Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
|Ahmed bin Salman|
|Born||17 November 1958
|Died||22 July 2002
|Burial||23 July 2002
Al Oud cemetery, Riyadh
|Spouse||Lamia bint Mishaal bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud|
|House||House of Saud|
|Father||Salman bin Abdulaziz|
|Mother||Sultana bint Turki al Sudairi|
Prince Ahmed was born in Riyadh on 17 November 1958. He was the third eldest son of Salman bin Abdulaziz, King of Saudi Arabia, and Sultana bin Turki Al Sudairi who died in July 2011. She was a daughter of Prince Salman's uncle, Turki bin Ahmad al Sudairi, a former governor of Asir. Ahmed bin Salman is full brother of Prince Fahd, Prince Sultan, Prince Abdulaziz, Prince Faisal and Princess Hussa.
Later, Ahmed bin Salman continued his studies in the US and attended University of California, Irvine. He studied comparative culture and graduated from the university in the early 1980s.
In Saudi Arabia Ahmed bin Salman joined armed forces before dealing with business. After leaving armed forces in 1985 he established ASAS, a company which specialized in maintenance and contracting. He became chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) in 1989, a media company with offices in Riyadh and Jeddah as well as in London and Washington D.C. Prince Ahmed also bought 80% of the daily, Asharq Al Awsat, which is a publication of the SRMG.
SRMG is reported to be the largest media company in the Middle East. However, the business was worth $90 million when Prince Ahmed took over the company. Its assets were worth nearly $533 million at the period when he died. After his death his full brother Prince Faisal became the chairman of SRMG.
Involvement in horse racing
Ahmed bin Salman began horseracing activity with his college friend Richard Mulhall as his horse trainer and eventually his manager of racing operations. First he bought a gray stallion named Jumping Hill. Then, Prince Ahmed began racing under the name Universal Stable until 1994. Later, he created the Thoroughbred Corporation and became the principal partner of this company. In 1999 Ahmed bin Salman won the Epsom Derby with Oath. He also won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes with 2001 horse of the year, Point Given. He also achieved another dream by winning the Kentucky Derby with War Emblem in May 2002, making him the first Arab horse owner to win this race. War Emblem was sold to Prince Ahmed just three weeks before the race after the horse won the Illinois Derby. The price of the horse was $ 900.000. Prince Faisal, his brother, succeeded him as the head of the Thoroughbred Corporation after his death in 2002.
Ahmed bin Salman also owned Spain, horse racing's all-time female money-winner. He 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.
Ahmed bin Salman was appointed secretary-general of the Prince Fahd bin Salman Charitable Association for Kidney Patients and a member of the charity’s board of directors following the death of his elder brother Fahd bin Salman in 2001.
Prince Ahmed is survived by his wife, Lamia bint Mishaal, daughter of Mishaal bin Saud. He had four daughters and a son. His family owns three percent of Saudi Research and Marketing Group.
Death and funeral
Ahmed bin Salman died of heart failure at age 43 in Riyadh on 22 July 2002. He was buried in Al Oud cemetery on 23 July 2002 after funeral prayers at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh. His cousin, Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah, brother of Abdullah bin Faisal, was coming to Riyadh to participate in funeral prayers for Prince Ahmed when he was killed in a car crash. The cousins were buried together.
War Emblem's win in the Preakness
With his college friend Richard Mulhall as trainer, he got into the racing business initially as Universal Stable. In 1994 when the operation resurfaced as The Thoroughbred Corporation, with Mulhall retiring as a trainer and taking on the job of racing manager. Mulhall is currently the president of the operation. The pair would go on to racing greatness, both with sales purchases and homebreds. The Thoroughbred Corp.'s roster reads like a who's who of racing in the past decade, with such greats as Sharp Cat, Lear Fan, Jewel Princess, Windsharp, Military, Royal Anthem, Anees, Officer, Habibti, Spain, 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given, and this year's dual classic winner War Emblem. Currently Thoroughbred Corp. has approximately 60 horses in training mostly stabled with Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and John Shireffs, along with 45 broodmares, mostly at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington. His name will always be associated with War Emblem, his one Kentucky Derby winner, which he quipped was "one of the best investments I ever made in my life, besides buying oil in Saudi Arabia," after he won the Preakness. He bought a 90% share in the colt just three weeks before the Derby, and with the win, became the first Arab owner to capture the Roses.
Alleged involvement in 9/11 attacks
In Why America Slept (2003), Gerald Posner claimed that Ahmed bin Salman (along with Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah and Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir) had had ties to al-Qaeda and had advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001 attacks. All three died within days of each other, and soon after the CIA inquired about their possible connection to the attacks. The story was strongly denied by his family, who claimed that he admired the United States, spent a great deal of time at his home there in Bradbury, California, 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.
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