Ahmed Zayat Calls Coolmore Ashford Stud 'The Best Home' For His Prized Horse


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The owner of Triple Crown hopeful American Pharoah sold the breeding rights to his Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to Coolmore Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

Owner Ahmed Zayat said Wednesday the deal was reached in the past day or two, but would not disclose the value. Even before the announcement, Zayat’s son, Justin, said the family had been inundated with offers, many for more than $20 million.

Zayat said if American Pharoah wins the Belmont Stakes on June 6 and becomes the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, he plans to keep racing the colt through the end of the year.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Coolmore takes control, and American Pharoah would likely be retired. The 52-year-old Egyptian businessman who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, called Coolmore “the best home for American Pharoah.”

“I will continue to own 100 percent of the colt until he retires,” Zayat said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I will make all of the racing decisions. If he runs in the Belmont, and God willing wins, and we’re still fortunate, he will continue to race. This is not an issue whatsoever.”

But once the year ends, Coolmore “will be making the decisions, and it’s unlikely he will race again,” Zayat added. “The values are too insane. It’s just not economically feasible to continue.”

Zayat said he will retain an interest in American Pharoah after he is retired, as he does with many of his stallions.

Since American Pharoah is still racing, stud fees have yet to be determined. The colt’s sire, Pioneerof the Nile, is at WinStar Farm in Kentucky and stands at $60,000 per live foal.

The breeding rights to Affirmed sold for $14.4 million in 1979. Based on that figure and adjusting for inflation, American Pharoah’s value could be around $40 million.

Among the stallions standing at Coolmore’s Ashford farm are 2000 Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, 2000 European Horse of the Year Giant’s Causeway and 2010 Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky.

Coolmore is a worldwide breeding operation with farms in Kentucky, Australia and Ireland.

“We’re very happy with the deal,” Zayat said. “It takes two to tango. Coolmore was very competitive. They wanted the horse. It’s a good fit. We couldn’t ask for better partners.”

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)