Pioneerof the Nile Dies at 13

Pioneerof the Nile — the sire of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah — died today at the age of 13, WinStar Farm announced.

Pioneerof the Nile “bred a mare this morning and started acted uncomfortable when he was back in his stall,” WinStar said in a statement. “He was en route to the clinic when he died.”

No cause of death was immediately announced.

Pioneerof the Nile – a son of Empire Maker – earned more than $1.6 million on the track, with wins in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and Cash Call Futurity and the grade 2 San Felipe S. and Robert B. Lewis S.

He finished second to 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Pioneerof the Nile was subsequently retired to stud, where he sired American Pharoah, who was the first horse to win both the Triple Crown series and the Breeders’ Cup Classic and went on to be named Horse of the Year.

He also sired:

— 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and champion 2-year-old colt Classic Empire;

— Midnight Storm, who earned nearly $1.8 million;

— Cairo Prince, who earned $562,000, with wins in the Holy Bull S. and the Nashua S.

Ahmed Zayat posted on Twitter that he was “incredibly shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of my Pioneerof the Nile.”

“He was not only my first homebred. He was one of my greatest,” Zayat wrote on Twitter. “He is gone way too soon, but never to be forgotten.”

The Breeders’ Cup posted on Twitter that “his impact was profound.”

“He and his son, American Pharoah, gave the greatest gifts to the racing world,” the Breeders’ Cup’s statement on Twitter read.