HOUSTON – Mexican jockey Victor Espinoza rode American Pharoah to an easy win in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, which is the most coveted prize in horse racing.
American Pharoah, which is trained by Bob Baffert, was tested early in Saturday’s race at the Pimlico race track in Baltimore by Mr. Z, but he pulled away and cruised to victory in muddy conditions.
The next test for American Pharoah, which won the Kentucky Derby on May 2, is the Belmont Stakes in three weeks in New York.
The 3-year-old seemed unaffected by the heavy rains that started falling 15 minutes before post time.
American Pharoah won by at least seven lengths even though he started in the back of the pack.
The 42-year-old Espinoza has a strong chance to contend for the Triple Crown with American Pharoah, the 14th horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown since 1978.
Espinoza won the first two legs of the Triple Crown with War Emblem in 2002 and California Chrome last year, but he came up short each time at Belmont.
Tale of Verve finished a distant second at the Preakness, followed by Divining Rod, Dortmund, Mr. Z, Danzig Moon, Firing Line and long shot Bodhisattva, which came in 8th.