NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Triple Crown Trophy that went unclaimed for nearly four decades was in the firm grasp of American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat.
“This is for the sport,” he proclaimed after his brilliant colt won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. “Thirty-seven years! This is for all of you.”
And then he turned and handed off the trophy to his trainer, Bob Baffert, who then gave it to jockey Victor Espinoza.
Like the rest of the racing world, Zayat has dreamed of being part of a Triple Crown. Now he owns a champion.
The 52-year-old from Egypt, who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, has known all along he had a champion in American Pharoah. All that was needed: a clear path to the finish line.
He got it in the Belmont.
Zayat entered the racing business only 10 years ago. He’s had many tough losses, including three seconds in the Kentucky Derby.
Now he owns the first horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont since Affirmed in 1978.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.” Zayat said. “We won an unbelievable race in my own state. I have been extremely confident all week and looked at wife in the post parade and said, ‘Get ready to be the owner of 12th Triple Crown winner.’ He looked full of energy.”
“Unbelievable,” his son and stable manager Justin Zayat said. “No words for this.”
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