On May 2015, American Pharoah started as the 2.9-1 favorite in an eighteen-runner field for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. His opponents included Dortmund (Santa Anita Derby), Carpe Diem (Breeders' Futurity Stakes, Blue Grass Stakes), Firing Line (Sunland Derby), Frosted (Wood Memorial), Materiality (Florida Derby), Mubtaahij (UAE Derby), and Upstart (Holy Bull Stakes). Espinoza positioned the colt in third place early in the race as Dortmund took the lead, followed closely by Firing Line. The three remained ahead of the pack throughout the race, and broke clear of their rivals entering the straight with American Pharoah making a forward move on the outside. The favorite took the lead entering the final furlong and won by a length from Firing Line and Dortmund, with Frosted finishing strongly in fourth.