Wednesday, June 10, 2015

American Pharoah Will Continue to Race, but Why?

Yesterday I wrote that American Pharoah would probably be retired and put out to stud now that he's won the Triple Crown, but I was wrong.  Apparently, he'll continue to race.

The owner of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah says plans are underway for his champion to race again this year.  (ESPN)

Ahmed Zayat, American Pharoah's owner, sold the breeding rights before the Belmont, but they don't kick in until Pharoah actually retires. 

 "They have zero say until he retires,'' Zayat said. "We owe it to the sport to do the right thing. Money plays an important factor in this game. I've already sold the breeding rights, but it is my genuine desire, as a fan, as someone who loves horses, to race him as long as I possibly can.''  (ESPN)

 But what if American Pharoah is injured in a race?
Should anything happen to the colt in future races, Zayat is covered by an insurance policy for which the rates are "incredibly high,'' Baffert said recently. (ESPN)
My first question was, "Why would they take this risk?"   So, I looked it up and, apparently, many other Triple Crown winners have continued to race.
 The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, American Pharoah is in uncharted territory, with no contemporary peers. The last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed in 1978, raced 13 times after his Belmont Stakes, running a full season as a four-year-old; Seattle Slew, the 1977 Triple Crown winner, ran eight times after the Belmont, through November of 1978. Secretariat raced six times after winning the Belmont and was retired at the end of the year. (The Guardian)

But still, "Why?"

“Purses these days are hefty,” he (Charlie Boden, stallion manager of Darley America, the breeding operation of Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) pointed out. “He’s got $10 million sitting there next March [in the Dubai World Cup]. That’s $6 million to him [if he wins]. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is $5 million. He stands to make another $10 million before the end of March next year.
 “If he’s going to the breeding shed, he could get 100 horses to breed to him at $100,000, but that’s a year down the road, assuming he’s fertile and if he wants to breed, and those are two big ifs. We know that we can run and beat just about every sumbitch that lines up next to him.” (The Guardian)
Oh, that's why.  Money.  Speaking of which, did you see the Burger King in American Pharoah's box during the Belmont?  So did we.  What the #@?  It turns out, Burger King paid $200,000 for that privilege.  The bright side?  The money is going to charity.  The down side?  It seemed creepy.

If all this is making you a little queasy, here's some good news to balance it.  American Pharoah's jockey, Victor Espinoza, who, by the way, was scared of horses at one point in his life, is donating his $80,000 winnings to City of Hope, a research and treatment center that aims to fight cancer and life-threatening illnesses.  Espinoza has always donated a percentage of his earnings to that same charity.  Kudos to Espinoza!

And, kudos to Bob Baffert (Pharoah's trainer) and Jill, his wife, for donating their winnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund; the California Retirement Management Account, a nonprofit that helps retired California racehorses; and Old Friends Farm, a thoroughbred retirement facility.


Triple Crown history was made, but if you, like me, are unable to rest easy until the hero himself is safe and sound, it appears we'll have to wait a little longer.


  1. Replies
    1. Yep, you're right. It is an "industry", after all.

    2. Yep, you're right. It is an "industry", after all.

    3. Yep, you're right. It is an "industry", after all.

  2. Money money money..... He is a great horse and I hope he gets to retire sound.

  3. Money is what it's all about. I do like that the jockey and trainer donated their earnings to charity. I hope that this wonderful horse retires sound and enjoys his time at stud.

  4. Unfortunately, most of what is involved in the racing industry makes me's certainly not done for the horse's welfare, or their glory. Money makes this world go round, it's just sad. I hope and pray that the hero does indeed get to enjoy a retirement, and be healthy and sound. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could get a glimpse of this world and all its' wonderful attributes without money shadowing everything??? Haven't heard from you in a long while. Hope all is well, you're busy enjoying summer and spending some quality time with your beautiful horses! :) As always, good post.

  5. Money and greed! The owner doesn't give a rats ass about his horses' health, safety and well being! Retire him now!

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