11/06/2015 9:25AM

American Pharoah to stand for $200,000 in first season

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Nikki Sherman
Breeers' Cup Classic winner American Pharoah will stand at Coolmore's Ashford Stud.

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will stand for $200,000 in his debut season at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, making him by far the most expensive new stallion in recent years – and moreover, one of the more expensive stallions in North America. 

American Pharoah, by young sire Pioneerof the Nile, concluded his career with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Oct. 31 at Keeneland, and scored eight Grade 1 victories while bankrolling more than $8.6 million. Two days after the Classic, he was shipped to his new home, international outfit Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. The operation purchased his breeding rights earlier this year, with owner Ahmed Zayat saying at the time that he had retained an undisclosed percentage.

The most expensive stallion in North America is leading sire Tapit, who for the second consecutive year will stand for $300,000 at Gainesway Farm in Lexington, Ky. American Pharoah debuts tied with popular commercial sire War Front, standing at Claiborne Farm, with the second-most expensive fee at $200,000. If American Pharoah breeds 152 mares in his first season - the average book size for Ashford's 12 active stallions in 2015, according to The Jockey Club's Report of Mares Bred - it would place his value for the season at $30.4 million.

American Pharoah matches Horse of the Year Ghostzapper with the highest fee for a first-year stallion in the past decade, as the latter commanded the same sum when he retired to Adena Springs in 2006. Just a few years later, the economic crash of 2008 took its toll on the Thoroughbred industry, and, with decreased stallion fees across the board, the market trended toward proven stock. Curlin, one of the most accomplished runners of the modern era, entered stud at $75,000 in 2009. The highest advertised fee for a first-year stallion of 2015 was $30,000 for champion Will Take Charge.

With the bloodstock market rebounding, a handful of elite stallions have climbed back into the six-figure ranks, with American Pharoah, Pioneerof the Nile, and grandsire Empire Maker now among those. Pioneerof the Nile will stand for at least $125,000 in 2016, more than double his previous level. WinStar Farm announced the fee prior to the Breeders’ Cup, indicating it was subject to change. Meanwhile, after five seasons in Japan, Empire Maker will return to stand in America for $100,000 at Gainesway.

In addition to Tapit, American Pharoah, War Front, Pioneerof the Nile, and Empire Maker, other six-figure stallions in North America for 2016 are Medaglia d’Oro (Darley) at $150,000; and Bernardini (Darley), Distorted Humor (WinStar), Curlin (Hill ‘n’ Dale), Kitten’s Joy (Ramsey Farm), and Speightstown (WinStar), all at $100,000.

It has been more than three decades since the previous Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, retired to stud, and more than a decade since there was an active series winner in the breeding shed. Of the two Triple Crown winners to stand in the 21st century, Affirmed was last advertised at $30,000 at Jonabell Farm for his final breeding season in 2000. Seattle Slew, the most accomplished Triple Crown winner as a stallion, was listed at $150,000 the same year while standing at Three Chimneys Farm. With his breeding career interrupted by spinal surgeries, he stood for shareholders only in 2001 and was listed with a private fee in 2002.