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    American Pharoah was paraded before fans Saturday night just before the stakes races began on a stakes-filled Stephen Foster and Downs After Dark card at Churchill Downs. The Triple Crown winning connections, owner Ahmed Zayat and family, trainer Bob Baffert, and jockey Victor Espinoza, were also on hand to accept their engraved Kentucky Derby trophies.

    The fans came out in droves--28,968 of them--to see the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years up close; well, as close as they could get. The paddock rail was packed, probably five or six rows deep, and that's just from my vantage point inside the paddock. It was likely a different view looking into the paddock. Fans packed every balcony or elevated seat to peer down on American Pharoah as he made his way across the track and into the paddock. Cameras and phones were raised high with hopes of catching a glimpse of "America's horse." (Don't tell the connections of the late Cigar, he's lost his moniker). Fans spouted out congratulations and cheers in waves as American Pharoah made his way around the paddock. After the parade, the winning connections received their engraved Kentucky Derby trophies in a ceremony inside the new G.H. Mumm Winner’s Circle. 

    I can't quite put the night's experience in words, but hopefully some of the (iPhone) photos I was able to grab and put into this slideshow will do the night justice. Please look for commentary under photos.

    Photos: J. Oswald

     

    Slideshow: 
    Jessie Oswald's picture

    About Jessie Oswald

    I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as a paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!

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