American Pharoah Biography
American Pharoah won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 2015, becoming the first horse in 37 years to do so. He is the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown and the first to do so since Affirmed in 1978.
American Pharoah was born at Stockplace Farm near Winchester, Kentucky to the mare Littleprincessemma. His father, Pioneerof the Nile, finished second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and a great-grandfather, Unbridled, won the 1990 Kentucky Derby.
A big bay-colored horse with a faint white star on his forehead, American Pharoah finished fifth in his first race at the Del Mar racetrack on August 9, 2014, but that was the last time he finished anywhere but first. He triumphed in the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby before winning the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown, by 1 length on May 2, 2015. Next he won the Preakness Stakes by 7 lengths on May 16, 2015, setting him up to challenge for the final leg, the Belmont.
Other horses had come close to the Triple Crown in previous years: California Chrome won the first two legs in 2014, as did I’ll Have Another (2012) and Big Brown (in 2008). But American Pharoah sealed the deal on June 6, 2015, leading the Belmont from wire to wire and winning by 5.5 lengths in a time of 2:26:65.
American Pharoah was ridden by jockey Victor Espinoza in all three races. He was owned by Ahmed Zayat, an Egyptian-American born in Cairo in 1962. Before American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, Zayat sold his breeding rights to the Ashford Stud, a subsidiary of the Irish firm Coolmore Stud, although Zayat retained racing rights and a share in American Pharoah’s stallion rights. Zayat also claimed a $4 million bonus on the breeding rights when the horse won the Triple Crown.
Yes, “Pharoah” is spelled differently from the pharaohs of Egypt; the o and a are reversed. Owner Ahmed Zayat has said that the misspelling was simply an error… American Pharoah’s sire is also oddly named: “Pioneerof the Nile,” with “Pioneerof” being correct. The space was removed to make the full name fit the 18-character limit imposed by the Jockey Club… The first horse to win the Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919; other winners include Whirlaway (1941) and Secretariat (1973)… Victor Espinoza was 43 years old when he rode American Pharoah to the Triple Crown, making him the oldest jockey ever to win the trophy… American Pharoah was born on Groundhog Day.