He's not a Triple Crown winner yet, but offers are pouring in to own American Pharoah's breeding rights.
The 3-year-old colt, who won the Kentucky Derby earlier this month and, on Saturday, the Preakness by an impressive 7 lengths on a sloppy track, has had interest from "nearly every single farm in the world," said Justin Zayat, racing manager for Zayat Stables.
Breeding farms who stand stallions have offered north of $20 million, Zayat told ESPN.com on Monday, but the family business run by his father Ahmed hasn't had any discussions to take some money off the table before the Belmont on June 6.
"Yes, this is a business, but our family has invested so much in this horse," Zayat said.
The Zayats actually bred a stallion that they owned a 75 percent stake in, Pioneerof the Nile, with a mare that they also owned, Littleprincessemma, to produce American Pharoah. The Zayats put American Pharoah up for sale at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton yearling sale, but Ahmed bought the horse back for $300,000 after he had regrets about selling it.
Last year, after American Pharoah became the 2-year-old male champion, the Zayats made money by selling an undisclosed stake in Pioneerof the Nile, who stands at Winstar Farms for $60,000 per live foal. In November, the Zayats also sold American Pharoah's dam, Littleprincessemma, which it paid $250,000 for in 2007, carrying a full brother to American Pharoah, for $2.1 million.
But the big prize is the breeding rights to American Pharoah, which will only increase if the horse becomes the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed won all three legs in 1978.
Last year's Triple Crown hopeful, California Chrome, didn't have an impressive pedigree, which stunted the owners' ability to command a hefty sales price after he didn't get into the winner's circle at the Belmont.
American Pharoah has an impressive lineage. His sire is Pioneerof the Nile, the leading money-winning son of Empire Maker. Empire Maker won the 2003 Belmont Stakes and his sire, Unbridled, won the 1990 Kentucky Derby. His family tree also includes Mr. Prospector, whose descendants have now won 42 Triple Crown races.
California Chrome and American Pharoah do have a great-great grandsire in common: Northern Dancer, who in 1980 at 20 years old, received an offer of $40 million for his breeding rights. That would equal about $114 million factoring for inflation today.
The last horse to see those type of astronomical numbers was Big Brown, whose breeding rights were sold to Three Chimneys Farm for a reported $50 million, hours before the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner won the Preakness. Months later the economy faltered and the horse racing industry was decimated.
Big Brown didn't finish the Belmont and his crop has been disappointing, so much so that the horse's stud fee steadily declined from $65,000 in 2009, his first year at the breeding shed, to $8,500 this year. The most notable exception of his offspring was Dortmund, who came into the Kentucky Derby with a 6-0 record. Dortmund finished third in the Derby and fourth in the Preakness.
If American Pharoah wins the Belmont, Zayat Stables could not only cash in on the horse's breeding rights, they also own an unnamed full sister of his dam, Littleprincessemma, which could be worth more than $4 million. As part owners, the Zayats will also get a portion of Pioneerof the Nile's increased stud fees for next season. Justin Zayat said offers have already come in at $150,000, a 150 percent increase from this season's price. Only one horse in all of the stallion world, Tapit, stands for more than that -- $300,000 per live foal.
The breeding rights to the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, sold for $14.4 million in 1979, which would be about $46 million factoring for inflation today.