News Americas, QUEENS, NY, Sat. June 6, 2015: The news today all focused on the history making moment of American Pharoah’s win at the Belmont Stakes and its upset of Secretariat’s 37-year-old hold on the Triple Crown honor. But the moment also marked an American Dream one for two immigrants who moved to the U.S. to pursue their dreams.
Mexican-born jockey Victor Espinoza, the man born on a goat farm in Mexico overcame rode into racings history books by winning the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes in his third try on June 6, 2015. Espinoza rode American Pharoah to history in a time of 2:26:65, the fastest since 2001.
And what this humble, always smiling immigrant jockey did after is making even more news. Espinoza donated his entire US$80,000 earnings from Saturday’s race to City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment facility in California.
At the wire I was like, ‘I cannot believe I did it,'” Espinoza said. “I (won) the Triple Crown race now, but I didn’t make any money, because I donated my money to the City of Hope.”
Espinoza is ranked No. 3 of 1,266 jockeys in North America, with $7.11 million in earnings in 2015.
And then there’s the other immigrant success story. American Pharoah’s owner Ahmed Zayat. Zayat, 52, was born in Cairo, Egypt, and moved to the United States at age 18, making his fortune in beverages through the Al-Ahram Beverages Company.
After the company was purchased by Heineken in 2002, Zayat stayed on a few more years but also began investing in racehorses and established Zayat Stables. Upon returning to the United States for good in 2007, he made his racing stables his full-time occupation, working with his son, Justin, to build the business. Now American Pharoah’s Triple Crown win might mean millions in future earnings for Zayat on breeding rights not just for American Pharoah but his father, Pioneer of the Nile. American Pharoah’s stud fees will start in the neighborhood of $75,000 while Pioneer of the Nile’s stud fees will like likely rise again to more than $100,000, according to Bloomberb ensuring Zayat keeps raking in the dough and living the American dream.