Oaklawn to Unveil Bronze American Pharoah Statue


Oaklawn Park | Coady photo

Oaklawn Park will unveil a life-size bronze statue of American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) Thursday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m. on the eve of the track’s 114th live racing season. Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, began his 3-year-old season in 2015 by winning the GII Rebel S. and GI Arkansas Derby before ultimately going on to win the Triple Crown, GI Haskell Invitational and GI Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The bronze statue, by artist James Peniston, was commissioned by the late Charles Cella and is the focal point of a newly redesigned entrance to the grandstand which features a new, park-like setting.

“We are extremely honored,” said Justin Zayat, son of owner Ahmed Zayat and Racing Manager for Zayat Stables. “Oaklawn has always been a track we love and have had great success at. Winning the Rebel and Arkansas Derby was a great foundation for American Pharoah and it was after his Arkansas Derby that we knew we had something truly special.”

Oaklawn President Louis Cella added, “This statue is not only a lasting tribute to American Pharoah, but also to my father, Charles Cella. His vision for the track was to have the very best 3-year-olds come through Hot Springs on their way to the Triple Crown races. His dream started coming true in 2004, the year Smarty Jones won the Rebel, Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and came full circle when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. We look forward to continuing my father’s legacy by attracting the top horses for years to come.”

The unveiling will be open to the public.


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