Two-Minute Lick - Justin Zayat
Justin Zayat, son of Ahmed Zayat, is a 20-year-old sophomore at NYU and has been involved with Zayat Stables since its inception in 2005. He has learned a lot about the business since then, having managed ten Grade 1 winners including 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up Bodemeister and 2012 Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up and Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1) winner Paynter.
Name: Justin Zayat
What I do for a living: Sophomore at New York University, Racing and Stallion Manager at Zayat Stables
How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred Racing: My dad’s family owns farms in Egypt, so I used to ride when we went to visit. But 2005, when we started Zayat Stables, is when I really got involved in the racing.
My favorite racetrack: Del Mar
My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: The Breeders’ Cup
Other sports/teams I follow: New York Giants, Brooklyn Nets, New York Yankees
What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred Racing: Making it a mainstream sport while attracting the younger generation. Also, having a racing commissioner like we have in other sports.
What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred Racing: I would like the television channels to synchronize so I don’t need to flip back and forth between channels to watch my races. I would also like to see less breakdowns on track.
Three words that define what Thoroughbred Racing means to me: Passion, excitement, competitiveness
What it means to have Paynter win the Vox Populi Award: Paynter is a SPECIAL horse. His courage and determination and his spirit have been an inspiration to me. For people and fans to realize that was the icing on top of the cake.
First Thoroughbred track I ever attended: Belmont
Favorite All-time Thoroughbred: Shackleford
My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing: Pioneerof the Nile winning the CashCall Futurity. We needed to win this Grade 1 race to be number one in earnings in 2008. He was our first homebred.
Best racetrack food can be found at: Churchill Downs
My favorite jockey: Johnny Velazquez
My favorite trainer: It depends on the week! But Bob Baffert is my number one.
My Heroes: My dad and mom
Person in Thoroughbred Racing I’d like to have dinner with: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. My dad always speaks very highly of what he has done for his country.
My philosophy on life: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?" (Ethics of Fathers)
Favorite quote or motto: "You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take." - Wayne Gretzky
Favorite animal other than a horse: My dog Molly
Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Super Bowl XXXVIII
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite vacation spot: Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Favorite city: New York City
Favorite Musician/band: Mumford and Sons
Favorite all-time movie(s): Coach Carter
Favorite TV Show: "Law and Order SVU"
Favorite hotel: The Dorchester in London
Websites I visit daily: NYTimes.com, Yahoo.com, ESPN.com, DRF.com, Bloodhorse.com, Zayatstables.com,
What I drive: Infiniti
Pet Peeve: When people don’t clean up after themselves.
Favorite movie about horse racing: Dreamer (2005)
The actor who would play me in a movie: Owen Wilson
Best Book I recently read: “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom
Favorite Memento: My Derek Jeter signed jersey, personalized to me.
Favorite Dessert: Chocolate soufflé
Favorite Drink: Gatorade fruit punch
Favorite Scent: Acqua Di Gio
What I like about my job: Working with my Dad and doing something I love. Not often in life do people get to work their dream jobs.
Favorite Tech gadget: My iPhone
Twitter Handle: @Justinzayat
People I follow on Twitter: Kobe Bryant, Larry King, Michael Phelps
No. 1 Bucket List Item: WINNING THE KENTUCKY DERBY!!