On June 6, 2015, I sat in my living room, watching the broadcast for the 147th Belmont Stakes. My sister was over, my kids were playing, and my husband had just left for his evening with friends. The last thing I said to be him before he left was “You’re going to miss the race!”
Literally, ten minutes later, history had been made.
As the field rounded the turn into the stretch for those final furlongs of the Belmont, American Pharoah was in front and I saw the dapple grey of Frosted moving toward him. For a second, I saw every Belmont stretch run where the promise of history gave way to the reality of flesh. Sunday Silence. Silver Charm. Real Quiet. Charismatic. War Emblem. Funny Cide. Smarty Jones. Big Brown. I’ll Have Another. CALIFORNIA CHROME. All of those years that I hoped and watched and came away wondering. Then Pharoah started to pull away, the sunshine growing between this towering phenom and the field behind him. In the next second, I held my breath and asked the universe if what I was witnessing was truly real. Was he going to come home first? Was this the thing that so many of us had been waiting for? Was he finally ‘the one?’
He was! I wept for an hour. I was so happy that the tears just flowed and flowed. I think I scared my kids and I know my sister was looking at me like I had lost my mind. I couldn’t sleep that night because of how excited I was. The world had changed: we had another Triple Crown winner. No longer were there only eleven; one more name was added to the list. Researching and writing this book makes me all the more excited about American Pharoah’s achievement; so much good has come out of what Sir Barton did 100 years ago. The kind face of our newest Triple Crown winner, the ease of his stride, and the dominating performances he gave us make me all the more grateful to be working on where all of this began.
Happy Birthday, American Pharoah! Let’s relive his historic achievement one more time.