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'American Pharoah, Welcome To Greatness'

American Pharoah #5, ridden by Victor Espinoza, comes out of the paddock during the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday in Elmont, N.Y.
American Pharoah #5, ridden by Victor Espinoza, comes out of the paddock during the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday in Elmont, N.Y.

On Saturday, race horse American Pharoah won the first Triple Crown in 37 years. Laura Hillenbrand, acclaimed best-selling author of Seabiscuitand Unbroken, wrote this reflection on the win:

Be thankful for defeat. Be thankful for failure. Be thankful for frustration, for heartbreak, for foolish mistakes, for frailty, for hard luck, for doubt, for longing.

These are the things that gauge the robustness of the challenges we choose, that sound the depths of our bravery and fortitude, that measure our worth. Only those intimate with the pain of loss feel in full the sweet euphoria of triumph.

I am grateful that I waited 37 years, since I was a little girl, for this day. I am grateful for all the brave horses who tried and failed and scattered our hopes. When American Pharoah bent his exquisitely beautiful body into the homestretch at Belmont today, scorching fractions faster and faster as his jockey sat taut-armed on his back and 90,000 fans shouted him home, it was those horses, and those 37 years, that made his staggering, unbelievable accomplishment meaningful. They were the leavening of this overwhelming joy, as essential to it as this magnificent creature.

Thank you to the star-crossed Spectacular Bid, to the crying jockey Chris Antley, to the gallant little Smarty Jones, to all the others. American Pharoah, welcome to greatness.

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