Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Prince Ahmed bin Salman (November 17, 1958 – July 22, 2002) was a member of the royal family of Saudi Arabia and a media executive who also was a major figure in international Thoroughbred horse racing.
Born in Riyadh, Prince Ahmed was the third son of the Governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. He was highly Westernized as a result of his American education at the University of California, Irvine and his subsequent role as the principal partner of The Thoroughbred Corp. through which he raced horses in the United States and the United Kingdom.
In his native Saudi Arabia, Prince Ahmed went into business, eventually becoming chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), a media company with branch offices in London, England.
With his U.S. college friend Richard Mulhall as his horse trainer and eventually his manager of racing operations, Prince Ahmed began racing under the name Universal Stable until 1994 when he created The Thoroughbred Corporation. In 1999 Prince Ahmed won the Epsom Derby with Oath and in 2002 fulfilled another dream by winning the Kentucky Derby with War Emblem. Prince Ahmed is one of only four men to have raced both a Kentucky Derby winner and an Epsom Derby winner. The others are John W. Galbreath, Michael Tabor, and Paul Mellon.
Prince Ahmed bin Salman died unexpected at age 43 of heart failure in Riyadh. He was survived by a wife and five children, including triplets.
The affable Prince was much liked in American horse racing circles. Friend and trainer Bob Baffert said he "was like a kid, just a big, happy kid who lived for his horses." D. Wayne Lukas, another trainer who worked with the Prince, said "He is sorely missed".
In his 2003 book Why America Slept, author Gerald Posner claimed that Prince Ahmed bin Salman had had ties to al-Qaeda and had advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The story was strongly denied by his family pointing out that he in fact loved America, spent time at his home there, and invested heavily in the American horse racing industry. His friends in American racing stated their knowledge of him and his attitudes made it impossible to believe the allegations.
- Posner, Gerald L. Why America Slept (2003) Random House ISBN 978-0375508790
- Unger, Craig House of Bush, House of Saud (2004) Scribner ISBN 978-0743253376