In 2015, American Pharoah — an American thoroughbred racehorse — won the American Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup Classic. In doing so, he became the first American Triple Crown winner since 1978. His list of accomplishments is lengthy: He won the Rebel Stakes, Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness Stakes, all in 2015. But where does such a skilled racehorse go from there, and where is American Pharoah now?
The Lexington Herald-Leader recently did a profile on American Pharoah, answering precisely that question. Writer John Clay reports that following his retirement last fall, American Pharoah has settled into his new home at Ashford Stud, the American branch of the Irish breeding operation Coolmore Stud. Ashford Stud is a 2,000-acre farm located near Versailles, Kentucky, and American Pharoah found his way there when Coolmore purchased breeding rights from Ahmed Zayat's family last year.
“He’s settled in real well,” Ashford Stud stallion manager Richard Barry told the Lexington Herald-Leader, referring to American Pharoah. “He’s put on weight. His coat is magnificent. He’s a joy to be around. He’s absolutely push-button. No problem.”
During breeding season, American Pharoah has time to play in the paddock and hang out with visitors from all over the country and even from other countries, but his main job is his breeding sessions, one to three per day. Barry said that after approximately 100 breeding sessions, American Pharoah has managed to impregnate — or "cover," in subtle industry terms — 80 percent of the mares. This is good news for American Pharoah, whose "stud fee" — the charge for his service as a breeding stallion — depends on his ability to produce healthy foals. According to Coolmore, American Pharoah's stud fee is $200,000 for 2016.
Daily tours of the Ashford Stud farm, which include an opportunity to see and photograph American Pharoah, are sold out through May, but despite all the popularity, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader, the prized racehorse has remained even-tempered, friendly, and polite. Perhaps this is because Ashford Stud strategically placed him in a stall next to that of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch, who is much older and calmer. Or perhaps American Pharoah knows just how valuable he is to the farm.
“If every horse was like him we’d be lucky,” said Scott Calder, who works within Ashford’s sales and marketing division. “I imagine there will be a statue of American Pharoah here one day."