It was a show-stopping race for American Pharoah. He looked as is he was floating and his bloodlines tell the story. His father, Pioneer of the Nile, was 2nd in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and his granddaddy, Empire Maker (who we had in that race!), won the 2003 Belmont Stakes.
“The sire line is very stamina oriented, but the female line of descent — the dam, the second dam, the third dam — they’ve all been very speed oriented horses,” says Sid Fernando, president and CEO of thoroughbred research and consultant Werk Thoroughbred Consultants. “It’s a unique pedigree, in a way.”
Between that unique pedigree and his Triple Crown win, FORBES estimates that American Pharoah is worth nearly $50 million. Though his breeding rights were sold to Coolmore Ashford Stud in late 2014 for a reported $13.8 million, this figure does not account for Pharoah’s full value: for one, owner Ahmed Zayat retained 100% of Pharoah’s racing rights. For another, the deal was struck before Pharoah’s three-year-old season — so before he won the Derby, the Preakness, and now, the Belmont.
“His race record is sheer brilliance,” said David Ingordo, the bloodstock agent who helped Zayat buy American Pharoah back after selling him at auction in 2013. “He could be a $100,000 stud fee stallion pretty easily.”The industry rule of thumb dictates that a horse’s value is calculated by multiplying his expected stud fee (the price to breed him to one mare) by 300 to 400. This math assumes the horse will “book” 100 mares per year over three to four years, though stellar stallions could conceivably book 120 to even 150 a year. The stud fee is due when the foal is born; as long as the foal survives, the breeders get the paycheck. And since Coolmore has farms in North America and Australia and could stand American Pharoah for breeding seasons in both locations, booking 120 mares is not outside the realm of possibility. One-hundred and twenty mares a year for four years at a $100,000 stud fee gives Pharoah a $48 million value.
In winning the Belmont by 5 1/2 lengths, American Pharoah became the first American Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. American Pharoah led from start to finish and completed the race in 2:26.65, the sixth-fastest in the race’s history and second-fastest Belmont time for a Triple Crown winner.
One of our favorite things to do in sports is to speculate about how current greats would have fared against past ones, or vice versa. But as the video shows, American Pharoah would be no match for Secretariat. The Wall Street Journal has put together a cool split screen video comparing American Pharoah’s Triple Crown winning Belmont race to Secretariat’s historic Belmont victory in 1973.
American Pharoah has already wrapped up Horse of the Year honors, but a couple more strong wins would improve his ranking among the all-time greats.
Secretariat is the consensus greatest horse of the 20th century after he set track records in all three races in 1973. “Big Red” won the Belmont by 31 lengths. American Pharoah’s winning Belmont time would have still seen him 10 lengths behind Secretariat.
Citation (1948) became racing’s first millionaire with 32 career wins and was the benchmark of greatness until Secretariat.
Count Fleet (1943) won 16 of 21 races, with four second-place finishes and a third. Critics claiming World War II travel restrictions kept the best from competing against Count Fleet have a weak argument. The nation’s leading stables were largely in New York, Maryland and Kentucky anyway.
Seattle Slew (1977) followed Secretariat as the second of three Triple Crown champions in the “Decade of Champions.” Comparisons to Secretariat tainted Seattle Slew’s legacy slightly, but he was unbeaten through the Triple Crown and defeated Affirmed in a race that featured the first ever matchup of Triple Crown winners.
Affirmed (1978) might have been the toughest of the champions, beating Alydar in three closely run races. Affirmed’s total margin of victory in the Triple Crown races was three-fourths of a length. It was racing’s version of Ali-Frazier, with Affirmed winning seven of 10 career meetings.
And now comes American Pharoah, who is decidedly better than crown winners Whirlaway, Assault, War Admiral, Omaha, Gallant Fox and Sir Barton. After losing his debut race, American Pharoah has won seven straight for $4.53 million. Perhaps the most impressive of American Pharoah’s victories was the Preakness. Amid a thunderstorm so intense it was hard to see the starting gate from the finish line, American Pharoah ran away to a seven-lengths victory. His stretch runs in the Derby and Belmont were equally impressive.
American Pharoah is considered a blend of Seattle Slew’s toughness and Affirmed’s confidence. If he wins his remaining starts, American Pharoah could finish ahead of both of those horses, as well as Count Fleet, to finish behind only Secretariat and Citation among the immortals.
Here’s to hoping we get to see the 3rd ranked horse of all-time in our lifetime!
Ride on American Pharoah!!!!!
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