American Pharoah, ridden by Mexican jockey Victor Espinoza, pulled off an expected victory in the 141st run for the roses at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Installed 5-2 favorites, American Pharoah overcame the challenge of Firing Line and Dortmund to win the Kentucky Derby.
Firing Line finished second, while Dortmund secured the third position.
Espinoza secured a back-to-back win in the Derby on Saturday, and this is his third title overall. Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Egyptian Ahmed Zayat, the gorgeous horse won the Derby consecutively in 1997 and 1998. Two million dollars were at stake on Saturday, and after winning, an overwhelmed Espinoza said, “I feel like the luckiest Mexican on earth!”
Espinoza also expressed his gratitude to trainer Baffert. “He’s just an amazing trainer.
“I can say that because I won two Kentucky Derbys for him. To win again, it never gets old.”
It is Baffert’s fourth Derby victory, and his first since 2002. It was a maiden Derby victory, meanwhile, for owner Zayat, whose horses finished second in three of the recent six Derbies.
“I’m speechless,” Zayat expressed emotions regarding his favorite horse after triumph, “no more seconds.
“Pharoah is a freak of nature, and for the first time I’m seeing him right now working, working hard. And I knew that if he had the lead, nobody would catch him. He has such brilliance.”
Baffert trained both American Pharoah and Dortmund. “To win it, it never gets old,” he said.
“This American Pharoah, he’s just something. He makes a trainer really look good.”