American Pharoah tops a day of champions

October 31st, 2015

My first opportunity to see a Triple Crown winner race, and my first time witnessing a renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) from an unobstructed view, was an absolute privilege.

Until the spirits of Charles Hatton, Joe Palmer, David Alexander, or Joe Hirsch infuse me with the proper words to describe the pure joy American Pharoah gave to fans at Keeneland on Saturday, and all the stops along the way, there’s little else I can properly say about the 2015 Horse of the Year.

In addition to the Classic, I was pleased with how many other divisional championships were decided throughout the afternoon.

Nyquist and Songbird nailed down the two-year-old colt and filly titles, with Songbird’s performance most impressive. Tepin thrashed a strong field in the Mile and is a no-brainer as champion turf female. The same can be said for Runhappy as champion male sprinter.

In slightly more contentious races, I think La Verdad cemented the female sprint title despite her second-place finish to a filly that had not won a stakes this year before the TwinSpires Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). Today was her only hiccup all season, and it wasn’t much of one.

Big Blue Kitten arguably deserves the turf male title having outfinished the rest of the domestic contingent in the Turf (G1) and having a very consistent season. Honor Code sewed up the older dirt male honor with his late third in the Classic. Of course, Beholder had her older dirt female championship in the bag following her emphatic win in the Pacific Classic (G1) in August.

There figures to be a debate for the three-year-old filly title, but we’ll save that for another day later this week. The steeplechase crown is also up for grabs, but that comes later this month in the Colonial Cup (G1).

A satisfactory Breeders’ Cup all around. Cheers to Team Pharoah and all the rest!