37-year drought is over: American Pharoah completes Triple Crown with Belmont win

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

American Pharoah, ridden by Victor Espinoza, crosses the finish line ahead of Frosted, ridden by Joel Rosario, and Keen Ice, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, to win the 147th Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

ELMONT, N.Y. — He did it!

American Pharoah ended thoroughbred horse racing’s 37-year Triple Crown drought by winning the grueling Belmont Stakes wire-to-wire on Saturday.

It’s the 12th time a horse has won the Triple Crown but the first since Affirmed in 1978.

American Pharoah got out of the gate well and went to the lead, and he never trailed in the eight-horse race, pulling away down the stretch to win by 5 1/2 lengths as the huge crowd at Belmont Park roared.

American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby on May 2 then captured the rain-drenched Preakness Stakes two weeks later to set up a run at the elusive triple in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont.

American Pharoah was the 14th horse — and the third in the past four years — since Affirmed to go into the Belmont with a chance at the Triple Crown but the first to pull off the feat.

Trainer Bob Baffert missed out on three previous tries at the Triple Crown, with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998 and War Emblem in 2002.

“It takes a great horse to do it,” Baffert said. “He’s a great horse.”

It was sweet redemption for jockey Victor Espinoza, who previously missed out on the Triple Crown with War Emblem and California Chrome in 2014.

“It’s just unbelieveable how it all turned out,” Espinoza said.

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

2015: American Pharoah