By Mint Julep


Ahmed Zayat Owner: One Kentucky Derby Winner

kentucky derby winner american pharoah 2015

In this exciting story, follow Ahmed Zayat’s remarkable journey from a passionate young horse lover in Cairo to a key figure in American horse racing. Discover how he led American Pharoah to victory at the Kentucky Derby, achieving the prestigious Triple Crown. Learn about his family’s crucial role at Zayat Stables, his wins at top races like the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, and the legal battles and charitable work that have shaped his lasting impact on the industry.

Early Life and Family Background

Ahmed Zayat grew up in the bustling city of Cairo, Egypt. He was born on August 31, 1962, into a wealthy and influential family immersed in Egyptian society. Raised amidst a mix of cultures in Maadi, young Ahmed discovered his love for horse riding at an early age.

He felt alive as he rode through dusty trails with boundless enthusiasm, matching his spirited nature to the powerful grace of horses. The rhythmic beat of hooves resonated with his heart’s longing for adventure and freedom. In Maadi’s diverse community, Zayat’s hobby evolved into a deep passion that would shape his future pursuits.

The streets of Cairo witnessed Ahmed Zayat’s equestrian spirit blossoming during childhood. His playground transformed into arenas where dreams soared atop majestic stallions’ backs. Amidst the city’s chaos, he found peace while riding these magnificent creatures that shared his craving for speed and elegance – laying the foundation for a journey intertwined with destiny itself.

Education and Career Transition

After Zayat moved to the United States at 18, he went on to pursue higher education and earned a master’s degree in business and public health from Boston University. Following a short period working in commercial real estate in New York City, he returned to Egypt where he took charge of managing the Al-Ahram Beverages Company before diving into horse racing investments.

Zayat smoothly transitioned from the world of business to the realm of horse racing with remarkable ease. His sharp eye for talent and strong business skills developed through his studies and work experiences helped him quickly establish himself within the industry.

His path into Thoroughbred racing reached its peak with unprecedented success on some of America’s most renowned tracks. By achieving victories at prestigious events like the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with horses such as American Pharoah, Zayat cemented his reputation as a dominant force in the sport.

Through hard work, dedication, and an unwavering passion for equine excellence, Ahmed Zayat created a lasting legacy that continues to inspire generations within horse racing communities. His story showcases perseverance in overcoming challenges while demonstrating what can be achieved when one pursues their dreams with determination and grit.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Inspiring the next wave of horse racing fans
  2. Demonstrating the commitment and effort needed to succeed in the sport
  3. Showcasing the exciting and competitive side of horse racing
  4. Fostering a strong sense of unity and friendship among supporters


  1. Puts too much pressure on the horse and the owner/trainer
  2. Horses and jockeys can get hurt during races
  3. Controversies and scandals happen in the industry
  4. Can take attention away from other talented horses and their accomplishments

Establishment of Zayat Stables

Back in 2005, Ahmed Zayat was all about Thoroughbred racing. He decided to go all-in and make Zayat Stables his full-time gig. With a sharp eye for talent and a serious love for the sport, he quickly made his stable a big deal in the industry. The stable now holds around 200 horses at any time and is known for breeding top-notch racehorses.

Zayat Stables’ rise to fame came from getting some impressive horses early on that set the stage for success. Horses like Maimonides and Mushka were great examples of Ahmed Zayat’s smart choices when it came to picking possible champions. These acquisitions not only boosted his stable but also showed off his skill in finding talented racers in the tough world of horse racing.

As Zayat Stables kept climbing up, it was clear that Ahmed Zayat’s vision and strategy were paying off big time. His focus on quality over quantity shined through every carefully planned breeding and acquisition move he made. This dedication to excellence paved the way for future wins on some of horse racing’s biggest stages.

The start of Zayat Stables under Ahmed Zayat wasn’t just about business; it was also a deep love affair with these amazing creatures – from their graceful runs on track to their spirited personalities behind-the-scenes. It was this passion that drove every decision at the stables, pushing them toward incredible success while cementing Ahmed Zaybe as one of racing’s most respected figures.

Racing Achievements and Major Wins

Ahmed Zayat had a remarkable career in horse racing, achieving numerous victories that made a lasting impact on the sport. His greatest achievement came in 2015 when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown title, something many thought impossible nowadays.

In 2015, Zayat reached the peak of his career by winning not only the Kentucky Derby but also triumphing at the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. These wins elevated him to legendary status within the racing community and solidified his position among Thoroughbred greats.

Zayat’s success extended to events like the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2015 where American Pharoah once again displayed his exceptional talent and finished first. These victories were more than just accolades; they represented years of hard work, dedication, and love for a sport that defined who Zayat was.

Every champion has a dedicated team behind them, and Ahmed Zayat was no different. His leadership skills and ability to pick top-tier horses showcased his expertise in navigating through horse racing with finesse akin to an experienced captain steering through rough waters towards smoother seas.

Looking back at Ahmed Zayt’s legacy in horse racing reveals a story filled with determination, perseverance, and unwavering spirit – much like those majestic horses thundering down racetracks under his ownership colors. Despite facing challenges along the way similar to hurdles on a steeplechase course – each victory served as proof of resilience against all odds – truly capturing what makes this sport thrilling and unpredictable even today.

Racing Phenom: Records, Awards, and Horses!

Occupation Born Major Racing Wins Racing Awards Significant Horses
Industrialist and horse breeder August 31, 1962 in Cairo, Egypt – Kentucky Derby (2015)
– Preakness Stakes (2015)
– Belmont Stakes (2015)
– Breeders’ Cup Classic (2015)
– Arkansas Derby (2012, 2015)
– Haskell Invitational (2012, 2015)
– Wood Memorial Stakes (2010)
– Ballerina Stakes (2010)
– Frizette Stakes (2010)
– Norfolk Stakes (2010)
– Fountain of Youth Stakes (2010)
– Pilgrim Stakes (2009)
– Triple Bend Invitational Handicap (2009)
– Bing Crosby Handicap (2009)
– Pat O’Brien Handicap (2009)
– CashCall Futurity (2008)
– Robert B. Lewis Stakes (2009)
– San Felipe Stakes (2009)
– Santa Anita Derby (2009)
– Shoemaker Mile (2009)
– Shadwell Turf Mile (2008)
– Del Mar Debutante (2006)
– La Brea Stakes (2006)
– Lecomte Stakes (2008)
– Rebel Stakes (2015)
– NTRA Moment of the Year (Paynter, 2012, American Pharoah 2015)
– Secretariat Vox Populi Award (2012, Paynter, 2015 American Pharoah)
– Eclipse Award for Outstanding Breeder (2015)
– Eclipse Award for Outstanding Owner (2015)
American Pharoah, A Z Warrior, Bodemeister, Downthedustyroad, Eskendereya, Jaycito, Jojo Warrior, Justin Phillip, Nehro, Paynter, Pioneerof the Nile, Point Ashley, Rightly So, Thorn Song, Zensational, Z Fortune, Z Humor

Personal Life and Family Dynamics

Living in Teaneck, New Jersey with his wife Joanne and their four children – Ashley, Justin, Benjamin, and Emma – the Zayat family plays a crucial role in running Zayat Stables. Justin Zayat actively helps his father manage the racing business while Emma has influenced naming important horses like Littleprincessemma.

Their home is filled with both strong family ties and a love for horse racing. Ahmed jokes that handling a stable of horses alongside four kids can be as tricky as herding cats during a race – full of surprises yet thrilling. Despite their busy schedules, they always find time to share meals together, laughing over stories from the racetrack.

Joanne’s unwavering support forms the backbone of Ahmed’s demanding career. She is seen as the stabilizing force behind this dynamic family unit – providing wise counsel during challenging times both personally and in their horse racing endeavors. Her attention to detail has even influenced critical decisions at Zayat Stables throughout the years.

The bond between the Zayats goes beyond blood relations; it stems from a deep passion for Thoroughbred racing that courses through them like adrenaline on Derby day. Their commitment to each other reflects Ahmed’s dedication to nurturing champions on the track – united by victories celebrated under clear skies or comforting each other after losses amidst barns scented with hay at dusk.

Legal Challenges and Bankruptcy Proceedings

Ahmed Zayat, known for his achievements in horse racing, faced a tough legal situation that challenged both his money skills and resilience. Fifth Third Bank started bankruptcy proceedings against him for not repaying loans totaling a huge $34 million, casting a shadow on his successful career. But despite these obstacles, Zayat showed determination to get through the tough times with strength.

During the bankruptcy proceedings, it came out that Ahmed Zayat had ties to gambling which added more complexity to an already tricky situation and caused gossip within the racing world and beyond. Despite facing rough waters ahead, Ahmed Zayat stayed strong as he tackled each problem head-on just like how his horses would on the track.

The legal battles and financial problems he was dealing with were reminders of how unpredictable life can be in both personal matters and horse racing. Once praised at events like the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, now he was stuck in a different kind of race—one filled with legal troubles and personal challenges. Yet staying true to himself, Zayat didn’t let this chapter define him; instead finding support from family during hard times.

As news outlets buzzed about Ahmed Zayat’s issues with the law , people wondered what impact it could have on his legacy in Thoroughbred racing history . Would past wins fade away because of current struggles? Or would he rise above everything—coming back stronger than ever before ? Only time will tell how this story plays out amid high stakes both on track life off-track .

In moments when things seemed dark because of ongoing lawsuits playing out behind closed doors—a ray of hope shone through as supporters stood by Ahmed offering words encouragement during what must have been quite a rollercoaster ride — showing once again even amidst turmoil; there is light if you stay focused towards better days!

Legendary tales surrounding a Derby-winning horseman

  1. Exciting tales about a champion horse rider who won the Derby:
  2. **Chasing the Triple Crown Dream:** The owner of American Pharoah, Ahmed Zayat, always dreamed big in horse racing. In 2015, his dream came true as American Pharoah clinched victory at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes – making history by becoming the first horse in 37 years to win the prestigious Triple Crown.
  3. **From Struggles to Success:** Ahmed Zayat faced tough times early on as a racehorse owner but never gave up. Despite financial challenges, he persisted and emerged as one of the key players in the horse racing world.
  4. **Inherited Passion:** Horse racing was not just a hobby for Ahmed Zayat; it ran deep in his family roots. His father’s love for horses sparked his own passion from childhood days onward. This rich family tradition adds an extra special touch to his accomplishments as a victorious Derby-winning rider.
  5. **Overcoming Setbacks:** Before basking in glory with American Pharoah’s Triple Crown triumph, Ahmed Zayat had tasted defeat at the Kentucky Derby back in 2009 when Pioneerof the Nile finished second narrowly missing out on victory. However, this setback only fueled Zayat’s determination to bounce back stronger and eventually claim success with American Pharoah.
  6. .**Global Recognition**: Ahmed Zayat has made waves internationally with his remarkable feats in horse racing drawing attention globally towards this exciting sport filled with thrills and suspense that captivate audiences worldwide.

Horse Racing Legacy and Industry Impact

Ahmed Zayat is known as one of the flashy and successful owners in Thoroughbred racing. His legacy goes beyond just winning races – he has also played a vital role in saving racehorses like Paynter from life-threatening conditions. Zayat’s love for the sport isn’t just about victories; he deeply cares about the well-being of these majestic animals that have captured his heart.

Zayat’s impact on horse racing can be seen through his impressive achievements at big events like the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. These triumphs have solidified his reputation as a strong force in horse racing, showing off both his talent for picking top horses and his dedication to helping them reach their full potential.

He was honored with the NTRA Moment of the Year Award, recognizing not only a single victory but also acknowledging his ongoing commitment to excellence and compassion in an industry known for its competitiveness. This award reminds us that success in horse racing is more than just wins on the track – it’s also about spreading kindness, inspiring change, and leaving a lasting impact on all those involved.

Apart from winning trophies and titles, Ahmed Zayat’s legacy showcases resilience during tough times – overcoming personal and professional challenges with grace and determination. His story includes celebrating victories under bright lights while facing difficulties with courage behind closed doors – proving that true greatness involves tackling obstacles head-on while staying true to your values.

Business Ventures Beyond Racing

Ahmed Zayat didn’t just stick to horse racing – he showed off his skills in many different businesses. Besides leading Zayat Stables LLC to victory on the track, he also excelled in other business ventures. One standout move was when he owned Misr Glass Manufacturing in Egypt, proving that his talents crossed borders and industries.

Although people mostly knew him for his work with horses at Zayat Stables LLC, Ahmed had a lot more going on than just breeding and racing Thoroughbreds. When he took over Misr Glass Manufacturing back home in Egypt, it proved how versatile and smart he was when it came to handling different types of businesses. This mix of financial know-how and fearlessness to explore new territories showcased both his adventurous side and sharp business sense.

While Ahmed earned praise worldwide for his success in horse racing – like winning big races such as the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes – he didn’t stop there. By getting into manufacturing with Misr Glass Ownership, Ahmed showed that entrepreneurship meant more than just winning races on certain days. His ability to blend traditional sportsmanship with modern industrial pursuits revealed a man who wasn’t afraid to push boundaries.

The story of Ahmed Zayat isn’t only about thrilling wins at famous tracks; it’s about bringing equine excellence together with industrial innovation head-on. Through victories at Zayat Stables and owning companies like Misr Glass Manufacturing, Ahmed portrayed himself not only as a successful owner-breeder but also as a savvy businessman eager to explore new paths while managing risks wisely.

By combining elements from two seemingly different worlds – horse racing and glass manufacturing- Ahmed crafted an exciting tale filled with diversity supported by determination and foresight. Beyond simply being known as someone behind some well-known racehorses, he emerged as a symbol of resilience amidst challenges while seizing opportunities across various fields – showing us all how one can charge towards success even when faced with obstacles outside their comfort zone.

Philanthropic Endeavors and Social Media Presence

Ahmed Zayat is well-known for his generous donations to schools that help special-needs children. But his philanthropic efforts go beyond just that – he’s committed to supporting causes that are close to his heart and making a positive impact on society. By helping schools that cater to kids with special needs, Zayat shows a kind and giving spirit that goes beyond the world of horse racing.

Using social media platforms has become really important in today’s world for communicating and advocating for what we believe in. Ahmed Zayat uses these digital channels not only to promote himself but also as a way to spread awareness about issues related to horse welfare. For example, he uses hashtags like #PowerUpPaynter to talk about how horses should be taken care of properly and starts conversations online about why it matters.

In an industry where success is often measured by trophies and titles, Ahmed Zayat stands out because of his strong dedication towards promoting positive stories around taking care of horses properly. He doesn’t just focus on winning races; he also works hard at using his influence and resources effectively so he can support causes that fans and stakeholders care about too. This means being both a successful owner-breeder in Thoroughbred racing while also being an advocate who cares deeply – showing us all how one person can make a real difference.

By combining his love for horses with genuine concern for their well-being outside the racetrack, Ahmed Zayat sets an amazing example within the equestrian world. His approach isn’t just about breeding top racehorses but also making sure they have good lives after they retire from racing – safe and dignified ones too! Through smart choices when it comes to donating money along with interesting campaigns on social media, Zayat continues leaving behind lasting impressions both in the sport of kings as well as bigger conversations around animal welfare in our society today.


1. What year did Ahmed Zayat’s horse, American Pharoah, win the Kentucky Derby?

In 2015, Ahmed Zayat’s horse, American Pharoah, won the Kentucky Derby. This victory was a significant milestone in both Zayat’s impressive career and the exciting world of Thoroughbred racing.

2. How many Triple Crown races did American Pharoah win under Ahmed Zayat’s ownership?

In 2015, American Pharoah made history by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes – known as the Triple Crown races. Ahmed Zayat owned the horse during this incredible feat in horse racing.

3. What impact did American Pharoah’s Triple Crown victory have on Ahmed Zayat’s legacy in horse racing?

Ahmed Zayat’s success in horse racing was sealed when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. This historic achievement established his reputation as a top owner and breeder, leaving an unforgettable mark on the sport that will always be remembered.

4. How did Ahmed Zayat become involved in the Thoroughbred racing industry?

Ahmed Zayat got into the horse racing world because he loved horses and bought a small racing stable in the early 2000s. This decision eventually brought him great success on the racetrack.

5. What challenges did Ahmed Zayat face during his career as a prominent owner and breeder of racehorses?

Ahmed Zayat encountered money problems, legal disagreements, and scandals related to his business ventures that sometimes stole the spotlight from his impressive achievements in Thoroughbred racing.

6. How has Ahmed Zayat’s family been involved in supporting his endeavors in horse racing?

Ahmed Zayat’s family plays a key role in his horse racing pursuits, with his wife and children frequently accompanying him to races. They provide constant support, cheering him on through the ups and downs of his successful career.