herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

American Pharaoh ready for a 'test of greatness'

American Pharoah
American Pharoah

The string of 1s alongside American Pharoah's name is highly impressive as he is six wins from his last six starts but it is the figure that will be added to them just before midnight tomorrow that will determine what part of history he finds himself on.

 History tells us that 11 horses have won the American Triple Crown of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes and the last of those was Affirmed in 1978.

Since then we have seen 13 lose out in the final leg.

Now it is American Pharaoh's turn to cause a stir. He will face seven rivals in tomorrow's Belmont Stakes as trainer Bob Baffert tries to guide a horse to the Triple Crown after falling at the crucial third leg on three previous occasions.

"The mile and a half is a big issue," Baffert explained. "He has run two times before the Derby and was shipped to all of those so he has done a pretty remarkable thing.

CUT ABOVE

"I've never had a horse that has shipped so much and done so well so he's a cut above, a really good horse.

"I think the Belmont is a test of greatness and he'll let us know.

"He'll need racing luck but everyone needs that. Hopefully we've a nice track and it's not too demanding."

The Belmont Stakes is due off at 11.50pm Irish time tomorrow.

belmont stakes

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