Pharoah fever

- -

The 2015 Triple Crown is nearly a year in the books, the 2016 edition now only days away.

There’s a new cast of characters and plenty of familiar names associated with the current crop of 3-year-old stars. There’s an undefeated colt with connections who came close to the sweep not that long ago, others trained by past horsemen who’ve succeeded on America’s biggest stage, too. There is interest in the new but make no mistake, there’s still plenty of American Pharoah fever to go around in the Bluegrass.

Swing by Wallace Station on Old Frankfort Pike and you’ll hear about the plain bay colt with the cool personality.

Go to the races, sit with owners and breeders, and you’re certain to hear about trying to get the mares to Ashford Stud’s breeding shed.

The public tours to Ashford are still rocking and rolling. Even Ryan Clancy went to see hi Saturday.

Take in a minor league baseball game on the last Saturday of April and you’ll even get caught up in the Pharoah fever. That’s right, baseball.

Last night was American Pharoah Night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, home of the Lexington Legends Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

First pitch at 6:35 p.m. was preceded by replays of American Pharoah’s victories in all three Triple Crown races. The big crowd got pumped watching him fend off Firing Line and Dortmund in the Kentucky Derby, got a little more jacked seeing him splash through the slop to win the Preakness and were practically ready to run on the field when they saw him complete the sweep in the Belmont Stakes.

The Legends players were decked out in special one-night-only jerseys in the blue and yellow colors of Zayat Stables and lucky fans with deep enough pockets could get their own via a silent auction right behind the Kentucky Ale Taproom. Just get your bids in by the seventh inning.

A bouncy horse race was run, kid vs. kid. They probably could have gotten away with a few more. Maybe a stick horse race or two even.

Not long after the West Sixth inning – $1 gets you a 10-ounce IPA from the local brewery, for as long as the top of the sixth inning lasts – the benches cleared after the Legends’ Franco Terrero threw a pitch over the head of West Virginia Power batter Tito Polo. The players never came close to an actual fight, but Legends manager Omar Ramirez was tossed for a subsequent argument.

Not sure how American Pharoah would have felt about such chicanery, but considering his laid-back way of going he probably wouldn’t have been a big fan.

No doubt he would have appreciated a night in his honor. If he were only there, now that would have been something.