He is the answer to the question that was endlessly speculated on for nearly four decades, the tangible evidence the Thoroughbred industry yearned for but was losing hope of finding.
What would the modern racing world look like if it finally got to witness a Triple Crown winner again? A silver-bullet fix to racing's ailments are thoroughly unreasonable to expect from a single entity. But the query of whether the end of a drought would live up to the collective expectation had been dangling over Thoroughbred racing for 37 years.
In sauntered American Pharoah with his bottomless well of ability and indefatigable cruising speed. He made each leg of the American classics look easier than the one before and injected emotion into the most unshakable of hardboots.
In the months since his Belmont Stakes clincher on June 6, American Pharoah has been a crossover ambassador featured on everything from fashion magazines (Vogue) to publications across the globe. Coincidentally or not, even overall handle on United States races has jumped 0.86 percent from 2014 to 2015 in the year-to-date comparison to this point.
The racing world has had nearly five months to drink in the champagne bubble of the 12th Triple Crown winner in history. Leading into Saturday's $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland, the reality of his existence is being overtaken by the fact that the on-track exploits of the chosen one are coming to an end.
It is both a blessing and a stress for horsemen to know they are leading over a legend for a final time. With the 11/4-mile Classic set to be American Pharoah's final start before retiring to Ashford Stud, his connections have had ample time to try to accept that the horse has only one more chance to take his greatness to another level.
"We're taking it day by day," said owner Ahmed Zayat, who also bred American Pharoah. "He's a happy horse and I'm focused on keeping him happy until the day comes. This is a big race for him, this is his grand finale and I want him to go out (on top) for Pharoah. He's changed everybody's lives, he changed the sport, he's changed everything. And we just want him to run the race of his life."
The real way American Pharoah has spoiled everyone is by his continued presence on the racetrack. Where some thought economics would translate into the champion colt being retired shortly after he cooled out following his 51/2-length Belmont Stakes triumph, Zayat and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert stuck to their word of showcasing the seven-time Grade I winner.
There was the high of his Grade I Haskell Invitational effort Aug. 2 where American Pharoah was geared down in midstretch by jockey Victor Espinoza en route to a 21/4-length win. While his upset loss to Keen Ice in the Grade I Travers Stakes on Aug. 29 sparked regret over the decision to wheel back so soon after the Haskell, arguably the most painful thing his camp deals with is the notion that their charge is going to end his racing days with potential untapped.
"Just watching him work (Monday) ... it hits me when I talk about it," Baffert said. "Just watching him train, watching the way he goes around there, it's been an honor and a pleasure to train him. He's just an incredible athlete.
"He's a horse in the morning who is always brilliant, Pharoah is Pharoah," added Zayat. "The more (Baffert) is working him, the more he is asking of him, the more he is loving it. I'm kind of sad that he's going to miss that part of it, of him going and doing what he loves which is to compete."
The immediate impact of American Pharoah becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 was literally right in Zayat's face post-Belmont.
"I will never forget the day, a grandfather comes to me and he gives me a kiss, and I don't know this man," Zayat recalled. "And he looks at me and says, 'I just want to thank you.' But it's not about me, it's about the horse. That's what this horse has done for the fans."
On Wednesday morning, while watching American Pharoah walk the shedrow instead of training over the rain-drenched main track at Keeneland, Baffert showed the live feed of the Santa Anita Park stall that the best horse he's ever conditioned occupied until Tuesday.
It sits empty now, and Baffert has given orders for it not to be filled yet. After Saturday, tending to the void will be a task for the entire racing community to take up.
"It's getting a little bit tough," Baffert said. "I feel like his father and I want to make sure my son goes out there and puts on a good performance."