By Ray Paulick
Bradley Weisbord, recently named the finance and stallion manager for Ahmed Zayat's financially troubled Zayat Stables, told the Paulick Report no deal has been struck to sell all or any portion of Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth winner Eskendereya, a leading candidate for this year's Kentucky Derby.
“Mr. Zayat has said he is in this business to operate it as a business,” Weisbord said,. “and he is pursuing offers. There have been numerous parties involved interested in anything from 10% to 100% of the horse.”
Eskendereya won the Feb. 20 Fountain of Youth by 7 1/4 lengths, his third victory in five starts. The margin and ease of victory, combined with huge numbers from speed figure calculators, put the son of Giant's Causeway at the top of many Kentucky Derby lists. He was a $250,000 Keeneland September yearling graduate, sold by Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm, where he was raised. Sanford Robertson bred him in Kentucky. Eskendereya is out of the Seattle Slew mare, Aldebaran Light,
One bloodstock agent who spoke with the Paulick Report on the condition of anonymity, said he made inquiries about Eskendereya with Zayat Stables associates and was told it would take more than $5 million for a half-interest in the colt. Weisbord wouldn't confirm any prices being offered.
Zayat Stables was sued by Fifth Third bank for allegedly being delinquent on loans totaling $34 million, and the stable countersued the bank. Zayat Stables subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is now being investigated by at least two racing commissions for possible ties Zayat had with convicted bookmakers Michael and Jeffrey Jelinsky, to whom he said he made loans totaling more than $600,000. According to sources, one of the Jelinsky brothers attended the 2008 Kentucky Derby post position draw in Louisville as Zayat's guest.
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