(JNS.org) American Pharoah, a horse owned by an Egyptian-born Jew, last week won the Belmont Stakes to claim horse racing’s first Triple Crown since 1978.
The horse’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, is an Orthodox Jew from Cairo who currently lives in Teaneck, N.J.
“We all wanted it. We wanted it for the sport. I’m happy for the horse, for the fans,” Zayat said after the Triple Crown-clinching win, NJ.com reported.
Born to a wealthy family in Cairo, Zayat graduated from Yeshiva University, then worked for real estate developer Zev Wolfson.
Zayat returned to Egypt to purchase the Al Ahram Beverage Co., which sold non-alcoholic drinks. He sold the company for $280 million.
Known as a risk-taker, Zayat has seen his share of financial difficulties.
Five years ago his company, Zayat Stables, declared bankruptcy after defaulting on a $34.2 million loan.
Before winning the Belmont, American Pharoah’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, visited the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem M. Schneerson, in the Queens section of New York City. During the visit, Espinoza – who is not Jewish, but is a spiritual person – carried a copy of the 2014 book Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History.
CAP: The Zayat family. Back row, from left, Ashley, Ahmed, and Justin; front row, from left, Benjamin, Joanne, and Emma.