American Pharoah became the first horse in over three decades Saturday to earn the Triple Crown, placing 1st in the Belmont Stakes after winning the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby earlier in the season.
In one of the sporting world's rarest feats, the bay colt with the unusually short tail defeated seven rivals in the grueling 1 1/2-mile race, covering the distance in 2:26.65 to end the longest stretch without a Triple Crown champion in history.
American Pharoah is the 12th horse and first since Affirmed in 1978 to win three races on different tracks at varying distances over a five-week span. He won the Kentucky Derby by one length on May 2 and then romped to a seven-length victory in the rainy Preakness two weeks later.
"I still can't believe it happened," said Bob Baffert, at 62 the second-oldest trainer of a Triple Crown winner.
Baffert and Espinoza ended their own frustrating histories in the Triple Crown. Baffert finally won on his record fourth Triple try, having lost in 1997, 1998 (by a nose) and in 2002. Espinoza got it done with his record third shot after failing to win in 2002 and last year on California Chrome.
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