American Pharoah has won the Kentucky Derby after making a charge in the stretch to nip by Firing Line and Dortmund, capturing the Run For The Roses.
Firing Line, jockeyed by longtime veteran Gary Stevens, took the early lead by pushing his way through a crowded jumble out of the gates. Dortmund, who was steered by 5'1" Martin Garcia, was right by the fence throughout, and took the lead about midway through the race.
But on the outside edge, you could hear thunder in the background as American Pharoah, jockeyed by Victor Espinoza (who was looking for his 2nd Derby victory in a row after winning with California Chrome last year) was catching up. In the final stretch, we had a three-wide race for the finish in Louisville, with American Pharoah on the outside, Firing Line in the middle, and Dortmund by the fencing.
American Pharoah then plunged his hooves into the dirt at a brilliant rate, showing immense power and stability. Firing Line put up a magnificent fight, but didn't have that last push in him to get by Victor Espinoza's horse. The Run For The Roses was complete with American Pharoah in the winner's circle. Firing Line, a mediocre underdog coming in that was obviously misjudged, placed, while Dortmund put in a strong performance as he shows, putting him in a great position for Triple Crown races later this year.
American Pharoah was the first ever horse to win from the 17th post, which is a testament to his agility and sheer brute force. Victor Espinoza put the horse in prime position, and he made the most of it. Considering the fact he nearly blew the final turn and ran down two incredibly tough and proven fighters who'd had it all their own way on the lead, the final margin of finish is not a testament to how good he actually ran. He may be able to continue this undefeated streak in the Preakness and Belmont. He proved today he can win going away and in a battle and might relish the longer distance and wide sweeping turns of the Belmont especially.
Trainer Bob Baffert had struck it rich with two incredible horses to run in the 2015 Kentucky Derby, including American Pharoah, who had won his last four starts by a combined 22 1/4 lengths including an 8-length victory in the Arkansas Derby, and Dortmund, who had been unbeaten and fresh off a dominating win in the Santa Anita Derby. The two were the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby today, and deservedly so, with American Pharoah as a slight favorite. The pundits were correct, with American Pharoah showing the world what he's made of.
This was owner Ahmed Zayat's first Kentucky Derby victory after many heartbreaks in the past few years. ''I'm speechless and very emotional. We've been very close,'' he said. ''This is one special horse.''
Frosted, a horse with a fine grey coat and attained many bettors, attained 4th but couldn't break into that leading pack, forced to fend for himself among a crowded secondary group made up of Danzig Moon (5th), Materiality (6th), and Keen Ice (7th). UAE-bred horse Mubtaahij was in the middle of the pack in 8th, while Carpe Diem, one of the favorites but starting in the difficult 2nd post, finished a distant 10th.
1 18 American Pharoah
2 10 Firing Line
3 8 Dortmund
4 15 Frosted
5 5 Danzig Moon
6 3 Materiality
7 14 Keen Ice
8 6 Mubtaahij
9 13 Itsaknockout
10 2 Carpe Diem
11 21 Frammento
12 9 Bolo
13 17 Mr. Z
14 1 Ocho Ocho Ocho
15 20 Far Right
16 16 War Story
17 4 Tencendur
18 19 Upstart
7 El Kabeir (Scratch)
11 Stanford Florent (Scratch)
12 International Star (Scratch)
The 140th running of the Preakness Stakes will be held Saturday, May 16, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Post time is approximately 6:14 p.m. ET. VAVEL USA will have you covered during the Run for the Triple Crown.