Triple Crown excites fans, disappoints gamblers at Fairmount

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - A healthy crowd of racing fans filled the tables under the television monitors, just feet from the betting windows below the grandstands at Fairmount Park, in Collinsville, Ill.

You could tell the difference between the serious gamblers and the fans just there for the chance to witness history by the presence, or lack thereof, of a live race program.

Still, when the bell rung and the doors swung open at the Belmont Stakes everyone's attention was focused on the televisions hanging above them.

Immediately an excited murmur issued from the crowd.

It grew more intense over the next minute and a half; then into a cacophony of cheers in the final 45 seconds of the race.

American Pharoah was about to do what no other horse had done for the last 37 years; win the Triple Crown.

As he rocketed down the final stretch, men were jumping up and down like excited children on Christmas morning.

Some people were applauding wildly; one woman was telling the horse to, "Go, go, go!" as if uttering the words out into the universe they would spur him on all the more.

Even a concession stand employee pumped his fist sharing in the victory so many of us felt we shared as American Pharoah crossed the finish line and into the history books.

He will not be remembered as another to come up short like Big Brown (2008), or Afleet Alex (2005), or Sunday Silence (1989).

No, this Sunday it will not be silent, not for American Pharoah, and not in the hearts of those who love the sport of horse racing.

They have waited 37 years to celebrate one of the most elusive moments in sports history.

It will be a Real Quiet (another Triple Crown near miss from 1998) day for some gamblers though.

The payout odds for American Pharoah were not that great at 3-5, and many looking to make a big splash bet other horses to win with better payout odds.

Moments after the race ended, a sour faced man told me he would have rather seen American Pharoah lose and go 38 years without Triple Crown winner, than accept today's result.

His betting slip was left behind, littering the floor with so many others.


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