Ahmed Zayat joined connections of other Triple Crown winners Monday on a National Thoroughbred Racing Association teleconference. And before the call ended, the recent talk of racing — other than Justify’s run in the 2018 Belmont Stakes — inevitably came up.

So, what about that Twitter feud with comedian Jim Gaffigan?

“I think this is a serious week for all of us,” Zayat said. “We are all dreaming and hoping for a Triple Crown, and sometimes, even if you’re a comedian, there are certain jokes that need to be tasteful and of color.”

After a “CBS Sunday Morning” segment aired with Gaffigan essentially mocking the sport ahead of this weekend’s race, Zayat, who bred and campaigned American Pharoah for his 2015 Triple Crown run, further explained his social media posts.

Zayat called for “horse people” — fans and industry insiders — to “raise up” after Gaffigan expressed what he called a “tainted opinion.” Among those who voiced out against Gaffigan’s opinions were NBC’s voice of the Triple Crown, Larry Collmus, and Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion.

In turn, Gaffigan, who has more than 3.1 million Twitter followers, said, “I discovered this guy (Zayat) sicked all the horse people on me because of my silly @CBSSunday humor essay. I’d done these jokes across the country for a month. They worked everywhere. He’s a bully. Let him know.”

Tweets from Gaffigan’s followers to Zayat were still flowing in Monday afternoon. But Zayat doesn’t regret speaking up for, in particular, he said, his horses, jockeys and trainers, as well as fellow owners.

“I felt, ‘Hey, I’m an individual,’” Zayat said. “Of course, I have my own rights, and I happen to think this person — no matter how popular or not popular he is, or how many people comment and crucify me — I’m going to speak my mind.

“…To literally taint the entire sport by making fun of everything from the athletes — the jockeys who risk their lives every day — to calling people wearing their hats when they’re leaving a trailer, and abusing the animals by whipping them, and all the things you can pick apart about any sport was totally off color.”

Much conversation revolving around Gaffigan’s segment was on why it came to this, or how to prevent it. To that, Zayat added, “We are members of our sport. We should educate people about it. It’s as simple as that.”


Article Source


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here