Zayat Stables, which won an Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 2015 after American Pharoah became the first horse in history to win the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup Classic, allegedly owes New York-based trainer Rudy Rodriguez more than $600,000 in unpaid training bills, supplies and services.
Rodriguez filed an agister's lien on two Zayat Stables Thoroughbreds he is currently training and posted a legal notice in Friday's Daily Racing Form that the two horses – stakes winners Lezendary and Majid – would be auctioned off in a foreclosure sale at Belmont Park on Nov. 1 at 10:30 a.m. Eliot Millman Auctioneers has been named to handle the sale.
The notice claims the amount due through Aug. 31, 2019, is $623,967.19, plus additional charges from Sept. 1 until the date of the sale.
Justin Zayat, son of stable founder Ahmed Zayat and manager of the stable, told Daily Racing Form an agreement between the two parties had been reached, but Drew Mollica, attorney for Rodriguez, would not comment other than to say “we have been in contact” with the Zayats in an effort to resolve the matter.
Zayat Stables has won more than $57 million since being formed in 2005 and has twice been America's leading money winner, in 2008 and again in 2015, when Bob Baffert-trained American Pharoah helped push the stable over $10 million in purses won.
The Triple Crown winner, whose breeding rights were sold to Coolmore early in his 3-year-old season, was Zayat Stables' last graded stakes winner, according to Equibase (Zayat has campaigned G3 winner Ezmosh in partnership). American Pharoah, with four stakes winners from his first crop, is in a battle with WinStar Farm's Constitution for leading freshman sire.
Since 2015, according to Bloodhorse.com, Zayat Stables has spent more than $25 million on 111 weanlings, yearlings and 2-year-olds (some of which were later re-sold), but stable earnings averaged just $2.2 million from 2016-'18 and are at $1.2 million in 2019, with 29 wins from 160 starts.
In addition to Rodriguez, Zayat Stables currently has horses with Steve Asmussen, Richard Baltas, Brad Cox, Robertino Diodoro, D. Wayne Lukas, Jorge Navarro and Todd Pletcher.
Lezendary, a 4-year-old filly by Zensational, won the Cicada Stakes in March 2018, and is 2-for-13 lifetime. Majid put together a four-race winning streak earlier this year, culminating with a victory in the Easy Goer Stakes in June.
“He's a wealthy man. I'm a working guy,” Rodriguez said. “It costs me a lot to run the stable, with salaries and workers' compensation. Whenever I talk to him, he says he's going to pay, he's going to pay. I told him, 'I can't carry you any more.'”
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