- Chris Costello
American Pharoah finishing 2nd in the Travers changes nothing in my book
At 5:30 pm, Saturday, August 29th, 2015 I was sitting by a small beach in Lake Placid, NY, watching two great friends get married. Was I checking my twitter news after their ceremony every ten seconds to get updates on the Travers Stakes at Saratoga? Yes, I was. Every ten seconds new twitter feeds came in: horses on the track, horses in the gate, they're off, American Pharoah out to the lead with Frosted right there, and Keen Ice wins the Travers. My first reaction was disappointment. Probably just like the 50,000 fans that were at the race track, but then I quickly smiled and was content. I was happy American Pharoah was safe and sound after a strenuous and gutsy race on his part. With all the traveling he has been doing around the country, maybe it just was too much. Besides the traveling, there was also Saratoga. It has been deemed "The Graveyard of Champions" due to past Triple Crown Champions going on to race there and coming up empty. Champions like Gallant Fox, Secretariat, and Affirmed are a few champions that were unsuccessful at Saratoga, just to give you an idea how hard it is to win there. Today, I watched my dvr replay of the nbc coverage of the race and here are a few things I came up with: 1) track was always going to be tough, it is a very deep dirt track and you don't see many fast times there, Keen Ice ran the fastest time since Bob Baffert's horse, Point Given won back in 2001, 2) with Joel Rosario falling off his mount in an earlier race and Jose Lezcano now given the task of riding Frosted, it definitely changed the race, I don't think Joel would've pushed American Pharoah like that around the track and I wonder what would've happened if Victor just allowed Jose to take Frosted and the lead and sit back to and try and make a move later, and finally 3) at the end of the day, American Pharoah ran his heart out, he showed guts and almost won, he lost to a great horse, Keen Ice and also probably the best jockey in the country right now, Javier Castellano. Now everyone will ask, what is next for American Pharoah. He could rest and just train for the Breeders Cup with possible dream race matchups with Beholder, Keen Ice, Honor Code, Frosted and others. He may come back to New York and race in the Gold Cup to get ready for the Breeders Cup, or maybe he will retire and begin a stud career. No matter what he does, what he has done this year has been amazing. He has put horse racing back on the map and it is up to people in the industry to take his reins and continue what he started. I will always remember him winning the Triple crown. I will always remember meeting him up close at Del Mar. I will always remember this year of racing because of him, and yes it would be great to see him out there on Saturday again. At the end of the day he owes us nothing and just in case I don't see him out on the track again gliding around the oval, I just wanted to say one more time, "Thank you American Pharoah, you're the best."