American Pharoah retires, drowns in Swamp of Sadness

LEXINGTON, KY. — On Sunday morning, visitors gathered outside Barn 62 to say farewell to American Pharoah as he ended his stunning racing career and began the long journey to the mystical swamp where he will be humanely drowned in a bottomless pit of quicksand.

Pharoah’s victory in last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup Classic marks a fitting end to the career of a horse that won 9 of 11 races, and captured something more valuable than the first Triple Crown in 37 years: our hearts. The nation’s 200 remaining fans of horse racing stood in line for hours, taking photos with the champion and decorating his mane with wildflowers (whose petals will immediately turn to dust in the swampy murk that feeds on despair.)

Until now, fans assumed the wonder horse would retire to live out the rest of his days at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. However, this week a Coolmore spokesman clarified, thanks to “advances in suction technology” and a number “very sexy photos” ripped from his wife’s ‘Gorgeous Horses 2013’ calendar, the company is able to harvest enough of the champion’s sperm that “the actual horse becomes unnecessary.”

Thus, one stormy night this November, the colt that taught us all to dream will be led into the pages of a dusty story book, across the ashen fields and crumbling dreamscape of Fantasia, and into the legendary Swamp of Sadness whose inescapable mud holds the bones and legacy of such champion stallions as the great Artax.

“No one wants to see their heroes grow old,” concedes trainer Bob Baffert. “This way, we will never have to watch our beloved Pharoah dissolve into the creeping nothingness of bankruptcy, assault allegations, and hospitalizations due to the physical and mental damage it took to become a winner.”

Ahmed Zayat, the horse’s owner added, “a true champion knows when to say goodbye.” Zayat has already passed on an offer from FOX to have American Pharoah join a panel of retired horses providing color commentary for the 2016 Kentucky Derby. So too has Pharoah’s team turned down a commercial deal pairing the horse with Michael Jordan to advertise Hanes new ‘Comfort-Ride’ Briefs. Zayat closed the event with his signature pragmatism, “American Pharoah thrilled us with his strength and speed. And now that his speed is gone, it’s time to jettison him into an interdimensional portal, and get back to work finding our next champ.”

As if on cue, the darkening clouds overhead released a cold and steady rain — perhaps a symbolic reminder that being a fan means letting go. With a grateful nod, the crowd lifted their umbrellas and set off toward their cars, comforted by the thought that long after their hero is preemptively drowned in mud, his spirit will endure as part of the never-ending story of champions we briefly loved.

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