American Pharoah makes Sports Illustrated cover

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There were a lot of people and one horse on the Sports Illustrated cover this week.

American Pharoah, the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, graced the SI cover along with thousands of cheering fans at Belmont Park.

Here’s the story behind the shot from

As 90,000 spectators waited anxiously to see if history would be made at the 147th Belmont Stakes last Saturday, Sports Illustrated’s deputy picture editor, Erick Rasco, desperately attempted to find a decent vantage point near the finish line. If American Pharoah crossed the line first, it would break an almost four-decade drought of any horse winning the sport’s most coveted prize: the Triple Crown. In order to get any kind of shot, Rasco attached his Canon EOS 1D X with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to the end of a monopod, creating a pole cam reaching several feet above his head. With his remote trigger attached, which locked down the focus and focal length, Rasco and his fellow spectators, many armed with smartphones, fixed their eyes on the track. During the race I had no view of the track. The crowd had begun to stand on chairs and benches, Rasco said. The only way I knew to fire the camera as American Pharoah approached the finish was from the intensity of the crowd around me yelling and cheering. Based on that, I fired a burst of frames from my camera. I didn’t see any of the horses at the finish. I hoped I timed it right with the crowd guiding me.

He did.

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