LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - About 10 miles down the road from Rupp Arena is Stockplace Farm on Briar Hill Road in Lexington; the home of champions of a different breed, especially one in particular.
"We had Indian Charlie in 1998, we had Commanding Curve last year and he was second (in the Kentucky Derby) who was my own horse who was raised here," Stockplace Farm owner Tom VanMeter said. "This year we had American Pharoah. "
VanMeter says on Groundhog Day in 2012, just after 11:00 in the afternoon, he got a phone call that a dam named Littleprincessemma was going into labor. Fast forward three years later and the colt he held in his arms before anyone else went on to win the Triple Crown for the first time since 1978.
VanMeter has owned Stockplace Farm since 1986 and is also the on-site Equine Veterinarian. He says at the time of American Pharoah's birth, the colt was just "another nice big brown horse."
"It's like saying that Michael Jordan was going to be a great basketball player when he was in kindergarten," VanMeter said. "You just don't know."
After learning how to walk (and eventually run), American Pharoah left Stockplace Farm after five months to go live on VanMeter's farm in Clark County.
"It feels awesome," VanMeter said. "We're going to have to get a historical marker, we're going to have to call the governor, we're going to have to have a big soiree. It's awesome that it started right here."
Up next for VanMeter is setting up a "date" for American Pharoah's sire, Pioneer of the Nile. He says Pioneer of the Nile will "meet" Mother, the dam of Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve on Monday.