The first date is over for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Now the waiting begins.
An 11-year-old mare named Untouched Talent was the lucky first lady at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Versailles, Kentucky, on Friday morning as thoroughbred racing's breeding season opened on a Valentine's weekend.
''I am thrilled. The mare that is in heat and ovulating is the dam of Bodemeister, a stallion I raced and own,'' American Pharoah's owner Ahmed Zayat said. ''Very excited. Can't wait for little Pharos.''
Bodemeister ran second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2012. Untouched Talent had a less than distinguished racing career, but her bloodlines run deep and include Storm Cat and A.P. Indy - two of racing's most successful sires.
If all goes well, the first of many babies by the first horse to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont since 1978 is about 11 months away.
Coolmore purchased the breeding rights to American Pharoah last year for an undisclosed amount, reported to be in the $20 million range. The stud fee is $200,000, making Pharoah one of the most expensive stallions in North America.
American Pharoah could cover about 170 mares this season. Zayat retains a portion of Pharoah's breeding rights and gets to send some of his own mares to breed to the stallion.
The Racing Post reported on Wednesday that Coolmore was privately offering 2-for-1 deals on American Pharoah, allowing selected breeders to send two mares to the stallion for $200,000.
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