2015 Belmont Stakes: We were front row for the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

In Experiences by westporthouse

The Westport House guys were front row for the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

The Triple Crown came to a “Pharoah Tale Ending” on Saturday when American Pharoah became the first Thoroughbred in 37 years to capture the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes to win one of the most elusive trophies in sports.


The accomplishment sent the packed house at Belmont Park into a frenzy and the guys from Westport House were there to be a part of it. They made up a fraction of the 90,000 people who had all come together to root for the same team, that of American Pharoah. Needless to say, the race horse did not disappoint. A layer of suspense masked the air like a fog as all were anticipating the opening of the gates. Then, just like that, the bell rings and they’re off! The layer of suspense quickly gave way to shouts of unfiltered joy and excitement as the attendees and the residents of Westport House were witnessing history right in front of them.

He can do this! – Resident

Residents were shouting words of encouragement and doing all they could to will the #18 race horse to move faster, faster, faster. American Pharoah crossed the finish line in stride, earning himself the first Triple Crown in 37 years and a deafening roar from the crowd. The elation was undeniable from our residents and it was not lost on them that this elation was obtained from the purity of the moment and bonding felt between them and their peers. Nowhere in the equation was alcohol and drugs. This is yet another lesson for our residents, in that they were able to feel a genuine and honest sense of fulfillment that did not require any substances to induce. They witnessed history as sober young men.

We just witnessed history!! – Resident

Attendance at the Belmont Stakes was a real life experience, bolstered by the bonding and friendships between our residents, that allowed these young men to gain experience in doing activities sober that they would have previously done while under the influence. Within this premise lies a very simple gift that we can offer our residents. That is, we can teach, describe, or demonstrate the tactics involved with living a fulfilling, sober life as long as we would like, but until a young man is able to feel the true validation that comes from actually experiencing these things he will never fully learn. At Westport House, we hold the tenets of experiential therapy, particularly during early recovery, at a value of great significance. We believe that knowledge means little without the experience to validate it, adjust it accordingly, and then reinforce its truth.

Belmont was a great opportunity for the guys to share a thrilling and exciting experience. It was awesome. As a program, these are the kind of activities we look for to encourage bonding, friendships and real life experiences in social situations. We couldn’t have asked for a better learning opportunity – Al Samaras, Executive Director

We have a busy summer planned at Westport House. Stay tuned for more stories of adventure and recovery.