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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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