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Yes, American Pharoah's name is spelled wrong and it is a mistake

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American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes and the whole damn Triple Crown. Pharaoh is a word for an ancient Egyptian ruler. "Pharoah," as in the horse's name, is not that word or a word at all, but it is probably the most common misspelling of that word. This is very confusing and made for a lot of incorrectly correct race summaries:

So what's the deal? Why is the fastest horse at the Derby such a nightmare for copy editors? It's a real mistake, and it just got passed up the chain.

Via The Courier-Journal: Though American Pharoah racing manager Justin Zayat initially blamed the error on The Jockey Club, it turns out it started with a misspelled (winning) entry into the Zayats' annual naming contest:

"The name request for the 2012 colt American Pharoah was submitted electronically on January 25, 2014, through The Jockey Club's interactive registration site," Gagliano said. "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. We wish Zayat Stables and American Pharoah continued success."

Zayat later responded in support of The Jockey Club's statement, saying that, "After I looked into our records I saw how it was submitted."

Basically, "pharaoh" is such a tricky word to spell that multiple people seeing it in isolation and with money invested in its usage can overlook a transposition of those last two vowels.

Anyway, horses can't spell, so who cares.