Monday, May 11, 2015

Triple Crown Craze: One Jewel Down, Two to Go

A king is seeking his crown.

Thoroughbred racing’s newest star, American Pharoah, tore down the homestretch at Churchill Downs on May 2, winning the Kentucky Derby by a length. The bay colt with the ocean-blue noseband thus victoriously claimed the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Thankfully, this means American Pharoah is more than a prancing, snorting reminder to use spell check. (An Egyptian king, or pharaoh, is misspelled as “pharoah” in his name.) Now, he’s a money-making reminder to use spell check.

On Saturday, May 16, this king’s campaign to conquer the big three of horseracing takes him to the Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness Stakes, only two weeks after the Derby, will test his endurance. Not only will he have to beat the biggest threats again, but he must also outrun fresh competitors that didn't race in the Derby.

Only eleven horses have won the Triple Crown, which consists of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. These eleven horses are history makers—a Triple Crown winner isn't a common thing. Affirmed was the most recent horse to win all three races. That was in 1978.

So far, American Pharoah has not disappointed. As the favorite in the 141st run for the roses, American Pharoah made many a gambler’s sacrifices valid. His momma, Littleprincessemma, and his daddy, Pioneerof The Nile, are proudly strutting in their pastures somewhere. After all, their son’s earnings total $2,830,300.

The question remains: will American Pharoah start a new Triple Crown dynasty? Check out these books on horse racing and tune in May 16 when American Pharoah tries to make it a double.


The Most Glorious Crown: the story of America’s Triple Crown Thoroughbreds from Sir Barton to Affirmed

Biographies of the champion Crown winners and accounts of the races that led to each horse’s coronation. Includes DVD Win, Place, Show: the history of horse racing

The Great Black Jockeys: the lives and times of the men who dominated America’s first national sport

Historical account of the black jockeys in a time when the greatest athletes in the land were the property of others.

Homestretch: a celebration of North America’s greatest tracks

Features the horses, people, events, and tracks that have shaped horse racing for over two centuries.

The Kentucky Derby: how the run for the roses became America’s premier sporting event

How a two-minute race became an international phenomenon.


Warriors on Horseback: the inside story of the professional jockey

New book for 2015 incorporates interviews from prominent jockeys, getting their take on their “day job.” Both flat racing and jump racing. History and contemporary.

Inside Track: insider’s guide to horse racing

Handbook for attending your first horse race. What to bring, what to wear, what to look for in a race. Introduction to owners, trainers, and key horse races like the Kentucky Derby.


The Blood-Horse Authoritative Guide to Betting Thoroughbreds

Step-by-step guide explaining the major factors that go into handicapping a race. Learn how to calculate payoffs and distinguish between different types of wagers and much more.

Six Secrets of Successful Bettors: winning insights into playing the horses

Authors interviewed two dozen professional players that consistently win at the racetrack so you can rack in the money too.


Affirmed: the last Triple Crown winner

Biography of the 1978 Triple Crown Winner who surprised the nation in out-racing his esteemed rival Alydar.

Barbaro: a nation’s love story

Triple Crown contender Barbaro and his journey from birth to becoming an American icon of resilience. High-winning hopes shattered with a broken leg but renewed with a determined spirit to recover.

Bethany Mitchell
Arts/Literature/Sports Department
Central Library

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