By Claire Novak BloodHorse.com
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and his jockey, Victor Espinoza, have been nominated for two ESPYS, the sports broadcast company ESPN announced June 24.
Fans can vote for American Pharoah, the first horse ever to be nominated to the Best Championship Performance category, and for Espinoza, who was nominated as Best Jockey of 2015. The ESPYS (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) will take place July 15 at 8 p.m. EDT at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Calif.
VOTE: 2015 ESPYS http://espn.go.com/espys/2015/
American Pharoah is up against MLB World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, Women's College World Series MVP Lauren Haeger, and NBA Finals leading-scorer LeBron James.
Espinoza, who won the award for Best Jockey in 2014 for his season in the spotlight aboard Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner California Chrome, could take his third ESPY after also collecting one back in 2002. He faces 2013 ESPY winner Joel Rosario and multiple Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano.
Though a horse had never been nominated to the Best Championship Performance category, several have been nominated for various performances—including Blame for Best Upset with his 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) win over Zenyatta, and Giacomo in the same category for his 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) win, along with Afleet Alex for Best Moment with his 2005 recovery to take the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Despite nominations, a horse has never won an ESPY since the inception of the awards in 2004.