Baffert, Zayats hold Q&A at Belmont

December 10, 2019

ELMONT, N.Y. - The connections of 2015 Belmont Stakes winner American Pharoah returned to Belmont Park on June 9 for the first time since the Zayat Stables' LLC homebred became the 12th Triple Crown winner and the first in 37 years, and their experience was powerful.

"It was exciting to come back to the scene of the biggest accomplishment, ever, in my life," said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, following the opening day's card of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, when he and Ahmed Zayat and Justin Zayat addressed a receptive group of fans in the Clubhouse during a free Q&A session, signed autographs and posed for photos with them.

" Walking through the paddock for the first time brought back great memories. It gave me goosebumps. It never gets old. We have a lot of fans out there, and to this day people want to know how he's doing. That horse touched a lot of people. This was like walking into Yankee Stadium. It's a legendary place. Coming here, walking into the track and through the paddock, we felt all again like it was yesterday. It brought back all of the feelings," Baffert continued.

The Zayats and Baffert were introduced by Chris Kay, the CEO of NYRA and when welcoming them said that the purpose of the event was to share them with the racing fans.

During the session, which was moderated by NYRA track announcer Larry Collmus, a replay of the 2015 Belmont Stakes was run on the TV monitors.

"Whenever I watch the replay, and I watch it many times, it automatically brings me laughter and happiness," said Ahmed Zayat. "It's always unbelievably joyful; it's just majestic."

Baffert shared a private moment he had with Penny Chenery, the owner of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, in the midst of the post race exuberance.

"After Pharaoh won, she gave me a hug and said, 'What a horse!'. I whispered in her ear, 'He's no Secretariat, but he's as close as I'm going to get." She said, 'Right.'," Baffert recalled.

After the session Ahmed and Justin Zayat and Baffert signed a large collection of Triple Crown memorabilia to be auctioned at events throughout the year to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) .

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