Zayat Stables’ brilliant 2-year-old colt American Pharoah became Pioneerof the Nile’s first Eclipse Award winner when he was named 2014 2-year-old Champion Male at Saturday night’s Eclipse Award ceremony at Gulfstream Park.
American Pharoah’s success on the track last year was a major factor in making Pioneerof the Nile the leading Second-Crop Sire of 2014. He was the only second-year sire with over $4 million in progeny earnings, at was also in the top five in the stakes winners, stakes wins, and winners categories.
Up against Texas Red and Hootenanny, a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners, 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 another smashing performance in the FrontRunner S. (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
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. I would like to make a special consideration to the other finalists. 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 at Santa Anita Park with his first 2015 start yet to be determined.