Never Underestimate the Heart of a Thoroughbred


I am not a racing know-it-all, but I am a horse racing enthusiast. Especially after living in Lexington, Kentucky for a year and a half.

I am not a racing trainer know-it-all, either, but I’ve cheered for all of Bob Baffert’s horses ever since I fell in love with Silver Charm in 1997. (Loving today’s update – Bob and Jill Baffert will donate $50,000 to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Kentucky where Silver Charm lives.)

I, along with many horse lovers, almost cried when American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza strongly raced down the Belmont home stretch. American Pharoah did it. He looked great. His ears were eager, his eye was filled with alert drive, and he brought smiles (and even tears) to millions of people. He did what hasn’t been done in 37 years.

He won the Triple Crown.

Every time I watch the replay, I get goosebumps. I have goosebumps as I write this.

Our sport, the sport of horses, is not really understood by many. But the sport of horse racing is much more widely known because of the Kentucky Derby, and the Triple Crown. Many times racing has unfortunately been brought into the spotlight because of injury or scandal.

This is not that time.

This time, it is because a unique athlete with a unique support team did what many were beginning to think was unthinkable.
The moment he finished the race, I proclaimed, “They’re going to put him on the cover of a magazine! They have to. And I want to blow it up poster size and hang it in the apartment.”

No one will question my decorating decision.

Watching the Belmont

As a journalist, I love every second of coverage of the Triple Crown. The interviews of the jockeys, trainers and owners are captivating, and I celebrate every time a quote to the effect of ‘This horse is incredible’ is stated. I love when the horse is celebrated as an athlete.

What we’ve all wanted is finally true: we have a Triple Crown champion. I posted a picture of American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza on Instagram right before the race that said, “Today horses take the sporting world’s center stage. Cheering for American Pharoah and a Triple Crown! Love all the jockey and trainer interviews. Never underestimate the heart of a Thoroughbred.”

I mean that last sentence. Never underestimate the heart of a Thoroughbred. American Pharoah deserves every moment of this glory.

He’s a champion, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s going to decorate the wall of my apartment to remind me every day that greatness can be achieved.

Liked this article? Here’s more on the Triple Crown:
Watch it Again: American Pharoah Wins the Triple Crown
A Look Back at Triple Crown Contenders

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Allison Griest is a freelance writer based in Texas, and a former assistant editor of Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. She has a passion for horses, dogs, hiking, and...


  1. I felt exactly the same. It was a wonderful Uplifting Experience. I also could not believe what the owner said that it was for everyone who loves the sport and horses, he made me feel connected and ecstatic.


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