American Pharoah has won the second leg of horse racing's coveted Triple Crown, finishing first Saturday in the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes after pulling away down the stretch.
The colt, with jockey Victor Espinoza aboard, was undeterred by wet and sloppy conditions at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
It was the seventh straight victory for 3-year-old American Pharoah, who won by seven lengths. Tale of Verve took second, a length ahead of Divining Rod in a field of eight horses.
American Pharoah will try to capture the Triple Crown on June 6 in the third jewel of U.S. Thoroughbred horse racing, the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The colt is now the 14th horse with a Triple Crown chance since Affirmed, with Steve Cauthen aboard, won it 37 years ago. Espinoza has twice fallen short of winning the Triple Crown with losses in the Belmont, including last year when he rode California Chrome.
"I don't even want to think about that now," Bob Baffert, American Pharoah's famed trainer, said in reference to the Belmont. "I want to enjoy this."
Baffert earned his sixth Preakness win in Saturday's race.
American Pharoah, a heavy favorite, opened from the No. 1 post position, a spot Baffert was not happy with. The last horse to win the Preakness from that spot was Tabasco Cat in 1994.
But in a driving rain as thunder roared in the background, American Pharoah took control early and won easily.
"It went very well," Espinoza said. "He bounced out of there. He broke a little tiny bit slow, and I pushed him to the front."
Dortmund, also trained by Baffert, finished fourth.
Two weeks ago, American Pharoah won the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It was Baffert's fourth Derby win. Firing Line was second, with Dortmund third in the first defeat of his life. Dortmund had held an early lead.
American Pharoah owner Ahmed Zayat won his first Kentucky Derby after three second-place finishes.