MAY 19, 2015 LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2015, 1:21 AM
BY MARY DIDUCH
STAFF WRITER |
TEANECK — Bergen County isn’t exactly horse country. Few here seem to closely follow horse racing, preferring baseball and football to the sight of thoroughbreds tearing up a dirt track at 40 miles per hour.
But this year may be different — in Teaneck, anyway.
That’s because American Pharoah, the horse that won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes this month, is in a position to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. And the horse’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, an Egyptian-born businessman, has lived in the township for 30 years.
“It’s definitely a lot of buzz locally,” Mayor Lizette Parker said, adding that she has received messages from friends both near and far who have been watching the races, wondering if American Pharoah will be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed, in 1978.
Around the township on Monday afternoon, many acknowledged that they don’t regularly follow horseracing. But those who know Zayat, who lives with his wife and four children on Warwick Avenue — a wide, quiet street in a section of the township with a large Orthodox Jewish population — said they have been tuning in to the races specifically to root for American Pharoah.
The Zayats’ neighbors described them as social and friendly people who are active in community and school affairs.