Jockey Victor Espinoza had a record-setting day as the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown, while riding the prized American Pharoah. He is also the first Latino jockey to win it.
“I came here with a lot of confidence, more confidence than the last two (Triple Crown attempts),” he said. “That trophy it caused me a lot of stress … but the third time was the charm.”
Victor first competed for the Triple Crown in 2002, but War Emblem faltered and finished eighth at Belmont. California Chrome finished fourth in 2014.
Until Saturday, 13 horses since 1979 had won at Churchill Downs and Pimlico but failed to triumph at Belmont.
In 1978, Affirmed, ridden by Steve Cauthen, defeated second-place Alydar in three exciting races.
Espinoza always donates a percentage of his winnings to City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment facility in California. After winning the Belmont Stakes and, with it, the Triple Crown yesterday, however, he was feeling especially generous.
This, from a report in the Courier-Journal, shows part of the reason it was so easy to root for Espinoza to be a part of winning the Triple Crown. The horse’s owners will also be donating a portion of their winnings to several different parties, including the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
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Watch Victor Espinoza and American Pharoah Win the 2015 Triple Crown: