ZAYAT FAMILY

Back row, from left: Ashley, Ahmed, Justin

Front row, from left: Benjamin, Joanne, Emma

Zayat Racing Stable Team

Ahmed Zayat - Chairman and CEO

Businessman Ahmed Zayat first entered Thoroughbred racing in 2005, and in less than a decade he has amassed some of the most prominent successes in the industry.

Long a passionate horse enthusiast and equestrian, the Egyptian-born entrepreneur raced two Grade 1 winners within the first 12 months of forming Zayat Stables and has added to that haul every season since.

Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1962, Zayat moved to the United States at age 18 and earned a master’s degree in Public Health at Boston University. Zayat went on to found the Al Ahram Beverage Company in Egypt which creates and produces a popular non-alcoholic drink. He is perhaps best known for that successful beverage company which was later sold to Heineken International after Zayat helped turn it into the largest beverage manufacturer and distributor in the Middle East. Zayat is also the largest shareholder in the largest manufacturer of glass containers in Egypt, Misr Glass Manufacturing.

Read More About The Zayat Stables History Here

Justin Zayat - President and CEO of Racing and Bloodstock

A graduate on NYU, Justin has been involved with Zayat Stables since its inception in 2005. He has learned a lot about the business in the past decade after having managed eleven Grade 1 winners, including 2015 Triple Crown winner, Horse of the Year and 2014 Champion 2-year-old Male American Pharoah, 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister, 2013 Grade 1 winner Justin Phillip, his namesake, El Kabeir, and Mr. Z. Justin always puts the horse first, and it shows with Zayat Stables’ amazing track record.

In 2017 Justin made the "Forbes 30 Under 30 Sports List".

Zayat Racing Stable Trainers

Bob Baffert Trainer

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert is widely recognized as one of the most successful trainers in the history of racing. In 1991, Baffert began focusing his talents on Thoroughbreds full-time after rising to the top of the Quarter Horse racing game. It would not be long before he also reached the pinnacle of the Thoroughbred industry as well.

After winning his first Breeders' Cup race (1992) and running second by a nose with his first Kentucky Derby starter (1996), Baffert became the first trainer to win the Derby and the Preakness in consecutive years with Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998). Both of these champions would also run second in the Belmont, and Real Quiet's loss by a nose gave Baffert the luckless distinction as the trainer with the narrowest near-miss for the Triple Crown.

Baffert has trained nine champions, won the Eclipse Award as America's champion trainer three times, and been America's leading money-winning trainer four times. He has won four Kentucky Derbys, five Preakness Stakes, and one Belmont. He has saddled seven Breeders' Cup winners, two Dubai World Cup winners, and two Kentucky Oaks winners. He also has a record number of wins in prestigious races, including six in the Santa Anita Derby, six in the Haskell Invitational Handicap, and eleven in the Del Mar Futurity. In 2012, Baffert trainees ran second in all three U.S. Triple Crown events. 

Baffert's crowning achievement in his illustrious career came in partnership with Zayat as part of Team American Pharoah. The brilliant son of Zayat's stallion Pioneerof the Nile was named 2-year-old Eclipse Champion Male of 2014, then proceed to have one of the great campaigns in American Racing, becoming the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown, then the first ever to complete racing's "Grand Slam" when he won the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland. Following that glorious triumph, he was retired to Ashford Stud.

Bob Baffert Racing Stable

D. Wayne Lukas

Zayat Stables is proud to announce the addition of legendary horseman D. Wayne Lukas to our roster of trainers. We are extremely excited to have the doyen of active trainers train some two-year-olds for our racing operation. The Antigo, Wisconsin, native is the all-time leading trainer by earnings (over $266-million), leader by Breeders' Cup wins (19 victories, $20 million in purses), leader by victories in the Triple Crown series (14, four in the Kentucky Derby) and the first trainer to reach both $100 million and $200 million in earnings.

Lukas has also trained 24 champions and three Horses of the Year (Lady's Secret in 1986, Criminal Type in 1990, Charismatic in 1999), led all North American trainers in earnings 14 times, and was elected to the Racing Hall of Fame in 1999.

Lukas earned a master's degree in education at the University of Wisconsin where he worked as an assistant basketball coach for two years. He became a high school teacher and head basketball coach for nine years, including a seven-year stint in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. During the summers, he trained and raced horses in South Dakota before turning to training Quarter Horses full time. He trained some Thoroughbreds during the years he was principally involved with Quarter Horses. Before completely turning to Thoroughbreds in 1978, he developed 23 Quarter Horse champions.

Along with his remarkable success at the races, "The Coach" has been well known for the many fine assistants he has mentored who have gone on to their own successes: Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dallas Stewart, Mark Hennig, Randy Bradshaw, Mike Maker, George Weaver, and Bobby Barnett.

In 2012, Lukas won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint with Hightail to extend his record-setting mark to 19 wins in the championship event. In 2013, he broke a tie for U.S. Classic victories with Hall of Fame horseman "Sunny" Jim Fitzsimmons when he sent out Oxbow to win the Preakness (G1). He then added to his record totals in winning both the Travers (G1) and Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga. As of 2015, he trains Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Take Charge Brandi, the 2014 victor of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

Rudy Rodriguez Trainer

A native of Mexico, Rudy Rodriguez is one of America's rising stars of training.

Rodriguez rode for 18 years as both a jockey and exercise rider, winning 221 races from 3,900 mounts before hanging up his tack in January of 2010. Rodriguez’s riding career was highlighted by a 40-1 upset victory in the 2008 Grade 1 Suburban Handicap aboard Frost Giant. As a reinsman, Rodriguez rode for – and learned from – some of the nation's best conditioners, including Bobby Frankel, Richard Dutrow, Sr., and Rick Dutrow, Jr.

It's no surprise, then, that trainer Rodriguez wins at a very high clip of 22%. Now in his fifth year as a full-time trainer, Rodriguez ranked among the nation's Top 20 conditioners from 2012 to 2014 and is currently ranked in the top 30.

A staple on the New York circuit, Rodriguez lives in West Hempstead, New York, with his wife Evangelina and children Rudy, Jr., Arianna, and Megan.

Dale Romans Trainer

A licensed trainer since age 18, Eclipse Award winner Dale Romans literally grew up around Thoroughbred racehorses. The son of well-known Kentucky-based conditioner Jerry Romans, Dale was born and raised in the shadow of Churchill Downs and began working on his father's shedrow as soon as he could walk.

Dale saddled his first winner in 1987 at Turfway Park and has perfected his craft through the decades, working mostly with allowance-level and claiming horses. By the 2000s, Dale's work with higher class horses began to be recognized. In 2004, Kitten's Joy won the Eclipse Award as Champion Turf Horse; in 2005, Roses in May won the Dubai World Cup; in 2009, Dale won his first Breeders' Cup race with Tapitsfly; in 2011, he won the Preakness with Shackleford and the Breeders' Cup Mile with Court Vision; and in 2012, his championship year, he sent out victors of 27 stakes, including the Breeders' Cup Turf, Blue Grass Stakes, Met Mile, Arlington Million, and Pacific Classic. Runners trained by Dale have now amassed earnings of more than $88 million.

Dale is also committed to the betterment of the Thoroughbred industry and currently serves as the Second Vice President of the Kentucky chapter of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

Dale Romans Racing

John Terranova II Trainer

A licensed trainer for 22 years and half of a true racing “Power Couple,” John Terranova has made a name for himself from coast to coast.

For more than 15 years, John, along with his wife Tonja, has supervised the East Coast division of the powerful Bob Baffert stable in addition to running his own highly successful racing operation.

The Long Island-born horseman majored in business at Boston College but left after 2-1/2 years to pursue his true passion at the racetrack. Having worked for trainers on both coasts, John took out his license in 1992 and saddled his first winner in 1993 at Keeneland. By the late 1990s, John illustrated his talents through the exploits of the highly popular gray millionaire Gander who made 60 starts and was voted New York Horse of the Year.

John won his first Grade 1 in 2008 with Laragh then followed that up with Grade 1 wins in 2009 with Negligee, in 2010 with Franny Freud, and 2011 with Lilacs and Lace.

John has saddled starters in six Breeders' Cup events as well as in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and has earned accolades for his work with two-year-olds in particular.

 

Michael de Kock Trainer

Mike doesn’t hail from a racing background, but as a youngster he nurtured his dreams of training thoroughbred horses and travelling the world. He grew up near the old Newmarket racecourse in Alberton, South Africa and counted among his early school friends David Ferraris, today a successful trainer in Hong Kong.

To establish a base of knowledge, he joined the SA Defence Force’s Equestrian Unit at 18. He attributes his trademark skill of getting his horses super fit to his two years in the army, a period in which he was required to prepare them for combat and endurance races. David gave Mike a foot in the door to the stable of master trainer Ormond Ferraris. Here he was taught the principle of attention to detail, a vital aspect which lies today at the heart of his success, so much so that his family and friends will confirm that Mike, the individual, is as sharp as a razor blade and “never misses anything!"

Mike worked as a stable assistant in a few other training yards and was “penniless, frustrated and ready to back-pack around the world” when his big break came along.His then boss, trainer Ricky Howard-Ginsberg, passed away unexpectedly, leaving the 23-year-old in charge of a 50-strong racing string. The stable’s patrons had been impressed by the young Mike’s natural way with horses and his stable management and decided unanimously to leave their runners in his care.

Mike saddled his first winner as a licenced trainer within a few weeks, in December 1988. His first Group 1 triumph came after only fourth months later when the filly Evening Mist won the Administrator’s Champion Stakes at Turffontein.

Committed to living his dream Mike has enjoyed astonishing worldwide success in his quarter century-plus of training. An eight times National Champion Trainer in South Africa, Mike has won every major race in his country of birth at least once, including four Durban July Handicaps, two J&B Mets and a record nine Summer Cups. He’s won races on four continents in places like England, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai. He has prepared over 2500 winners, including 95 Group 1s.

In recent years Mike has rattled cages all over the world with stars like Asiatic Boy, Eagle Mountain, Archipenko and Lizard’s Desire and has also acquired the support of Sheikh Hamdan of Dubai. Mike still regards his erstwhile South African Triple Crown winner Horse Chestnut as the best he has trained.

Mike is married to Diane, who pre-trains the stable’s young and unraced horses. They have a son Mathew (who has joined his dad as an assistant) and daughter Kirsten, who has her sights set on a career in dancing.

Mike de Kock Racing

Linda Rice Trainer

From wins and training titles to awards and earnings, Linda Rice is known in thoroughbred industry as the most decorated female trainer in history. But that distinction doesn’t fully encapsulate what the third-generation trainer has accomplished over the past 20 years.She has been one of the top ten trainers in New York for the last decade and is currently the leading female trainer in North America.

After starting her career as an exercise rider and assistant trainer, Rice obtained her training license in 1987 and began saddling horses full-time in the New York and New Jersey Circuit. The victories soon followed, as well as important industry milestones becoming the first woman to saddle a Grade I winner at Keeneland in 1998 when she won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup with the three-year-old filly Tenski.

Rice made her initial mark at Saratoga when she won back-to-back graded stakes in Saratoga’s prestigious two-year-old filly series, winning the Adirondack and the Grade 1 Spinaway with Things Change. Rice built on her success at Saratoga in 2000 with City Zip, sweeping all of Saratoga’s graded stakes for two-year-olds. Rice was later honored with the Fourstardave Award for Outstanding Achievement by the New York Turf Writers Association for this accomplishment.

Rice has amassed more than 1,500 wins – a number that continues to steadily rise – and more than $55 million in earnings. The victories have led her to four New York training titles since 2009, when she took top honors at Saratoga Race Course and became the first woman to win a training title in the 150-year history of the sport.

Off the track, Rice serves as a board member of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. Rice also devotes a lot of energy to her duties as Chair of the NYTHA Scholarship Committee. It was a post she sought upon her election to the Board in 2002.Under her stewardship, NYTHA has awardednearly $1.2 million in grants to support the educational needs and aspirations of backstretch workers and their families over the past decade.

Linda Rice Racing

Todd Pletcher Trainer

Todd Pletcher was born in Dallas, TX and began working for his father, Jake Pletcher, as a hot walker at the age of 7 at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.  Jake Pletcher was training quarter horses and thoroughbreds throughout the Southwest. During his summers off from junior and senior high school, Todd worked as a groom for his father at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, LA and at Ak-sar-Ben Racetrack in Omaha, NE. Between his junior and senior years in high school, Todd went to Southern California, where he worked as a hot walker for Henry Moreno at Hollywood Park and Del Mar.

Todd began college at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program in Tucson, AZ in the fall of 1985. Between his sophomore and junior years in college, Todd worked as a groom for D. Wayne Lukas at Arlington Park in Chicago, IL. Todd spent the following summer with another Hall of Fame trainer, Charlie Whittingham, working as a groom at Hollywood Park. Pletcher graduated from college with a Bachelor of Animal Science in May, 1989.

Todd traveled to New York to begin working for D. Wayne Lukas as a foreman immediately upon graduating from college. In 1991, Todd was promoted to assistant trainer for Lukas, splitting his time between New York and Florida. Todd was Lukas' East Coast assistant until the end of 1995, in which time he was instrumental in the development of such horses as Thunder Gulch, Harlan, Serena's Song, A Wild Ride and Flanders.

Todd took out his trainer's license in December of 1995 and saddled his first winner, Majestic Number, in February of 1996. Since that time, Pletcher has won more than 4,000 races, including many of the most important races in the world. His win includes two Kentucky Derbies, three Kentucky Oaks, three Belmont Stakes, nine Breeders’ Cup races, four Canadian Triple Crown events and six runnings of the Champagne S.

Pletcher has trained 10 Eclipse Champions, the winners of nearly 1,200 stakes, and has won training titles at more than 50 race meets.

Among his racing honors are seven Eclipse Awards for the nation’s top trainer, four-time winner of the Woody Stephens Award for Outstanding Trainer, and the two-time winner of the Fourstardave Award for Outstanding Achievement at Saratoga.

Todd’s wife, Tracy and their children Payton, Kyle and Hannah reside in Long Island, NY.

Todd Pletcher Racing

Bill Mott Trainer

Bill Mott started his training career early in life. Mott owned and trained his first horse, a $320 mare named My Assets, who he ran at unrecognized meets in South Dakota, winning his first race at a recognized track with her at now-defunct Park Jefferson. Aided by purse earnings from My Assets, he spent $2,000 on a horse named Kosmic Tour, who won the South Dakota Futurity at Park Jefferson before Mott was out of high school. After high school, he worked for three years under Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, before going out on his own in the fall of 1978.

Mott always be best remembered for his training of Cigar, winner of a record-tying 16 consecutive races in 1995-96. The streak included victories in the 1995 Breeders' Cup Classic and the inaugural Dubai World Cup, and ended with the Arlington-Citation Challenge. Said Mott of Cigar, "He's the best horse I've ever trained. He may be the best horse anyone has ever trained."

In 1998, at the age of 45, Mott became the youngest trainer ever inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., an honor previously held by Allen Jerkens.

Mott has won nine training titles at Saratoga, 10 titles at Belmont Park, nine at Gulfstream Park and five at Keeneland. He is the all-time winningest trainer at Churchill Downs, and set the record for number of victories at a single Churchill Downs meeting, 54, during the 1984 spring meet.

Mott currently has a stable of approximately 100 horses, based primarily in New York and Kentucky.

Wesley Ward Trainer

Wesley Ward was born into racing – his father Dennis Ward was a trainer. Wesley grew up in the Northwest, then took out his riding license in 1984.

He was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey following a season in which he won riding championships at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and the Meadowlands Racetrack and rode 335 winners. He went on to compete at racetracks in Italy, Malaysia and Singapore before his battles with weight gain led to retirement in 1989.

Ward then turned to training, first as an assistant to his father before going out on his own in 1991. He earned his first stakes win as a trainer in 1994 at Hollywood Park. Based in California, he also races at Gulfstream Park in Florida during the winter months.

On June 16, 2009, Ward became the first U.S.-based conditioner to ship a horse to England and win a stakes race at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting. Strike the Tiger, a 2-year-old gelding co-bred and co-owned by Ward, shocked the meet by taking the Windsor Castle Stakes at odds of 33-1. The following day, Ward sent out a 2-year-old filly named Jealous Again to claim an even bigger Ascot victory. She took the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes.

In 2013 Ward scored a further Royal Ascot success when No Nay Never won the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, and a first European Group 1 win when the same horse won the Prix Morny at Deauville in August. In 2014, Ward scored his fourth Royal Ascot victory with Hootenanny, in the Windsor Castle stakes over 23 other horses.

At the 2014 Breeders Cup, Ward scored his first victory with Hootenanny in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. One day later, Ward scored his second victory with Judy the Beauty in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

 2015 brought a fifth Royal Ascot success when Ryan Moore rode Acapulco to win the Queen Mary Stakes, giving Ward his second victory in that race.

To date, Ward has won more than 1,400 races and 30 graded stakes.

He has had 3 children, Riley Ward, Denae Ward, and Jackson Ward.