05/20/2015 7:23AM

American Pharoah to stand at Ashford Stud when racing career ends

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Barbara D. Livingston
American Pharoah wins the Preakness Stakes last Saturday.

Dual classic winner American Pharoah, seeking to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, will stand at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., upon his retirement, owner Ahmed Zayat said Wednesday morning.

American Pharoah, a son of Pioneerof the Nile, races as a homebred for Zayat Stables. Zayat said Tuesday evening that he will retain management of the colt through the end of his 3-year-old campaign, and that the colt would continue to race in his colors.

Last year’s Eclipse Award champion juvenile male, he has won six of seven career starts for earnings of $3,730,300, with Grade 1 triumphs in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Arkansas Derby, Del Mar Futurity, and FrontRunner Stakes. He is training at Churchill Downs for his bid for the Belmont Stakes on June 6; a victory would make him the 12th American Triple Crown winner, and the first since Affirmed in 1978. Incentives are attached to the stud deal should American Pharoah win the Triple Crown, and should he add other major victories this season.

“Whatever happens in the Belmont, American Pharoah is an outstanding sire prospect and we’re very grateful to the Zayat family for entrusting us with his stallion career,” Ashford manager Dermot Ryan said. “He’s already a champion 2-year-old and has won his first four starts at 3 by over 20 lengths. It’s very exciting to think about how much more he might achieve.”

The Magnier family’s Coolmore, which has full-scale stallion operations in Kentucky, Ireland, and Australia, stood 13 stallions at Ashford for 2015. In recent years, the operation has placed a premium on juvenile champions, standing Lookin At Lucky (2009 divisional champion), Uncle Mo (2010), and Shanghai Bobby (2012) at Ashford for 2015. It also stood Hansen (2011) for his first season before he was sold to stand in Korea.

American Pharoah will join Lookin At Lucky, who won the Preakness and went on to win the 2010 Eclipse as champion 3-year-old male, as American classic winners on the active Ashford roster. He will be the second Derby winner on the active roster, joining Fusaichi Pegasus (2000).

American Pharoah is from the second crop of Grade 1 winner Pioneerof the Nile, a Zayat homebred who stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky. He will be the second son at stud for the young sire, joining multiple graded stakes winner Cairo Prince, who began his career at Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., this season.

American Pharoah hails from a productive branch of the Mr. Prospector sireline launched by Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled. Pioneerof the Nile is by Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, one of three classic winners sired by Unbridled. Unbridled’s sons at stud included popular on-track and commercial sire Unbridled’s Song. He also sired Grindstone, whose son Birdstone was represented by two classic winners from his first crop.