The horse with a misspelled name finally did what racing fans were waiting 37 years for, won the Triple Crown. Now American Pharoah can settle down to a life of leisure on the Kentucky bluegrass.
That and stud service. A lot of stud service.
Now that he's retired, the real money will begin to come in. He has bred with 100 mares since taking up residence at Ashland Stud, and each one comes with a $200,000 paycheck. That means he has already earned $20 million.
To put that into perspective, Pharoah brought in "just" $8.65 million during his racing career.
Pharoah has the potential to earn not just hundreds of millions for his owners, but possibly more than a billion dollars if he continues stud service at this rate over a number of years.
If you're thinking that Pharoah's Triple Crown would earn him the highest stud fee ever, though, you'd be wrong. Right now that honor belongs to Tapit, whose services come in at $300,000. The difference between the two is that while Pharoah has a room full of trophies showing how great he is on the track, it's Tapit's offspring who have all the awards.
Tapit did not win a Triple Crown race at all in his career, finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby and not competing in the others. His only major wins were in the Grade II Laurel Future Stakes and the Grade I Wood Memorial. However, 2014 Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable and 2014 Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist have gotten the job done where their father couldn't, making him a proven stud.
American Pharoah's first offspring won't be born until 2017 and we won't really know their full potential for a few more years after that. If his success in the barn is the same as it was on the track, his owners will be all the more happy.
The record stud fee still belongs to Northern Dancer, earning $1 million each in the 1980s.
Pharoah's trainer, Bob Baffert, visited his former charge recently.
"It was really exciting to see him," Baffert said. "He's still the sweet, kind horse he is.
"The first 60 days was tough, not having him there. He' such a sweet soul. He loved attention, he loved people. And we got a lot more attention, too, when he was around."
Baffert's entry in this year's Kentucky Derby is Mor Spirit, jockeyed by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens. The horse drew the unlucky 17th stall. No winner has ever broke from there. But even with that and 12-1 odds, with connections like that Mor Spirit is in the conversation among experts.
* * *