The floodgates opened just as the riders were given the leg up signal at Pimlico this afternoon, and torrential rain poured during the warm-up and post parade leading up to the 140th Preakness Stakes.
American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman), who drew the dreaded inside position in his bid to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, looked unfazed as he sauntered to the gate. The infield was emptied moments before the gates were loaded due to some thunder in the area, but the horses were loaded just about on time to get the race started.
American Pharoah broke alertly and after getting his bearings shot up to the lead, dueling early challenger Mr. Z as they headed to the first turn. The front runners set quick fractions, which would have been quick even without the mud, but American Pharoah looked relaxed and professional in the slop.
It wasn’t until the field had crested the final turn when jockey Victor Espinoza asked American Pharaoh to go on, and he hand rode the strapping bay colt almost the whole way to the wire as he powered forward to turn the race into a one-man show. Victor and American Pharoah crossed the wire seven lengths in front, stopping the clock at 1:58.46.
So American Pharoah’s bid to win the first Triple Crown since 1978 stays alive as the Belmont Stakes looms on June 6. Naturally, there will more than likely be a field sprinkled with horses who have not been on the Triple Crown trail this year, a debate that is fierce among racing fans.
Will American Pharoah gallop his way into history next month? We’d like to hope so, but only time will tell. In the meantime, pop open the champagne, American Pharaoah. You’ve earned it.