For horse racing fans in Kentucky and elsewhere, this year’s Breeders Cup Championships came off just as advertised. American Pharoah made one more historic run.
The traditional bugle call only further hyped up a huge Keeneland crowd. Moments later, spectators saw the Triple Crown winner set a track record, pull away down the stretch and take the Breeders Cup Classic in record time.
Trainer Bob Baffert has had a very successful career in preparing Thoroughbreds for big races. But, Baffert admits this horse stands out, calling him, “Probably the greatest horse I’ll ever be involved with.” “I’ve had some really nice horses, but I just never seen anything like him,” said Baffert.
Calling ‘American Pharoah’ a ‘gift from God’, after the race, Baffert said the horse mechanics were totally different than any other horse he’s seen. The trainer recorded his second straight Breeders Cup Classic win and his 12th overall. He ranks second to D. Wayne Lukas with twenty, who, at the post-race news conference, had high praise for Baffert. “You were absolutely masterful,” said Lukas. ”I knew he’d break their heart at the half mile pole, but you had him ready and behalf of every trainer that gets up and tries to make a living, I want to congratulate you. You’ve been wonderful,” he concluded.
Among the 50,000 in the crowd was Stanford’s mayor, Eddie Carter, who, even early in afternoon was talking about the possibilities. “What the odds of this happening, to have the Breeders Cup in Lexington and then have a Triple Crown winner to come into Lexington to win the Grand Slam,” exclaimed Carter.
American Pharoah’s owner Ahmed Zayat says plans will be made for a special send-off for his horse. Jockey Victor Espinoza called the three-year-old one of the best horses he’s ever going to ride. American Pharoah’s racing career is over and now he will find a new central Kentucky home with great anticipation regarding his offspring.