Zayat Stables’ brilliant 2-year-old colt American Pharoah earned his owner their first Eclipse Award when he was named 2014 2-year-old Champion Male at Saturday night’s Eclipse Award ceremony at Gulfstream Park.
American Pharoah became the 12th horse trained by Bob Baffert to win an Eclipse Award, a group of champions that include 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given, two-time champions Silverbulletday and Lookin at Lucky, and Kentucky Derby (G1) winners Silver Charm, Real Quiet and War Emblem.
Up against Texas Red and Hootenanny, a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners, the American Pharoah’s stellar record propelled the homebred colt to receive top honors.
American Pharoah made just three starts, but made a huge splash with a flashy victory in the Del Mar Futurity (G1), where he broke his maiden in just his second lifetime start. He followed that up
Ahmed Zayat, joined by his family on stage to accept the award, honored all associated with his star colt.
“Wow, we’re very honored. This is our first Eclipse Award. He is very special horse, we bred him and raced his sire (Pioneerof the Nile). I would like to make a special consideration to the other finalists, who were very deserving. I would like to thank Bob Baffert, he is a great trainer and made this very special for us. Finally, I would like to say this award is for the young apprentice, Juan Carlos Saez, that we lost.”
Zayat, who also thanked his family, those who took care of all his horses, and the Eclipse voters, was referring to apprentice rider Juan Saez, who was fatally injured at Indiana Grand racetrack in November.
American Pharoah, who missed the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) when he was sidelined just days before the race, is back galloping daily for Baffert at Santa Anita Park, with his first 2015 start yet to be determined.