My Top 5 Favorite Races of 2015

My Top 5 Favorite Races of 2015

Breeders’ Cup Photo ©

The year 2015 is nearly complete, and what a fantastic year it has been! In 2015, we were treated to a spectacular number of incredible races from star runners like American Pharoah, Beholder, and Runhappy, and the talent of these great horses–and the quality of the races they ran–has marked 2015 as a definite highlight year in the history of the sport. We truly are in a new golden age of horse racing!

Ranking the greatest races of 2015 is nearly impossible, but I’ll give it a try: Here are my top five favorite races of the year, along with video replays of each one! Enjoy!

1 American Pharoah wins the Belmont Stakes (and Triple Crown!)

Without question, my favorite race of the year was the Belmont Stakes, in which American Pharoah ended the 37-year Triple Crown drought by winning in decisive fashion. With a half-mile remaining, it looked as though American Pharoah was moving like a winner, and when he kicked clear in the homestretch, the racing world celebrated one of the greatest moments in the history of horse racing.

2 Runhappy wins the Breeders’ Cup Sprint

When Runhappy overcame a slow start to win the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland, he stamped himself as one of the most promising horses in the country. When he reeled in the talented Private Zone to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, he stamped himself as quite possibly one of the best sprinters we’ve seen in years.

3 Beholder wins the Pacific Classic

Beholder had already accomplished a lot in her long career, winning two Breeders’ Cup races and two Eclipse awards, but when she beat males by 8 1/2 lengths in the Pacific Classic, she propelled her career and legacy to a whole different level. Her winning time of 1:59.77 is believed to be the fastest ten furlongs ever run by a filly or mare on dirt in the United States.

4 Stephanie’s Kitten wins the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf

I have been a fan of Stephanie’s Kitten since she was a two-year-old in 2011, and while her career has featured some disappointments (she was unable to compete in the Breeders’ Cup in 2012 or 2013), it was very satisfying to see her go out on a winning note by winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf with a thrilling late run.

5 Shared Belief wins the San Antonio Stakes

In what was one of the most exciting races of the year, 2013 Champion 2yo Male Shared Belief and 2014 Champion 3yo Male and Horse of the Year California Chrome squared off in the San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita. In a moment that is even more meaningful in hindsight, Shared Belief–who passed away from colic on December 3rd–rallied to defeat California Chrome in one of the most impressive performances of the year.

Now it’s your turn! Which were your favorite races in 2015?

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin's quest to become North America's richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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4 Comments on "My Top 5 Favorite Races of 2015"

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JJ the TV Watcher
Hard to argue with the list. AP’s Belmont belongs as #1 for the sheer emotion of the victory – I’ll always remember the prolonged celebration as Victor paraded down the grandstand. I’d also cite his Preakness – that downpour! – and the Classic – he is who we thought he was. Beholder’s Pacific Classic and Shared Belief’s world class romp in the San Antonio would round out my top 5. Honorable mention goes to Liam’s Map very brave performance in the Dirt Mile – I thought he’d never get out of that box! And Honor Code closing like his hair… Read more »
Eric Rickard

Nice list J.
I would add the Derby to it. I was all in on Firing Line to finish in the top 3 with Dortmund and Pharaoh. Noe disappointed.
Beholder crushing the boys was a close second for me. The Belmont was just so surreal.
Divisidero in the American Turf at churchill was also won of my favorites.
The Ascot win for Undrafted was also a favorite of mine.