Justin Zayat, the Racing & Stallion Manager at Zayat Stables said this week that his family’s thoroughbred racing operation would be accepting an offer from Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky, for American Pharoah, their Triple Crown hopeful.
Justin Zayat is a graduate of the Frisch School, a Modern Orthodox oriented school in Paramus, NJ, – home of The Zayat Athletic Center – as well as Yavneh Academy. This week, he graduated from NYU. But he is not the stud I speak of.
American Pharoah is. American Pharoah, a two year old bay colt, recently won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and will race in Belmont, NY in an attempt to win the Belmont Stakes and the coveted Triple Crown of horse racing.
American Pharoah is descended from Pioneer of the Nile. The horse is valuable as a breeder/stud, and although terms were not disclosed, past horses have sold for millions of dollars, and continued to generate revenue shares for past owners. Big Brown, another Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, reportedly sold for $50 million in 2008.
Justin’s father, Ahmed Zayat (pictured above), is the head of Zayat Stables. A successful businessman and gambler, Ahmed (Ephraim) was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in its suburb of Maadi, where he competed in horse jumping. Zayat came to the US to study at Harvard, and graduated from Yeshiva University and Boston University, worked in New York City, and then returned to Egypt to run Al-Ahram Beverages Co., a beer distributor. Zayat, 52, made a fortune when he sold the restructured firm a decade ago to Heineken for about $287 million. Prior to 2015, three of Zayat’s horses have finished second at the Kentucky Derby. No horse or owner has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed won in 1987.American Pharoah (the spelling is incorrect, but that is how he was registered) and Pioneer of the Nile, his sire, reflect Zayat’s Egyptian roots. Justin Phillip is named for Justin. Point Ashley is named for another child (Ashley), as is Littleprincessemma (named for daughter Emma, not Princess).
The horse won the Eclipse Award in 2014. He has earned about $3.7 million and won in the Arkansas Derby, Del Mar Futurity, and FrontRunner Stakes, in addition to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. At the Preakness, American Pharoah with even odds paid out $3.80 to win and $2.80 to show. At the Derby, a bet on American Pharoah paid out $7.80 to win, $5.80 to place, and $4.20 to show. Can one wager on a horse before the Sabbath if it runs on the Sabbath? I am not sure.