Susan Sommer-Luarca showing her colt High Beam some of her work. (Photos courtesy of Sommer-Luarca)
Susan Sommer-Luarca has been keeping busy and she can thank American Pharoah for that. As the official artist for the horse, and jockey Victor Espinoza, Sommer-Luarca has just released the fifth in a series of paintings honoring America’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.
“This official portrait of the ‘Champ’ pays homage to a truly great Thoroughbred racehorse of our time,” Sommer- Luarca said. “As requested by the Zayats, I have placed the World Champion in Egypt, my signature composition for American Pharoah, to represent ‘Pharoah’ and his owners heritage.”
Like the four paintings of American Pharoah previously completed by Sommer-Luarca (featured in this interview with America’s Best Racing in July), her latest work of art is filled with unique touches.
“I also included the Zayat Stables silks draped over the ruins in front of the Giza pyramids, along with three distinct crowns symbolizing his Triple Crown triumph. In addition, each crown has a different color of jewel; red, white and blue to represent ‘American’ for his name sake. A stone remnant in the foreground is carved with the official Zayat Stables logo,” she said.
THE CREATION OF THE PAINTING
Video courtesy of Susan Sommer-Luarca
A lifelong horse person, Sommer-Luarca was honored to have a front row seat for all of the highlights of American Pharoah’s historic 2015 campaign. Along the way, Sommer-Luarca also took steps to realizing another one of her dreams - becoming a racehorse breeder and owner.
“2015 will go down as a year of dreams coming true as I send my first race horse to begin training this month,” she said.
SOMMER-LUARCA AND HER HORSE HIGH BEAM AS A FOAL
“I was inspired to begin breeding my own Thoroughbreds through friends and clients who are owners and breeders of some of the best horses in the country. I grew up on a horse farm. The greatest reward as a breeder was knowing that your choices played a part in the making of a great horse, and I wanted to try to have that feeling again with Thoroughbreds. High Beam is my 18-month-old stallion that I raised. I acquired his dam from Grayson Farm four years ago and took her to Spendthrift Farm in 2013 where she was bred to Temple City. High Beam is everything I hoped for and more. He's stunning, big, intelligent and truly loves to run. I have much anticipation and pride for my future race horse that I raised from scratch. The dream continues.”
HIGH BEAM AS A YEARLING
America’s Best Racing will continue to follow the progress of High Beam and look out for the final two paintings in her American Pharoah collection.
The original of the most recently completed portrait, a 4'x5' canvas, is owned by the Zayats, but prints are available for purchase. Limited edition, heavy weight, museum paper giclees start at $99, or stretched, museum mount, canvas print giclee, hand embellished, signed and numbered for $1,250 on Sommer-Luarca’s website; SSLWORLDWIDE.COM. There, you will also find the entire collectible series of giclee prints from the paintings created throughout the year.
Sommer-Luarca is also currently sculpting life-sized and smaller version official American Pharoah bronze sculptures. She said those will be available on her site soon.
THE AMERICAN PHAROAH PAINTING