Every once and a while, Sports Illustrated reminds us how good it really can be. The longtime sports magazine is doing just that this week.
Coincidentally, SI is doing so with the help of horse racing.
American Pharoah ended the sport’s 37-year Triple Crown drought over the weekend, winning the Belmont Stakes and becoming the first horse to win the three biggest races since Affirmed accomplished the feat in 1978.
The crowning achievement was immortalized forever on this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated. The simple, elegant cover features one of the best sports photographs in recent memory, with the horse dashing across the finish line at Belmont as spectators look on from both sides of the track.
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“During the race, I had no view of the track,” Sports Illustrated deputy picture editor Erick Rasco said on the magazine’s website. “The crowd had begun to stand on chairs and benches. 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.”
The result is an all-timer.