Great thoroughbred racehorses are usually well aware of their talents. Bred and pampered as competitors, they can take dominance to an extreme, biting, kicking and generally treating people and other horses as annoyances.
American Pharoah is different. The 3-year-old colt, who has quickly become America's favorite horse as he makes his run for the final leg of the Triple Crown at Belmont on Saturday, is a gentler breed of competitor. Along with his misspelled name and curtailed tail, Pharoah stands out for his docile, almost cuddly demeanor.
"This guy, he's like a pet," Ahmed Zayat, American Pharoah's owner, told CNBC in an interview. "He loves when you come up and pet him. He loves playing with you, he is fun. So for me, this is a sign of a guy who is so confident in his ability."
Zayat added that most of his other racehorses are the opposite.
"I have other horses that are kind of full of themselves and they bite and they're mean," he said. "It's 'I'm the big dog.' American Pharoah is different. He has a humbleness to him."