By Joseph Staszewski

It was bedlam at Belmont.

The screams of 90,000 fans were deafening as they filled the air. Raised hands, high fives and flying beverages tossed in celebration joined those screams as American Pharaoh galloped down the straightaway unchallenged and into the history books.

It was bedlam at Belmont, the kind you can’t get anywhere else.

“All I did was take in the crowd,” said American Pharaoh trainer Bob Baffert. “The crowd, it was thundering.”

American Pharaoh ended the 37-year wait for a Triple Crown winner and became just the 12th horse ever to do so at Belmont Park June 6. Affirmed was the last horse to manage the feat in 1978. People jumped up and down, kissed their loved ones and shed tears.

American Pharaoh is the fifth wire-to-wire winner at the Belmont Stakes, beating second-place Frosted. His time of 2:26.65 was the second-fastest by a Triple Crown winner and sixth-best ever in the race. American Pharaoh’s jockey Victor Espinoza knew from the start how special the day would be.

“In the first turn,” Espinoza said, “he broke a little step slowly, but in two jumps I was just right ahead in the lead. That’s right were I want to be.”

American Pharaoh stayed there, never relinquishing his place in the race and his spot atop a sport so desperate for a real star. He came to New York as one after winning the Kentucky Derby and cruising to victory in the Preakness. Countless fans wore American flag attire—from shirts, to pants, to bow ties. Chants of “USA! USA! USA!” fell over Belmont before the race and only grew louder and louder once the race ended.

“There was something about this horse,” Baffert said. “He’s just brought it every time.”

No one ran for the exits like they did just last year when California Chrome faltered out of the gate and finished fourth. As Espinoza took his victory gallop in front of them they stayed, they stood and they cheered a little more with cellphones and cameras in hand.

You can’t miss out being the first generation with Triple Crown selfies and Instagram videos. You have to capture the sights and just as much the sounds. I did because after hearing the place as Real Quiet lost by a nose 17 years to the day in 1998 I know how special the sound is.

Madison Square Garden holds 20,000 people. Yankee Stadium 50,000 and MetLife 82,000. None of that compares to the sound at Belmont for a Triple Crown race. A Triple Crown winner—forget it.

Teams and players win a championship every year. We have now 12 Triple Crown winners in 96 years. If you were lucky enough to be there to live it, remember the sights and the sounds.

It was history. It was bedlam.

Related Stories
No Image
Best still to come for Mets
No Image
Droesch takes rightful place with CHSAA greats
Popular Stories
Long Island City strip mall to get BJ’s and Burlington Coat Factory
Thief drugged man's drink and stole his valuables while he slept in Queens home: cops
Rego Park's Shalimar Diner spared the wrecking ball, will be moved to Long Island with assist from a 1986 Met


Skip to toolbar