Race favorite American Pharoah has emerged victorious in the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.
The Bob Baffert-trained horse was ridden to the win by Victor Espinoza.
Firing Line, ridden by Gary Stevens, was a length behind in second, and Dortmund, ridden by Martin Garcia, was a further three lengths back in third.
A record crowd of 170,513 were at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, to watch the first leg of the Triple Crown, with American Pharoah now being aimed toward the Preakness Stakes on May 16.
It was Espinoza’s second straight win in the race, having won last year on California Chrome.
The race had a starting field of 18 following the scratching of four horses.
No horse has completed the much-vaunted Triple Crown – a win in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – since Affirmed in 1978.
American Pharoah is likely to again face Firing Line and Dortmund – another horse trained by Baffert – when he lines up for the Preakness.
“We’re prepared for another tough race,” Baffert, a five-times winner of the Preakness Stakes – told reporters.
“It’s a huge sigh of relief to get it done,” he said. “I may never have another chance like this. It was my Derby to lose and we got lucky.”
It was ideal weather for the running of the $US2 million race.
Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $US194.3 million, an increase of 4 percent over the 2014 total of $US186.6 million, and an increase of 4 percent over the previous record set in 2012 of $US187.0 million.
Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race increased 7 percent to $US137.9 million from 2014’s $US129.2 million and a 4 percent increase over the previous record set in 2012 of $US133.1 million.