As American Pharoah came out of the far turn, 90,000 people were on their feet in one of the most climactic experiences I have ever witnessed in sports. I get goose bumps just writing about it. As I stood on the tips of my toes near the finish line, searching for that blue and gold jockey helmet I could feel the energy of the grandstand shaking.
It is rare in sports to be a part of something where there is no good team vs. bad team, underdog vs. Hercules, hometown team vs. visiting team. This was different. Everyone was cheering for the same outcome- An American Pharoah victory and the Triple Crown.
As American Pharoah and long time jockey Victor Espinoza bounded into the stretch amid a deafening roar of the crowd, you could sense that history was about to be made.
BOOM. There it was. American Pharoah across the finish line first.
Fedoras were flung high in the air, beers were spilled, grown men were crying, people were hugging strangers, cigars were being smoked and everyone was running to the betting booths.
Espinoza, made history of his own Saturday, as he was the oldest jockey to ever win the Triple Crown and the first Latino jockey to win.
The horse with the misspelled name led the entire race on Saturday and defeated second place Frosted by a comfortable margin of 5-½ lengths. He crossed the finish line in two minutes and 26 seconds- the 6th fastest time in Belmont History. He joins an elite class of 12 Triple Crown winners.
This was my second consecutive year attending The Belmont Stakes and I will most definitely be back. But throwing on a floppy hat, puffing a cigar, drinking mint juleps, eating funnel cakes with your best friends does not nearly compare to the history I witnessed.
The holy grail of horse racing, the 37-year stretch for a Triple Crown winner has come to an end, now WHO will be next?