Victor Espinoza was so excited after riding American Pharoah to the first Triple Crown in 37 years that he let the entire television audience know it.
The jockey was heard shouting “Holy s**t!” after the horse crossed the finish line in the 2015 Belmont Stakes. With million of people watching at home or online, the celebration became the swear heard round the world after the race ended.
The Belmont Stakes itself was a classic. American Pharoah staked his name among the all-time greats with a victory by five-and-a-half lengths, making him the first to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes since Affirmed in 1978.
“That little horse, he deserved it,” said trainer Bob Baffert. “He’s the one that did it. We were basically just passengers.”
While jockey Victor Espinoza may be getting headlines for this “Holy s**t!” moment on live television, he was much more composed once formal interviews began after the race.
“Wow! Wow!” Espinoza shouted. “I can only tell you it just an amazing thing. It’s just unbelievable how things work out.”
While it was a huge win for American Pharoah, it was also a long time coming for Espinoza. The first Hispanic jockey to win the Triple Crown, Espinoza broke through after two previous failed attempts to win the third leg of the race. Espinoza also rode atop California Chrome last year, who won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before losing at the Belmont Stakes.
“I come here with a lot of confidence — more confidence than anywhere,” Espinoza said. “This time, I had so much confidence in American Pharoah.
“That trophy caused me a lot of stress. But the third time is the charm.”
It seemed that Espinoza was letting some of that stress out after what had been a tense race. Five of the other competitors in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes had skipped the Preakness, which allows them to come in a bit less fatigued and offers an important competitive advantage.
This tactic came under scrutiny last year, when California Chrome owner Steve Coburn ranted about other owners who kept horses out of the Preakness to keep them fresh. The winner of the 2014 Belmont Stakes, Tonalist, had also skipped the Preakness that year.
But Saturday was all about the amazing run by American Pharoah — and Victor Espinoza’s accidental on-air curse. The “Holy s**t!” moment made headlines of its own, with many news outlets picking up on it and a Vine of his excited celebration going viral.
[Image via Getty Images/Chris Graythen]