Pharoah the Gift That Keeps Giving

You remember the episode of Seinfeld when George Costanza was told the girl he had just dated had missed her period. In a matter of seconds, his face went from shock to revelation to ecstasy: “Oh, my God! I can’t believe it. I’m a father. I did it. My boys can swim!”

In some ways, breeders with shares in American Pharoah could be heard shouting from the Kentucky hills that the world’s most anticipated father had gotten his first mare in foal. Yes, hallelujah, his boys can swim. Everyone who shelled out $200,000 for a rendezvous with the Triple Crown winner in the breeding shed can breathe a sigh of relief.

The lucky mother-to-be appropriately is named Untouched Talent, which is a perfect description of her mate, whose untouched talent obviously knows no bounds. Untouched Talent is no stranger to nursing and raising future stars, having already produced grade I winner Bodemeister, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and grade I-placed Fascinating. Talk about a horse whose value has kept increasing her entire life, Untouched Talent sold for $310,000 in 2005, $500,000 and then $850,000 in 2006, $1.2 million in 2007, and finally $5 million to Coolmore in 2012.

So, here you have a $5 million broodmare nursing a foal by a stallion who earned over $8.6 million and is valued at approximately $40 million.

How big a deal was this news? A headline, “Hey, Pharoah, You Big Stud!” appeared on Page 3 of the New York Post, one page ahead of New Jersey governor Chris Christie endorsing Donald Trump for president.

So, American Pharoah continues to be the gift that keeps giving. He has turned Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky. into a palace ruled by a new king with riches beyond compare.

Just think, at this time last year, American Pharoah was still unraced at 3, awaiting his first start back in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, with many people wondering how he would return from an injury that had kept him out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Who could have predicted that his name soon would become part of the vernacular. You never know in which medium you will hear it mentioned, the latest being on the new TV series Billions.

Now no one is claiming that Pharoah’s firstborn in some 11 months will receive quite the attention of Princess Charlotte last year, but you can bet his or her photo will be plastered all over the internet, newspapers, and magazines.

America is still reluctant to let go of the magic American Pharoah provided, and racing fans have reached out to California Chrome and the Derby trail stars for help. Bob Baffert has moved on and is once again concentrating on the Derby with several new faces, and the Zayats’ Twitter page has pretty much gone silent. But still the separation process will be slow and steady, with future pregnancy and eventual birth announcements to keep the emotional ties secure.

The magic spells that are cast by Thoroughbred racing’s greats are usually short ones and that is why we cherish them with such fervor. But unlike other sports, where the stars shine brightly for a much longer period of time, racing stands alone in its perpetuity, allowing us to relive its stars and their triumphs through their offspring. As long as the cycle continues and the names of our heroes live on in pedigree lines, we will always be able to keep their memory fresh in our mind.

And that is why something so simple and natural as a stallion getting his first mare in foal is so important and makes national headlines. The knowledge that American Pharoah will live on through his offspring is a gift all those who love Thoroughbred racing will treasure for the rest of their lives.

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