VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) WinStar Farm says that stallion Pioneerof the Nile, sire of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, has died.
Owner Ahmed Zayat confirmed the death of the 13-year-old to the Associated Press on Monday and said he was “like a family member.” WinStar stated on its web site that Pioneerof the Nile had bred a mare and became uncomfortable after returning to his stall. He died on the way to the clinic. Zayat said he was awaiting results from an autopsy.
The Kentucky-bred son of Empire Maker and Star of Goshen by Lord at War earned more than $1.6 million and five wins, a second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and a third in 10 career starts. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Pioneerof the Nile sired 2-year-old male Eclipse Award winners Classic Empire and American Pharoah – who became horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown champion winner and first since 1978 when he swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
WinStar’s Elliott Walden said on the web site that the farm is saddened and heartbroken over Pioneerof the Nile’s death and praised his “unique personality.” Zayat said he will cherish the horse’s sweet demeanor and talent that set a standard for his stable. He added, “He was a part of us, a part of me. Just very special.”