01/08/2016 12:23PM

2015 Eclipse Awards: Zayat Stables

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Barbara D. Livingston

Ahmed Zayat’s Zayat Stables had what could only be classified as a dream season in 2015, driven by the heroics of American Pharoah, the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years and the first in history to win both the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

American Pharoah’s historic feat helped Zayat Stables finish in fourth place among North American breeders by earnings, with 59 runners winning 15 races for a combined $8,434,540.

The Triple Crown winner’s success was a homegrown effort, with sire Pioneerof the Nile and dam Littleprincessemma both being secured by Zayat at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale and crossed for the mating that created American Pharoah in 2011. Pioneerof the Nile was an in-ring buyback at that sale, and Zayat revisited that page of the playbook seven years later with American Pharoah, keeping a promising homebred in the racing program and enjoying great success.

Zayat Stables also bred Jojo Warrior, a Grade 2-placed runner in 2015 whom the operation campaigned in partnership with WinStar Farm.

A native of Egypt, Zayat attended college in the U.S. and later returned to his home country to co-own and operate Al-Ahram Beverages Co., later selling the business to Heineken Brewing. He entered the Thoroughbred industry in 2005 and moved back to the U.S. in 2007 to make it his full-time business. Zayat is also the majority shareholder in Egypt-based Misr Glass Manufacturing.

This is the first time Zayat Stables has been nominated for the Eclipse Award as outstanding breeder. Zayat earned his first Eclipse Award in 2014 when American Pharoah was named champion 2-year-old male.