American Pharoah has special place in Derby fans’ hearts

American Pharoah’s journey to racing history a year ago spurred Richie Columbus to make his first trip to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.
Until Pharoah, horse racing typically drew his attention just once a year, when Columbus watched the Derby on TV. But when Pharaoh galloped across the finish line at the Belmont Stakes last year to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, Columbus was hooked.
A huge crowd gathered Saturday at the famed track for a full day of racing. Fans basked in breezy temperatures expected to reach the low 80s.
Throughout the track, fans sifted through the field of Derby horses listed on race forms, hoping to land on Pharoah’s successor as a Derby winner.
Joe Cicci, of Syracuse, New York, won the trifecta betting on Pharoah last year. It was one of his favorite bets in 25 years of handicapping.

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