American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown

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(CNN) – American Pharoah has become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, winning the Belmont Stakes on Saturday evening. American Pharoah defeated second-place Frosted. It is the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah may be the odds-on favorite in the final race for the Triple Crown, but in some ways the odds seem stacked against him.

The 3-year-old bay colt is the only horse in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes who has run both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

Of the other seven horses in the longest race of the Triple Crown, just Tale of Verve ran the Preakness three weeks ago. If you have forgotten, Tale of Verve finished second on a sloppy track as American Pharoah won with ease.

American Pharoah will try to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years — 13 horses since 1979 won at Churchill Downs and Pimlico but failed to triumph at Belmont. Affirmed was the last Triple Crown champion, defeating second-place Alydar in three exciting races.

The Belmont Stakes is 1 1/2 miles long, and will take almost 2 1/2 minutes for horse and jockey to complete. Perhaps the length of the race is a reason that each of the past six times the Triple Crown was within reach, the Belmont winner was a horse that skipped the Preakness.

And there is also the fact that neither trainer Bob Baffert (0-for-3) nor jockey Victor Espinoza (0-for-2) have been able to close out a Triple Crown with a Belmont win.

Triple Crown winners

1919 — Sir Barton

1930 — Gallant Fox

1935 — Omaha

1937 — War Admiral

1941 — Whirlaway

1943 — Count Fleet

1946 — Assault

1948 — Citation

1973 — Secretariat

1977 — Seattle Slew

1978 — Affirmed

By Steve Almasy

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