American Pharoah
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American Pharoah
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Dave Harmon

American Pharoah to Stand at Ashford Stud

Dual classic winner will likely be retired at the end of this season.

Dual classic winner American Pharoah , who is seeking to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, will stand at Coolmore's Ashford Stud when he's retired from racing according to owner Ahmed Zayat.

American Pharoah likely will be retired from racing at the end of this season, according to Zayat.

"After his 3-year-old season that (retirement) decision would be made by Coolmore and myself, but I think he would retire then stand at Ashford," Zayat said May 20, shortly after announcing via Twitter that the 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile  would eventually retire to Ashford, the Versailles, Ky., nursery owned by Irish-based Coolmore.

"I can't say definitely (when he will be retired), but horses become extremely valuable and expensive to keep with insurance and other costs and from a farm economics (viewpoint) it becomes economically silly not to retire him. Even (Triple Crown winner) Secretariat retired after his 3-year-old season."

American Pharoah, the champion 2-year-old male of 2014 and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner, will continue to be managed by Zayat and wear the Zayat Stables silks through the rest of his racing career. He would become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 with a win in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

As is normal in the racing and breeding industry, Zayat said, he would not disclose the amount paid by Coolmore for American Pharoah. Zayat did say it includes financial kickers based on future performance.

"There are obviously kickers and (monetary) performance enhancements. When a deal is done early in a horse's career, you try to preserve some upside and that is what I have done with American Pharoah and there are different races we have in mind going forward," Zayat said.

As is the case with other Zayat horses, Zayat said he is retaining an interest in American Pharoah once he is retired to stud. He would not say how much, but noted that Zayat Stables retains a minimum 25% in their horses-turned-stallions and as much as 75% as with Pioneerof the Nile when he retired to WinStar Farm, also near Versailles.

"I stay in on all my stallions because obviously you want to be part of it," he said.

Zayat said it has not been discussed whether American Pharoah would shuttle to Coolmore properties in the Southern Hemisphere to stand during those breeding seasons, as is typical with many Coolmore stallions.

"Nothing has been discussed about that," Zayat said. "But if he wins the Triple Crown, he will be a special horse and I think everyone would come to him."

Zayat said American Pharoah returned to Churchill Downs following his Preakness win Saturday to be trained up until the Belmont as a way to keep him away from the frenzy associated with a horse going for the Triple Crown.

"We decided to keep him at Churchill to keep him away from all the media," Zayat said. "We are on a mission and we want to focus on the horse. At Churchill, it is quiet there and he can work there. Barn 33 at Churchill has been very lucky to us. The horse is golden. We are very happy, the horse is doing well."

Zayat's announcement ends weeks of speculation and came one day after Zayat told that he could not pass up an offer made for the 3-year-old colt.