American Pharoah Highlights Top 10 Stories in 2015
American Pharoah Highlights Top 10 Stories in 2015: Creating any Top 10 list is difficult because no one will agree completely. They exist to generate discussion and, hopefully, light-hearted debate. American Pharoah belongs on top with his Triple Crown accomplishment and subsequent impact on the industry, but there is room for discussion lower down the ladder.
This list focuses on specific horses, along with accompanying races (except for No. 10), which dominated headlines and social media chatter in 2015.
1. American Pharoah Wins Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown
No one can deny how badly fans wanted this. American Pharoah captured the Triple Crown, which consists of the Kentucky Derby (GI), Preakness (GI) and Belmont Stakes (GI), for the first time since Affirmed in 1978. People cried over the accomplishment. Racing needed a legendary hero, and this was one of them.
2. American Pharoah Caps Off Magical Year in Breeders’ Cup
While the scenario of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) played out a bit too straightforward, with no one willing to pressure American Pharoah early, maybe the competition simply failed to keep up. No horse won the Triple Crown and Classic in the same year, although none had a chance until now.
3. Beholder Defeats Males
The Pacific Classic (GI) looked a bit dull on paper, with an out-of-form Bayern and possibly distance-challenged Red Vine as some of Beholder’s main challengers. Still, Spendthrift Farm and trainer Richard Mandella felt brave enough to give the open-company Grade I stakes race a shot, and the mare dominated.
4. Shared Belief Prevails Over California Chrome in San Antonio
Rather than go to Dubai early, California Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman and minority-owner Steve Coburn felt the February matchup with Shared Belief would benefit horse racing. Unfortunately for their horse, Shared Belief lived up to his hype and passed California Chrome in the lane, settling any lingering debate over the best horse.
5. Runhappy and Maria Borell Clinch Sprint Title
The two names came together during the summer and fall, when they won the King’s Bishop (GI) at Saratoga Race Course and Phoenix Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland. Runhappy then proved victorious for Maria in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) to secure the Eclipse Award. Sadly, the connections fired her the next day.
6. American Pharoah Wins Kentucky Derby
Any horse to win the Kentucky Derby (GI) automatically earns a spot on this list. The Derby, despite its status as a restricted race for three-year-old horses, ranks as the most prestigious horse race in the United States. American Pharoah fought hard for this win, and he needed to, because capturing the Triple Crown requires this step.
7. Cozmic One Makes Career Debut
Some might scoff at Cozmic One’s entry into this list. Leading up to his career debut at Santa Anita Park, the son of Zenyatta not only stirred up interest in social media, but also grabbed headlines on Daily Racing Form and Blood-Horse. In an odd note, The Wynn offered 60 to 1 odds on him for the Kentucky Derby!
8. Keen Ice Upsets American Pharoah in Travers
If American Pharoah grabbed headlines with every win, then likewise, his lone 2015 defeat inspired heavy talk and debate as well. The one loss came in the Travers (GI) at Saratoga, where the grinding Keen Ice mowed American Pharoah down after Frosted softened him up early. Fans everywhere were heartbroken and searching for answers.
9. American Pharoah Destroys Haskell Field
In American Pharoah’s first post-Triple Crown race, American Pharoah dueled for the lead and just kept drawing away in a visually-appealing performance. The win only helped keep his momentum going as racing’s savior.
10. Juba Sweeps Barn Floor
Even though he never won a significant stakes race, the gray colt deserves recognition for his active Twitter account. Juba likes to party during off-hours, and helps around the barn cleaning. Wow.