In 2005, New Jersey-based Egyptian businessman Ahmed Zayat moved into Thoroughbred racing in a big way, purchasing expensive bloodstock at sales and sending his horses to some of racing's highest-profile trainers. Three years later, Zayat was the leading owner in the country with $6.9 million in earnings and 116 victories.
Zayat is an entrepreneur who has found success turning around struggling companies. He developed the Al Ahram Beverages Company into the largest bottler and distributor in the Middle East and later sold it to Heineken International.
Zayat bought the yearling colt Maimonides for $4.6 million at the 2005 Keeneland September sale. Among his early successes were Grade 1 winners Point Ashley and Downthedustyroad. He campaigned Eskendereya, the 2010 Wood Memorial winner, who had to be retired with a soft tissue injury in his left front leg a few days before the Derby. His Pioneerof the Nile was second in the 2009 Derby, Nehro was the runner-up in the 2011 Derby, and Bodemeister finished second in both the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Paynter finished second in the 2012 Belmont Stakes.
Zayat Stables finally broke through with their first Triple Crown race winner when American Pharoah captured the 2015 Kentucky Derby as the betting favorite. He followed two weeks later with a dominant victory in the Preakness Stakes to place himself within reach of Triple Crown glory.
The bay colt only lost his debut race and then ripped off six consecutive races by a combined margin of more than 30 lengths, including two Grade 1 races as a 2-year-old that earned him an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male.