American Phaorah stormed down the final stretch to capture the 141st Kentucky Derby crown.
"The most exciting two minutes in sports" quickly devolved into a three-horse race, with Dortmund and Firing Line galloping neck-and-neck before American Pharoah passed them from the outside lane. The win marks the second straight Derby victory for jockey Victor Espinoza, who rode California Chrome last year.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who also entered third-place finisher Dortmund, picked up his fourth Run for the Roses win. His last first-place finish came 13 years ago, when Espinoza led War Emblem to glory.
Here are the full results from Saturday's race.
|2015 Kentucky Derby Results|
|Place||No.||Horse||Jockey||Trainer||Lengths (Behind Winning Time)|
|1||18||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||2:03.02|
|2||10||Firing Line||Gary Stevens||Simon Callaghan||1|
|3||8||Dortmund||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||3|
|4||15||Frosted||Joel Rosario||Kiaran McLaughlin||3 1/4|
|5||5||Danzig Moon||Julien Leparoux||Mark Casse||6 1/2|
|6||3||Materiality||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||7 3/4|
|7||14||Keen Ice||Kent Desormeaux||Dale Romans||8 3/4|
|8||6||Mubtaahij||Christophe Soumillon||Mike de Kock||9 1/2|
|9||13||Itsaknockout||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher||10 1/4|
|10||2||Carpe Diem||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||11|
|11||21||Frammento||Corey Nakatani||Nick Zito||12|
|12||9||Bolo||Rafael Bejarano||Carla Gaines||12 3/4|
|13||17||Mr. Z||Ramon Vazquez||D. Wayne Lukas||15 1/2|
|14||1||Ocho Ocho Ocho||Elvis Trujillo||Jim Cassidy||15 1/2|
|15||20||Far Right||Mike Smith||Ron Moquett||15 3/4|
|16||16||War Story||Joe Talamo||Tom Amoss||19 1/4|
|17||4||Tencendur||Manny Franco||George Weaver||35|
|18||19||Upstart||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||60 1/2|
|7||El Kabeir||Calvin Borel||John Terranova||SCR|
|11||Stanford||Florent Geroux||Todd Pletcher||SCR|
|12||International Star||Miguel Mena||Michael Maker||SCR|
Although framed as one of Churchill Downs' most loaded fields in recent memory, the favorite once again emerged victorious. ESPN Stats & Info noted the lack of parity over the past three years:
With three highly regarded horses occupying the top spots, bettors will not receive highly lucrative payouts.
|2015 Kentucky Derby Payouts|
In front of Louisville's largest recorded crowd, American Pharoah earned his fifth consecutive victory, the last at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. Before igniting the winning streak, he finished fifth in a maiden race at Del Mar, prompting Baffert to seek Espinoza's assistance.
"I told his agent, 'I'm thinking of running a horse who was sort of a problem child,'" Baffert told the Los Angeles Times' Gary Klein. "War Emblem was a problem child. [Espinoza's] pretty good with those problem-child horses."
Baffert's two favorites both finished in the money, but Simon Callaghan's Firing Line nearly thwarted both of them. With 52-year-old jockey Gary Stevens at the helm, Firing Line jousted with Dortmund for top positioning during the backstretch.
He didn't falter with a sluggish finish, but he was simply beat by a dominant colt during the final furlong. Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form commended the runner-up's performance:
Stevens' Kentucky Derby drought extends to 18 years, but the Hall of Famer still boasts three first-place finishes and nine Triple Crown victories.
Undefeated entering the weekend, Dortmund settled for third. Yet he should remain a top contender at the Preakness Stakes, which features a shorter track at 9 ½ furlongs that works to the burner's advantage.
After American Pharoah's rousing performance, Triple Crown speculation will immediately commence. Paulick Report's Scott Jagow gives Pharoah a legitimate chance of becoming the first to win all three major events since Affirmed in 1978:
He'll require a quick turnaround to prepare for May 16's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Even if Baffert's colt extends his winning streak to six, the Belmont Stakes has proven a tough hurdle for contenders to climb.
Last year, California Chrome became the 12th horse to lose his Triple Crown bid at the third and final leg. While American Pharoah displayed the endurance and closing burst necessary to defy the odds, a long road lies ahead before becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner.