The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow, and fans can’t stop talking about American Pharoah, the derby’s current fastest racehorse. America has already begun placing their bets on who they think will win, and American Pharoah is the popular vote. This bay colt wowed spectators last year when he became the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown during the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
In honor of American Pharoah’s big win last year and his expected top performance at the 2016 Kentucky Derby, let’s look at some facts about this dream racehorse.
1. American Pharoah was born on Groundhog Day in 2012.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow that year, predicting six more weeks of winter. Is it possible that he also saw the birth of one of he world’s finest race horses? American Pharoah was sired by Pioneer of the Nile, which is where his namesake comes from.
2. The spelling of “Pharoah” is actually the result of a typo.
If you’ve ever wondered why American Pharoah and “pharaoh” are spelled differently, it’s not because the owners of the horse intentionally wanted the name to stand out. It was a mistake in the registration process, but it’s now impossible to fix.
“The name request for the 2012 colt American Pharoah was submitted electronically on January 25, 2014, through The Jockey Club’s interactive registration site,” said the Jockey Club president. “Since the name met all of the criteria for naming and was available, it was granted exactly as it was spelled on the digital name application.”
Zayat, American Pharoah’s owner, later admitted that he had looked up the spelling of “pharaoh” before he submitted the name, but he must have written it down wrong. By the time he caught the error, it was too late to change it.
3. American Pharoah hates loud noises.
The champion steed apparently wears special earplugs during his races because the noise of the crowd makes him jittery. Perhaps this is one of the reasons he’s always at the top of his game.
4. American Pharoah has won every race except his first.
When he began racing at the age of 2 at Del Mar in 2014, it was expected that he would be victorious in his very first race, which was a six-and-a-half furlong sprint. But fans were disappointed when a random underdog named Om championed the sprint. America’s favorite stallion came in fifth place during this race.
However, that was the last race he ever lost, and his next race was much better, as you can see in the video below. This year, fans have high hopes for the young horse this year.
5. The grand champion was only worth $300,000 four years ago.
Now, his valuation is worth anywhere from $75 million to $100 million. This is the kind of investment that business people all over the world hope to make.
6. You can pet American Pharoah at his Kentucky home.
Due to a decline in interest in horse racing over the last few years, racehorse owners all over Lexington county have decided to enact a program called Horse Country, which will allow tourists an opportunity to visit thoroughbred horses at their farms.
American Pharoah is among the list of horse champions you can visit. The stallion can be viewed in a very small group of tourists who pay a pretty fee to see the champion steed.
6. There’s a $200,000 stud fee for American Pharoah’s services.
When owners want to breed their horses with this Triple Crown winner, they must pay a fee of $200,000, which is a very high price for breeding. American Pharoah spends much of his offseason breeding with mares.
7. There have only been 12 horses to win the Triple Crown.
That being said, it’s pretty impressive that American Pharoah was able to claim this title. The last time another horse, Affirmed, won the Triple Crown was in 1978. After a 37 year drought, fans of the sport began to worry that no horse would reach that title again.
Americans are placing their bets for the upcoming derby events. Many are placing money on American Pharoah to win the Triple Crown once again. Doing so would immortalize the horse, who would be the first stallion to win the Triple Crown twice.
Place your bets now, and tune into the 2016 Kentucky Derby to see how American Pharoah performs this year.
[Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]