Horse racing fans are waiting for Saturday when they will find out whether American Pharoah will be able to race past Frammento and other challengers at the Belmont Stakes to immortalise himself as the 12th winner of a Triple Crown.
It has been 37 years since the Triple Crown last happened, and therefore, it’s no surprise that there is a lot of breathless anticipation leading to the race.
Saturday’s race has resulted in a great deal of excitement as is evident by the large numbers of people who are placing bets on its outcome.
As a matter of fact, people are coming out just to see Pharoah exercise.
American Pharoah is in excellent form after having won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Trainer Bob Baffert has very high expectations from his charge.
Carpe Diem, who was expected to give Pharoah a run for his money has been pulled out of the race.
It is an unfortunate fact that horse racing is no longer a mainstream sport, but an event like this and potentially an historic win, has definitely helped bring in a lot more interest in this race.
However, whether this interest is long lasting and brings in the much needed money for the industry is yet to be seen. After all, many racetracks are being shut down because they simply do not make enough money these days.
It’s not that racing is no longer profitable; it’s just that there are other entertainment and gambling options that generate more cash.
The rise of internet-based gambling has perhaps caused this because there are plenty of interesting and reliable options available online and people can gamble from the comfort of their homes.
Nick Zito, who trained Birdstone to victory at Belmont in 2004, is moderately optimistic about the long term outlook of horse racing as a sport.
While sales are buoyant as of now, the sport definitely needs to create a big fan base and this can only happen if the sports loving public continues to be interested in it.
The other problem is that there are very few top-class races taking place on a regular basis. This gets in the way of building a fan base, especially among the younger generation of gamblers who are new to the sport.
It will be interesting to see whether the events of coming Saturday will help build a following for horse racing since the survival of the sport depends on its ability to bring people to the race tracks.
There’s a lot of pressure riding on Pharoah’s strong shoulders, but thankfully the 2-year old horse is oblivious of all the fuss he is generating.
Pharaoh himself has already been committed to Coolmore Stud and it seems very likely that his racing days are over even though owner, Ahmed Zayat, has said that the horse will continue training for the rest of the year.
Whatever the outcome of Saturday’s race, the industry will definitely have to thank American Pharoah for having generated so much interest in it.