WHAT DOES A TRIPLE CROWN MEAN NOW?
So, now that the 2015 Triple Crown chase is completed and American Pharoah has been coroneted, what does it all mean?
Well, it means a few different things. First and foremost it means jubilation. Any time something that is historically good happens there will be partying taking place. There was literally dancing in the streets of New York after Pharoah took the Triple Crown. Answering a 37-year old question, the four-legged phenom made the unbelievable a reality. Everybody wanted to see it because we all root for Mount Everest to be climbed. Let’s face it, we like to see great achievements. And when we see those things happen, we like to celebrate. Everybody loves a good party.
For the sports world, an icon has been created. American Pharoah is now the horse of a generation. When I was just a kid, Secretariat had the title because of his greatness and Big Red will forever be that to a certain sect of people. After all, he ended a 25-year drought in the Triple Crown category and did so in record time in each race. Now, after battling 18 other entrants in the Kentucky Derby, Mother Nature in the Preakness, and the ghosts of the graveyard that is Belmont Park, the Pharoah is the Michael Jordan of this generation.
For the Bob Baffert team it means vindication of sorts. Widely considered the top conditioner in the game today, the Arizona native that is in fact allergic to horses can now breathe a bit easier. Three times in the past he had won the opening two legs of the Triple Crown (1997, 1998, 2002) only to be denied in the Belmont. And sandwiched in between (2001) was a marvelous horse named Point Given that came up short in the Derby but dazzled in both the Preakness and Belmont. Despite all his success there were of course naysayers because some like to look for negatives. This might just silence some of those that are not able to potty train a poodle let alone teach a Thoroughbred. As Bob gave me a heart-felt handshake after the race and wife Jill provided a genuine hug around the neck, I knew they were in complete awe of their accomplishment after tasting disappointment in the past.
For the sport of horse racing it means a positive light will be cast on a fabulous game. Once considered one of the big three in a nation that is all about athletics, perhaps this can help fuel a comeback amongst the mainstream. Made for the 21st century in so many ways, the greatness of the sport of kings might be more in the forefront now. The Triple Crown series offers excitement for sure, but so do a lot of other racing events throughout the year. Obviously, we know anyone can be a football fan. The same can be said for Thoroughbred racing. Record crowds on Kentucky Derby weekend and at Pimlico for the Preakness tells us people have interest in the sport. American Pharoah’s success will hopefully perk a few more to explore the entirety that spreads joy throughout the year, not just in a five week stretch.
Lastly and most important to me, I was part of the Triple Crown as a journalist and will have something to write about for the rest of my life!