Why American Pharoah's Name Is Misspelled
It's a typo that nobody caught
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2015 5:33 PM CDT
American Stakes Pharoah, with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez, gallops around the track at Belmont Park Friday.   (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

(Newser) American Pharoah is the favorite to win tomorrow's Belmont Stakes, thus becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. But about that name: "Pharoah" should be spelled "Pharaoh," and while lots of horses have intentionally misspelled monikers, that's not what happened here. It's just a permanent typo. As Louisville's Courier-Journal reports, the name got submitted that way to the Jockey Club by owner Zayat Stables. At first, racing manager Justin Zayat blamed the club for the typo, but the club's president quickly batted down that suggestion:

  • "The name request for the 2012 colt American Pharoah was submitted electronically on January 25, 2014, through The Jockey Club's interactive registration site. Since the name met all of the criteria for naming and was available, it was granted exactly as it was spelled on the digital name application."
Zayat then conceded the club was correct. The idea for the name came from a woman who participated in a fan-submission contest on the Zayat website, and ABC News tracked her down: “I remember looking up the spelling that I would spell it right,” says Marsha Baumgartner. “I guess I could’ve transposed the letters when I entered it." So while it's not clear whether Baumgartner or Zayat is the culprit, "pharoah" is an unintentional typo. “I can’t put blame on anyone," adds Baumgartner, "but I think it makes him more unique."