"I'm thrilled," said Justin Zayat, racing and stallion manager for Zayat Racing. "We took a big risk racing after the Belmont. But we always watched him carefully and made sure he was 100 percent before deciding to race him. And as my dad always said, we raced him for the fans and for the sport."
He also did it for Pharoah, who relished racing, Zayat said.
"What would he do for all those months after June, just sit around? He loves to race, he's happiest racing," Zayat said.
"What's amazing about this horse is that he never has an off day. He breathes differently from other horses, he walks differently. He's once in a generation."
Zayat said Pharoah heads into retirement on Monday with total career winnings of $8.65 million. Of that total, $8.2 million has come in 2015. His winnings since the final Triple Crown race in June have totaled more than $4 million, with the Breeder's Cup adding $2.75 million.
Others have earned more, with overseas legends including and T M Opera O and Makybe Diva topping $14 million each. Horses competing overseas are often fighting for bigger purses, or have a more intense racing schedule. Still, Pharoah is among the top 10 earning horses of all time, and his biggest value is yet to come: From stud fees.
Pharoah will start breeding in February, and Zayat said that based on current estimates, his fees could be worth between $200,000 and $250,000 per stud. Only one other horse, the well-established breeder named Tapit (who earns up to $300,000 per stud) is believed to fetch more.
"For the first year, [Pharoah's stud fee] is almost unheard of," said Zayat, who added that his family will still retain a financial interest in the horse.