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American Pharoah Ends Triple Crown Drought

2015: American Pharoah: Now, in 2015 it’s American Pharoah's turn to either captivate the racing world with the first Triple Crown win since 1978, or just become another footnote in horse racing history. Lead by veteran jockey Victor Espinosa and trainer Bill Baffert, perhaps the time has finally come for new horse to enter racing lore, and become its 12th Triple Crown winner. The Belmont Stakes will be held on June 6th.

Victor Espinoza celebrates atop American Pharoah after winning the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 6, 2015 in Elmont, New York. With the win American Pharoah becomes the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years.

By Marion Algier – Just One More Pet

The Sport of Kings has its day after a 37 year drought.  As with most debates involving sports, there are varying reasons for the absence of a Triple Crown champion over the past 37 years. It has as much to do with bank accounts as bloodlines, yet trying to pinpoint the main reason is as elusive as the achievement itself.

NEW YORK (AP) — By mid-stretch, Bob Baffert said he knew it. American Pharoah was going to win the Triple Crown.

He took his eyes off the horse to soak in the crazed scene of the packed grandstand. Fans jumped up and down, hugged, and tossed drinks in the air.

The race wasn’t even over yet, but the crowd knew it, too. Thirty-seven years of waiting to see one of the rarest feats in sports was almost over.

"The crowd was just thundering and I was just enjoying the crowd and the noise and everything happening," the white-haired trainer said. "What a feeling."

Finally, a Triple Crown winner. And this one was never in doubt.

American Pharoah led all the way to win the Belmont Stakes by 5 lengths on Saturday, becoming the first horse since 1978 to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes — one of the sporting world’s rarest feats.

"Wow! Wow!" jockey Victor Espinoza (age 43) said moments after crossing the finish line. "I can only tell you it is just an amazing thing."

The bay colt with the unusually short tail, chewed of by another horse, easily defeated seven rivals in the grueling 1 1/2-mile race, covering the distance in 2:26.65 — sixth-fastest in Belmont history — to end the longest stretch without a Triple Crown champion in history.

"That little horse, he deserved it," said Baffert, who at 62 is the second-oldest trainer of a Triple Crown winner. "He’s the one that did it. We were basically just passengers."

American Pharoah is the 12th horse and first since Affirmed in 1978 to win three races on different tracks at varying distances over a five-week span. He won the Derby by one length on May 2 and then romped to a seven-length victory in the rainy Preakness two weeks later before demolishing his rivals Saturday.

Baffert and Espinoza ended their own frustrating histories in the Triple Crown. Baffert finally won on his record fourth Triple try, having lost in 1997, 1998 (by a nose) and in 2002. Espinoza got it done with his record third shot after failing to win in 2002 and last year on California Chrome.

"I was prepared for somebody coming because I’ve been through this so many times," Baffert said.

Nobody did.

Espinoza hustled American Pharoah to the lead leaving the No. 5 post and quickly got him over to the rail. Materiality was on his outside in second, but never applied any serious pressure traveling along the backstretch before falling away on the second turn.

American Pharoah started kicking away heading into the final turn. He opened up on the field as he powered through the 1,097-yard stretch, displaying his fluid, springloaded stride in which he appears to float over the ground.

"It’s just an amazing feeling that you have when you’re 20 yards from the wire," Espinoza said. "And then at the wire I was like, `I cannot believe I did it.’"

American Pharoah ran the final quarter-mile — a stretch that has dashed numerous Triple Crown dreams — in 24.32 seconds, faster than Secretariat’s time of 25 seconds in winning the 1973 Belmont.

"That’s a hell of a horse," said jockey Gary Stevens (age 52), who finished seventh aboard Tale of Verve. "The race was over in the third jump from the gate."

After making his way back to the crowd, Espinoza took American Pharoah nearly the length of the sprawling grandstand so fans could pay their respects to the champion.

As the horses were heading to the starting gate, owner Ahmed Zayat was overflowing with confidence and turned to his wife.

"I told her, `Get ready to be the owner of the 12th Triple Crown winner,’" he said.

Baffert felt equally good, sensing American Pharoah was on the verge of a winning performance when he saddled the horse in the shady paddock.

American Pharoah is the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, but his biggest payday won’t be on a race track.  It will be in stud fees.

Prior to the Belmont, when he just had Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins, it was estimated that he would collect $60,000 to $75,000 per foal, so that kind of stud money means most successful racing careers are short.

California Chrome, who won the Derby and Preakness last year, hasn’t been put out to stud yet since his blood lines aren’t as prestigious. His stud fee is probably in the the neighborhood of $25,000.

So his owners decided to race him for another year. He went to the Dubai World Cup where he placed second, scoring another $2 million in winnings.

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It’s amazing to think that Secretariat’s Belmont time would’ve beaten American Pharoah by 15 lengths.

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American Pharoah’s jockey earns peanuts compared to other sports

June 7, 2015 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Todd Palin Excited to Bring Iditarod to TV

iditarod unleashed

Todd Palin Hosts Iditarod Unleashed

Palin-Cruz 2016: Iditarod Unleashed got Todd Palin to host: Sportsman Channel debuted its Iditarod Unleashed series on Tuesday March 25, 2014, getting a little help from none other than Iron Dog champ Todd Palin.  Todd, the husband of former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is hosting a one-hour special introducing the race to fans. The network, which is also set to begin a show with Sarah premiering in April, is using Todd to draw viewers in to its 12 hours of Iditarod coverage. Palin cites his connections with Iditarod mushers like Martin Buser and Rick Swenson as cred for hosting the show, as well as his experience as a champion snowmachine racer. The Sportsman coverage is set to begin Tuesday at 3 p.m. Alaska time Tuesday and airs throughout the rest of the week.

Breitbart.com:

Sarah Palin isn’t the only one in the family who will be in front of the camera on the Sportsman Channel. While the former Alaska governor gets set to host Amazing America with Sarah Palin next month, it’s her husband Todd who will be showcasing the beautiful state of Alaska first.

The Iditarod has not had a national television network partner since 2009. Until now, that is. In a groundbreaking agreement with Sportsman Channel, the event organizers will continue to produce the annual sled dog spectacle and provide extensive, in-depth coverage, video and updates through an online platform.

As the Official Network of The Iditarod, Sportsman Channel will exclusively showcase the stories of The Iditarod. In a multi-week stunt entitled Iditarod Unleashed, Sportsman Channel will air 12 hours of programming and specials – including the national television premiere of shows from The Iditarod library – timed around the 2014 event. That’s where Todd Palin comes in.

Iditarod Unleashed programming begins March 25 at 7 p.m. ET/PT with a one-hour special hosted by Palin.

Palin is usually a behind-the-scenes guy. The supportive spouse. But he felt compelled to get the word out about the Iditarod. “I’ll do whatever I can to promote this great race,” Palin told Breitbart Sports. “I know some of the mushers and I know how much work it is to take part in it.”

While not a camera hog by any stretch of the imagination, Palin enjoyed filming the special programming. “I don’t like to watch myself on TV,” said Palin. “But this was a lot of fun.”

The Palin family is no stranger to the iconic Iditarod. “They used to have the restart in Wasilla before they moved it to Willow for the more consistent snow,” Palin said. “We watched for many years with the kids on snowmachines. It’s a big event for all Alaskans.”

While Palin is not a musher, he is a champion Iron Dog racer. His success in Alaska’s other big race gives him a special appreciation for those who take part in the Iditarod. “Both are the ultimate,” Palin said. “In certain stretches, you can actually go faster than a snowmachine when mushing with a dog team. They’re so powerful, sometimes you’re just hanging on.”

The Iditarod is more sophisticated than ever. Palin had a chance to visit sled dog champion Martin Buser’s facilities recently and he was blown away by the latest technology. “The use of carbon fiber has made these dog sleds better than ever,” Palin said. “The sport has come so far. You think back to the old days and wonder how they did it.”

There are personal connections to the Iditarod for Palin as well. Buser teamed up with Palin during the 2008 campaign to help stump for the McCain-Palin ticket. Rick Swenson “King of the Iditarod” ran pro class when Palin started Ion Dog racing in 1993. Meantime, DeeDee Jonrowe serves as an inspiration to all. She beat cancer and got back to mushing. Palin speaks glowingly of John Baker and all he has done for the sport.

“The people involved in this are just like the Iron Dog family,” Palin said. “A tight knit group that will help anyone, anyway they can.”

Todd and Sarah Palin attended the Iditarod Mushers Banquet in Anchorage this year to show their support for the big race and all those who participate in it.

“I’m just thankful that Sportsman Channel was excited to show the Iditarod and to come up here to share these ultimate races with the rest of the nation,” said Palin.

The conclusion of the 2014 Iditarod Sled Dog Race was evidence that this event is like no other. Now, viewers across the country will have an opportunity to reconnect with the race on Sportsman Channel. Plus, viewers will be introduced to the special people who live the lifestyle of Iditarod musher.

Sportsman Channel will look back at Dallas Seavey’s record-breaking win, and showcase the incredible stories of this year’s historic race, along with stories from previous years.

Iditarod Unleashed will deliver dramatic stories of the dogs, mushers, volunteers, history, wildlife and rough terrain. The Iditarod is known as The Last Great Race on Earth. For Sportsman Channel viewers though the in-depth coverage of the race will be the first of it’s kind. “You don’t want to miss this,” Palin said. “It’s just incredible.”

Also, 2014 Akiak Dash winner: On Sunday evening, John George won the 2014 Akiak Dash, bringing home $3,400 as he pulled into Bethel with seven sled dogs. The Akiak Dash, one of the series of races held by the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee, ran from the Southcentral community of Bethel to Akiak and back to Bethel. George finished with a time of 6 hours, 39 minutes and 51 seconds. Coming in second was George Manutoli with a time of 6 hours, 45 minutes and 46 seconds. Herman Phillip took third with a time of 6 hours, 51 minutes and 24 seconds. Total purse for the race was $12,100, split between the top 10 finishers.

Related:

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Iditarod Trail Race Headquarters, Palin and Alaskan Tourism

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March 31, 2014 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Events | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments