American Pharoah wins Preakness in driving rain

American Pharoah, ridden by Victor Espinoza, wins the 140th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Was)

BALTIMORE (AP) — American Pharoah won the Preakness by seven lengths in driving rain Saturday, keeping alive his Triple Crown bid.

With victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, American Pharoah needs a win in the Belmont Stakes to become the sport’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

American Pharoah will bring a six-race winning streak into Belmont on June 6 in New York.

Trained by Bob Baffert, American Pharoah was a heavy favorite in the Preakness despite starting from the unfavorable No. 1 post.

Breaking fast on a sloppy track as thunder roared in the background, American Pharoah took control early and won easily.

Tale of Verve finished second, a length ahead of Divining Rod. Dortmund was fourth.

The winner paid $3.60, $3.40 and $2.80.

Jockey Victor Espinoza rode American Pharoah. A year ago, Espinoza won the Derby and Preakness aboard California Chrome before losing in the Belmont.

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