been afraid of horses. Now, at 43, he knew they were a gift. Beneath him, American Pharoah’s strides were getting longer and longer, but Espinoza felt as if he were riding on a cloud.

“You don’t even feel him,” he said. “It feels like you are going in slow motion.”

~ Joe Drape, NY Times: Riding Into History by Five and a Half Lengths

Photo: TBO


  1. Those few special horses that win the Triple Crown are really amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An exciting race on a grand horse.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    History!! Secretariat & Affirmed!


  4. It’s amazing to read the press on this very special horse. And to see seasoned reporters crying as they walked up to give him a pat–an incredible moment, a magnificent animal, a lovely moment in history. Feel lucky to have been around for it…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How great was that!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Peggy Farrell Schroeder says:

    American Pharoah was amazing. It was as if he wanted the title as much as the owner, trainer and jockey.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I cried! So exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. as he glides through the air –

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Last two paragraphs were fantastic…it takes a well trained jockey to know when to let the horse lead the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. David, I am so glad you posted this! I missed the race because I never heard a thing in the media. I knew that American Pharaoh won the Kentucky Derby but that was last I heard, I LOVE horse racing especially the Triple Crown races. Every year I gleefully anticipate each race and if there is a horse that wins the first two, I will record the show to make sure I don’t miss it. So what happens, I missed it and this was THE YEAR! I felt the race hoof by hoof in this post and it meant a lot to me!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: