If there were any questions remaining on the type of horse American Pharaoh is then they have been conclusively answered. With Saturday’s win at Belmont, and by becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Secretariat in 1973, the three year old phenomenon is solidly placed in a historic and legendary group of super thoroughbreds.
While there have been serious Triple Crown contenders in recent years such as Smarty Jones, Big Brown and California Chrome, there seems to be something special about American Pharaoh. Mega trainer Bob Baffert was unusually bullish on his star three year old and as much as stated that American Pharaoh would be the next Triple Crown champion. Further, a case could be made that with the possible exception of Dortmund in the Kentucky Derby, and Firing Line in the Preakness, there was never a serious threat to American Pharaoh in either race.
However winning the third and last leg at Belmont has not been an easy feat in modern Triple Crown history, the fact of which has recently has generated some controversy. Several trainers and owners felt that the practice of entering fresh horses in the Belmont put Triple Crown contenders at a real disadvantage. There has even been some discussion about entrants in the Belmont having to race in at least one other Triple Crown race to be eligible, and thus make the possibility of a Triple Crown winner more likely.
Given American Pharaoh’s historic win on Saturday those discussions may be muted for the time being, but except them to resurface as the years pass between Triple Crown winners. The only question is, will we have to wait another 37 years for the next American Pharaoh?