American Pharoah’s Triple Crown win might mean millions in future earnings for owner Ahmed Zayat because of a different horse in his stable.
American Pharoah made history Saturday at the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win all three Triple Crown races. In those 37 years, 12 horses unsuccessfully ran the Belmont with a Triple Crown on the line.
While Zayat will profit off the race, he’s already sold American Pharoah’s breeding rights. Thanks to what he called dumb luck, he does, however, still own 75 percent of American Pharoah’s father, Pioneerof the Nile, which might turn out to be more profitable.
“If you asked most breeders if they’d rather breed to a Triple Crown winner, or breed to the sire of a Triple Crown winner, the majority would take the latter,” said Rommy Faversham, a pedigree analyst and contributor to the 2004 book “Racehorse Breeding Theories.”
A horse’s racing performance doesn’t directly correlate to success at stud -- the price generally grows once a stallion’s offspring show success on the track. Tapit, the most expensive stud in the U.S., for example, started at $15,000 and his fee is now $300,000.
So while American Pharoah’s stud fees will start high because of his success -- in the neighborhood of $75,000 according to Faversham -- that number is partially pegged on speculation. Pioneerof the Nile, by contrast, a 9-year-old who was runner-up in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, is proven.
That Zayat still owns 75 percent of the horse is a fortunate coincidence, according to the owner. When he syndicates his stallions, or sells a part of them, Zayat said he typically only stays in for 25 percent, but the market was soft when Pioneerof the Nile was shopped.
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart,” he said.
Pioneerof the Nile stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, where he’s been since Vinery Stud closed two years ago. His stud fees tripled this year to $60,000, and probably will rise again to more than $100,000 in 2016 depending on results the rest of the year, according to Darren Fox, director of the stallion breeding season at WinStar.