Published On: Sun, Jun 7th, 2015

Orthodox Jew from Egypt claimed the first Triple Crown in 37 years – RACE VIDEO


American Pharoah, a horse owned by an Orthodox Jew from Egypt named Ahmed Zayat, claimed the first Triple Crown of American horse racing  in 37 years on Saturday when it won the Belmont Stakes.

The 3 year old colt is the first horse to win the Belmont, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness since Affirmed did it in 1978.

After he crossed the finish line, jockey Victor Espinoza pumped his fist in the air as the crowd of 90, 000 at sold-out Belmont Park roared.

American Pharoah, the son of 2009 Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneer of the Nile, now has seven victories in eight career starts.

“We all wanted it. We wanted it for the sport, ” said Ahmed Zayat, 52, from New Jersey, according to the Associated Press.

Ahmed Zayat and his Family

Zayat owns 144 horses, whom he breeds and sells. Now he is so proud of them. He watched horses he owned finish second in the Kentucky Derby three out of the last four years. In 2012, horses owned by Zayat finished second in each of the three Triple Crown races.

According to AP, Victor Espinoza, who is not Jewish, visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s grave on Thursday in Cambria Heights, New York, in the borough of Queens, where he prayed and presumably asked for good luck.

Zayat spent the Jewish Sabbath with his wife Joanne Zayat, and daughter Emma, which began Friday night. They slept in RVs on Friday night so that they could walk to the track on Saturday, in order to observe Shabbat in accordance with Jewish law which prohibits driving on the Sabbath.

The victory secured American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert’s first Triple Crown after the Hall of Famer was denied three previous times at the Belmont Stakes, with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998 and War Emblem in 2002.

Ahmed Zayat

He was the only horse to run in all three of the Triple Crown races this year. The bay colt’s owner, Zayat, said he would like to keep the sport’s newest rock star on the track through the end of the year.

Zayat has already sold American Pharoah’s breeding rights.

“We would like to enjoy him as long as we can, ” he said according to AP, “we need to enjoy our stars and race them as long as we possibly could.”

American Pharoah’s triumph in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes ended the longest-ever Triple Crown drought.


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