Jockey Who Visited Ohel Wins Triple Crown

Victor Espinoza, the jockey who prayed at the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens on Thursday ahead of competing in the Belmont Stakes, won first place in the annul race today, making him the first jockey to claim the elusive Triple Crown trophy in 37 years.

From the New York Times:

As American Pharoah came out of the far turn and squared his shoulders to let his rider, Victor Espinoza, stare down the long withering stretch of Belmont Park, a sense of inevitability surged through this mammoth old grandstand. The fans in a capacity crowd strained on their tiptoes and let out a roar from deep in their souls. It was going to end, finally — this 37-year search for a great racehorse.

No, a battered old sport was looking for an immortal thoroughbred, one worthy to stand alongside Sir Barton and Assault, War Admiral and Whirlaway, Count Fleet and Citation, a horse able to earn the title of a Triple Crown champion.

There had been only 11 of them history, and America had elected five presidents, fought three wars and lived through at least three economic downturns since Affirmed had last completed the feat in 1978.

Click here to continue reading at the NY Times.


  • shimon

    one second? do you really think the Rebbe would give someone a brocha to win a horse race on SHABBOS?????

    why is ahmed zayat a religious jew who owns the horse allowed to race his horse on SHABBOS????

    • he didnt race the horse someone else did it for him

      obviously he didnt race on shabbos. someone else raced it. he watched.

    • Chaim

      Of course the Rebbe gave Bracha for horse race. Gedaliah Goodman is trainer for the Rebbe. The Rebbe had him come back from Eretz Yisrael where he was learning in kollel for over 8 years to train horses and get close to the people involved in racing. Gedaliah has brought many people back to Yiddishkeit through his Shlichus. You can go to YOUTUBE Gedaliah Goodman Rebbe Brachah and see interviews, winning races, and of course video of one of the Rebbe’s Blessings to Gedaliah. Enjoy.

  • Hills Hashem

    This is a horse owner by an orthodox Jew used for gambling with is forbidden by halacha.

    The ride was on Shabbos. So there was hilul Shabbos involved.

    Why are we dragging the Rebbe into this?

    • Milhouse

      Where is this issur on gambling? And where is the chilul shabbos in a goy riding a horse?

    • Gedaliah Goodman

      Not correct what you write. The Rebbe gave me the Shlichut to train horses for racing. I have the Rebbe’s Brachah and before starting my Shlichut met with Rabbinic authorities as to clarify the many shilot involved. Anyone may contact me and I will be glad to answer the questions. You can see one of the Rebbe’s Bachot and interviews, winning races, etc. on You Tube.Also the video of the Rebbe giving me one of His Blessing is played at the Ohel many times during the day. Happy to discuss this with people, groups, farbrengens, if there is a problem understanding the issue.

  • YMSP

    Not the first time that “Pharoah” asked a brocha of Moses (Shemos 12:32).

  • missing credit

    Why isn’t Secretariat mentioned above? He won the triple crown in 1973!

  • addiction

    this does not make our Rebbe any greater.
    this doe snot give a hechsher to horse betting.

  • WOW

    Its because he visited the ohel -or maybe because the owner of the horse is a orthodox sephardic jew.

  • Can we hear from the "Shadchonim" of this visit please?

    Looking for some Halachic clarity. Many are wondering if this was proper.

    • Yossi

      You can contact Gedaliah Goodman. He lives in Crown Heights. He can answer your questions as the Rebbe gave him this special private Shlichus.

  • he didnt race the horse someone else did it for him

    and therefore its allowed

  • need to figure out your priorities

    Maybe the heads of and its PR heads need to figure out their priorities. I have no problem for anyone to go to the Ohel and gain some spirituality and maybe even a personal brocha. But to plaster this on all news feeds so we can show the greatness of our Rebbe is insulting to Chabad Lubavitch and the Rebbe himself. It is high time for the ones in charge to set some standards and not seek constant publicity where ever it may be taken. Its just wrong and giving, once again, our kids the wrong message.

    • Anonymous

      you are so right!
      this is true of so many things of late.
      there is total hefkeirus by us, unfortunately.
      All part of the birth pangs.
      time for the ‘birth” already!!

  • Aweaome.

    This is awesome.
    The Rebbes Brachos helped a human being reach his goals and fulfill his dreams.
    I am disgusted by all the negative comments.
    They seem to have missed the purpose of being Luba itch and reaching out to the while world.
    Thank Hashem, I left Crown Heights, I can think for myself, and not fool myself into thinking I’m a Banoni and am superior to other Non Chabad Jews or non jews.

    • Anonymous

      vas hakst du in tshaynik?
      I do not live in Crown Heights and I too feel this is not bikovoidik for our Rebbe.
      Anyone can and should be allowed to go to the Ohel but to publicize that a “ferd” rider won because the Rebbe interceded on his behalf is making a joke of the whole inyon of davening at the Ohel.
      This did not have to be made public.
      What, We needed this to make our Rebbe Big?
      I think it does not say much for those that made this public.

  • person

    I know a horse trainner; a professional trainer who became full on Ball Tschuva and Chasid. The Rebbe y=told him to stick with that profession. #lovedon’t hate

  • itce

    moishe mendel, you remind me of that inyon
    aveira goreres aveira.
    how do you tell someone (even if you don’t know them, you are still addressing another person) that they need psychiatric help. Is this what we learn from Torah and chassidus?
    what a sad representation of Torah and the Rebbe.
    hold yourself back from childish insults.

  • yehuda

    True someone else rode the horse but he was riding it for the Jewish person who also gets the winner’s money. Is the Jewish person allowed to keep the money. Is a goy allowed to do a melacha with the animal of a Jew for the Jew’s benefit.

  • Wondering

    I understand the discomfort that the owner calls himself frum yet deals in a hobby/business which has many shaalos, however this Espinoza guy who went to the Ohel for a brocho is a goy and to the best of my knowledge, he violated no noahide laws by his Belmont participation.

  • There is a boss

    Those who pushed this story should really have to vet these this was a disaster waiting to happen, it was very known the race was on Shabbos..

  • Kathy Downey

    Has no one listened to all the fact. The jockeys visit was 2 days before the Sabbath. As for the rest, it is up to G-d to decide if there is sin.

  • Moshe Handler

    If you really pay attention you will understand that the owners created a huge kiddush Hashem 2 days before the race by explaining they would not drive on Shabbos and that G-d comes first. Bravo to them.

  • mendy w.

    If god can let someone who openly violates shabbos win a big race and millions of dollars, then maybe I don’t need to put on my tefilin anymore. Maybe if I change to a profession where I have to work on shabbos then I will become a successful millionaire

    • hold on one second!

      Money is more important to u then G-d? do u know G-d’s plans-why did he make that he should win? maybe this will be his only reward in this world. in chassidus-kuntres umaayon it clearly states that every soul is on a different level. the mitzvah/sin u make is differently judged by G-d then anyone. plus will the Rebbe be proud?

  • Larry

    I agree 1000% with number 17. And by the way if he didn’t win that would’ve made a laughingstock out of the whole thing so what would’ve been the point by advertising this

  • The real crown

    If only he had asked for Moshiach to be crowned instead of Pharoah.

  • why the vitriol?

    To commenter 11, maybe you can find a respectful way to make your point? Hurling insults at others says nothing about others and loads about you.

  • Southern gal

    Victor Espinoza donated his earnings ($80,000) from winning the Belmont to charity – a hospital that does cancer research. The trainer donated his earnings ($200,000) to charity also. The Zayats are reputed to be big donors to Orthodox Jewish charities. Thought you would like to know that.

  • ex montrealer

    how about getting this millionare to donate to lubavitcher causes

  • Gedaliah Goodman

    People should not comment about a subject that they have no knowledge about. I have been racing horses as per the Rebbe’s request for over 30 years. I have an album full of winning races from all over the U.S. Also have had the schus, merit, to help many Jews return to Yiddishkeit. Winning races in N.Y., N.J., Pa., Ca., Fl., Del., Ill., Ohio., Md., etc., has given me the opportunity to interact with those Jews who would otherwise not be reached by regular channels. That is what the Rebbe wants and B”H it has born fruits. Any questions, I will be more than happy to respond.

    • David

      I have met a few people who became Baal T’Shuvas from their contact with Gedaliah G. Keep up the good work.

  • Abe

    But Reb Gedalia, what about Shabbos? And what about Jewish owners? Racing itself or training horses? Why not! Plenty of people in that and every walk of life to make a good impression on or mekarev- yashar koach! But since this is now a public debate please stop withholding all your proprietary knowledge and tell us why this was a kosher race. Personally, although I’m not a Chabad Chossid, it appalled me to see how some Lubavitchers turn their Rebbe into a good luck charm. Chadesh yameinu k’kedem.

    • To Abe from Gedaliah

      You can race a horse on Shabbos. Of course the problem is with earnings. That is why I tell anyone, in any business dealings, that are done on Shabbos and Yom Tov, they must consult a Rabbinic authority familiar with the laws of business, not just any Rabbi. Even those rabbonim well versed in business have a difficult time with these laws. I know very well how and what to do in the subject of racing horses on Shabbos or Yom Tov. I will not comment on this race as I do not know the owners. I would be amazed if any Jewish owners would even think of this problem unless they already conduct business on these days. It is not difficult in horse racing but you must do everything K’das V’Kadin as were the instructions to me from the Rebbe. I learned how and what to do from Rav Moshe Heineman of Baltimore, Md. as per the Rebbe’s instructions. There is much to say on this subject, but this is enough for now. Anyone interested or involved in horse racing can contact me in Crown Heights. My phone is listed in the Tzach list and the Brooklyn phone book. On the other subject of getting a Brachah, Blessing, from the Rebbe, I don;t feel that is called a good luck charm. The jockey, a non Jew, tried twice to win the Triple Crown after winning the first 2 races, once about 10 years ago, and again last year. The trainer failed 4 times, and this is all after 37 years. The results, I believe, speak for themselves. I have an album full of winners which I believe come from the Rebbe’s Brachot, not just one as this jockey and trainer have. You can see a few of them on YouTube. The clients that owned the horses that I won with were not Chabad- Lubavitch Chassidim, but some were associated with Chabad. This is very disappointing to me and to the Rebbe, as the Rebbe wants this to be a peulah nimsheches, an ongoing activity. It was, and is very painful that I had to give the Rebbe such news that the Chassidim and other observant Yidden that the Rebbe wanted to be part of this peulah, all turned the Rebbe down because of their, Katnus HaDas, small mindedness. They dared questioned the Rebbe’s instructions to me then and more so NOW. They are afraid and some appalled, as you say, that I follow the Rebbe’s instructions. Look at all the shmutz, filth, and disgusting things going on in the world and people are still afraid to join in with the Rebbe! I am ashamed of them, and for them. Think about what appalls you, Abe. Think about it seriously. Shabbat Shalom