American Pharoah: Memories of a Magical Belmont

Coady Photography

By Noah Joseph

With another Triple Crown bid on the line this Saturday, the fourth this decade, it’s hard to not think of American Pharoah‘s Triple Crown success.

As he became the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years, millions celebrated, not just at Belmont, but at tracks across the country. Canterbury Park was no exception. Let’s take a trip back, to that fabulous day in June 2015.

The weather was the clear, the track was fast, and the crowd was huge for they had all come to see the possible Triple Crown winner. Since Canterbury opened in 1985, there had been 11 Triple Crown attempts, and not a single winner, and fans were wishing for one. Many a plenty thought American Pharoah would do it as they walked through the track gates.

Anticipation grew as the card went along, as fans followed both Belmont Park and their local Shakopee oval. Just because there was big racing in New York didn’t meant that there wasn’t big racing in Minnesota that day as well.

No sir, Canterbury had come prepared.

Two stakes were held this day, with talent all across the board. The Minnesota H.B.P.A Distaff was the first stake held, which featured Awesome Flower, a previous Canterbury stakes winner with former Canterbury Downs top jockey Ronnie Allen Jr., but it was the local filly Stoupinator, ridden by Dean Butler, who took the prize, defeating the invader. Then came the Brooks Fields Stakes, which was won by the classy gelding AZ Ridge, ridden by Giovanni Franco. Then, it was back to Belmont for the test of champions. It was as if everything stood still, and the only thing that mattered was American Pharoah’s run for history.

As he began to pull away from the field at Belmont, the crowd knew what was coming. The wait was over. American Pharoah had won the Triple Crown. As fans at Canterbury celebrated, track executives and popular track personalities threw shirts into the crowd and confetti fell, for this was a momentous occasion.

So this Saturday, will Canterbury celebrate another Triple Crown? If there isn’t a Triple Crown winner fans that were at Canterbury will certainly remember American Pharoah’s run for glory. But if there is another winner, Canterbury will celebrate hard, because after all, celebrating a rare feat in sports is almost always justified

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