Triple Crown Fever: Thank You American Pharoah!

American Pharoah wins the Preakness Stakes – Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Santa Claus. He was a real at one time, long ago. As a kid, there was a time when you were told by a friend that Santa Claus wasn’t “real.” You denied it for a few years because you wanted to believe in Santa Claus. You were getting presents and you just didn’t want to believe that he didn’t exist. He did at one time just like a Triple Crown winning thoroughbred. We had three of them in the 1970s but they are deceased now.

Step back to 1978, the last time we had a Triple Crown Winner in Affirmed. Let’s see, Jimmy Carter was President and he taking advice on how to manage the country from his daughter Amy.

And this was the #1 song in 1978.

And we have been shadow dancing for a Triple Crown winner ever since.

I can’t tell you what this video does to me except I had to have a trashcan nearby. I liked this type of music at one time—like quite a few people reading this did at one time.


So we don’t have to go back in time and revisit this era (and the blurry race tape) every time we have a Triple Crown contender. Pretty Please? With whipcream and a cherry on top?

So that we can put an end to the bloody long streak. I was a teenager who loved sports, so I got a Sports Illustrated subscription as a birthday gift in the 70s. One of the issues that I remember vividly pulling out of the mailbox was an issue that had 18-year-old jockey Steve Cauthen on the cover riding Affirmed to a Belmont Stakes Victory–thus winning the Triple Crown. As a teenager myself, I could relate at that time. But nobody can relate now. I have children, and grandchildren, who have never seen a Triple Crown winner.

So what are American Pharoah’s Triple Crown chances? Much better than California Chrome’s.

Why? American Pharoah is a better horse than California Chrome.

Consider the following:

  • Experience. Victor Espinoza was California Chrome’s jockey for his Triple Crown run last year and he is also American Pharoah’s jockey. Is this man living right or what?
  • American Pharoah’s winning time in the Kentucky Derby was 0.64 seconds faster than California Chrome’s. This was backed up by American Pharoah’s Beyer Speed Figure of 105 compared to Chrome’s 97.
  • American Pharoah’s winning time in the Preakness Stakes was just 3.62 seconds off California Chrome’s on a sloppy wet track.. And American Pharoah wasn’t pressured for the win like California Chrome was by Ride On Curlin in last year’s Preakness—very Impressive!
  • American Pharoah’s average Beyer for the two Triple Crown races is 103.5. California Chrome’s was 101.

So “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” I am going against the odds and betting that American Pharoah wins the Belmont to capture the first Triple Crown in 37 years. Yes, just like you, I want to believe.