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Race Horse Owners
Horse racing is often referred to as the “Sport of Kings”. Today, anyone can enjoy the watching races on the stands and on television, and anyone can wager on the ponies. But in many ways the term “Sport of Kings” is still applicable, because there are the very wealthy racehorse owners – and without them, there wouldn’t be much of a show.
So who are the world’s biggest racehorse owners? If you happen to frequent prestigious racing events, then you might have seen them from afar. Clad in beautiful garb, these multi-millionaires and billionaires select future winners on the track. They have won most of the major horse races around the world, and they are part of the foundation of this beautiful sport.
So here we introduce to you the world’s elite racehorse owners.
Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Racing and Godolphin Racing Inc.
Perhaps the best known billionaire in the world of horse breeding and racing is the Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, known simply in racing circles as Sheikh Mohammed. Sheikh Mohammed launched Darley Racing in 1981. Today, Darley racing breeds numerous stallions in the UK, US, Ireland, France, Australia and Japan.
Sheikh Mohammed is thought to be the biggest spender in the history of the sport. He employs over 250 people at its headquarters at Dalham Hall Stud, and pre-training facility at Hamilton Hill. In the UK alone, Darley Racing spans 4,000 acres. He also hires an additional 600 people for the rest of Darley Racing’s global operation.
Godolphin Racing, on the other hand, has fully-fledged horse racing stables and operations in both England and Dubai. To escape the cold winter weather, Thoroughbreds of Godolphin Racing spend their winters in the Dubai. They are then transported back to England for the summer.
Sheikh Mohammed is not someone to be missed in any racing event. His presence at any horse race is often met with hushed reverence, and a daunting squad of bodyguards. His favorite horse of all time is reported to be Dubai Millennium. Other notable horses of his were Holy Bull, Bernardini, Street Sense, Any Given Sunday, Singspiel, Cape Cross, and Fantastic Light.
Shadwell Racing is owned by the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Hamdan founded Shadwell back in 1991. He owns a total of eight stud farms – six in England and two in Ireland. Shadwell Racing boasts numerous stallions and more than 200 top-quality Thoroughbred broodmares.
Shadwell Racing has more than 75 major international race wins to its name in the UK, US, Ireland, Australia, France and United Arab Emirates. One notable winner of Shadwell Racing is Salsabil, who impressed the world in 1990 by not only winning the coveted Epsom Oaks, but also the Irish Derby. Another winner is Invasor who proved himself a champion by winning the 2006 Breeders Cup Classic. Invasor was also voted US Horse of the Year in 2006.
H.R.H Princess Haya of Jordan
Her Royal Highness Princess Haya of Jordan is a successful horse owner who is the daughter of King Hussein I of Jordan, and the junior wife of Sheikh Mohammed. At a very young age, the Princess developed a liking for horses and became a very talented show jumper. In fact, the Princess joined the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and represented her country at show jumping.
Through the years, the Princess has come to own some of the best runners in racing events. Her colt New Approach on the Epsom Derby in June of 2008. Only a few months later in October 2008, the Princess’ 3-year-old Thoroughbred named Raven's Pass won the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Bridget Oppenheimer is a well-known racehorse owner from South Africa who has many wins and places to her name. In fact, she is called the “First Lady” of horse racing in South Africa. She is also the widow of one of the world's richest men, Harry Oppenheimer.
Bridget owns a stud farm named Mauritzfontein in South Africa's Northern Cape Province. Mauritzfontein has yielded famous horses such as Blue-White, Tigray, Sycamore Fig, and Dog Wood.
Team Valor International
Team Valor International is a horse racing syndicate based in Kentucky that is run by Barry Irwin. At present, Team Valor has partnerships with horseracing enthusiasts in Singapore, Japan, Canada, Italy, England and South Africa.
Team Valor has an impressive track record, with over 28 per cent of all of its runners having won victorious in stakes races. Some of notable horses of Team Valor are Sweet Stream, Free At Last, Russian Sage, Iridescence, Prizes, Political Ambition, and Swaps (who happens to be Bill Irwin’s favourite horse).
Coolmore Stud is known to be the world's biggest (and to some, probably the best) Thoroughbred breeding operation in the entire world. Coolmore Stud was founded in 1975 in Ireland, but started out as a small farm in the 1950s.
John Magnier was the man who built Coolmore Stud into a global operation. Today, Coolmore has three branches – one in Ireland, one in Australia, and another called Ashford Stud in the Kentucky, US.
Coolmore Stud’s success is often associated with its modern barns and paddocks, as well as state-of-the art horse-friendly facilities. Coolmore has raised many expensive colts, including two-year-old The Green Monkey who was sold at an auction for US$16 million in 2006.
Other notable horses owned by Coolmore Stud are Fusaichi Pegasus, Tale Of The Cat, Peintre Pegasus, Grand Slam, Encosta, One Cool Cat, and Galileo.
Mike Pegram is a famous Thoroughbred racehorse owner who grew around the horse racing industry. Growing up in Indiana, he used to watch races at Ellis Park, as well as Churchill Downs. He initially began purchasing quarter horses. Later on, he met renown trainer Bob Baffert, and switched to Thoroughbreds.
Mike Pegram has celebrated big wins in his lifetime, including the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Kentucky Oaks. He also won the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 2007 and 2008 with Midnight Lute. Other notable horses of his are Real Quiet, Silverbulletday, High Stakes Player, Captain Steve, Favored One, Argolid, Arches of Gold, and The Texas Tunnel.
Michael Tabor is one of the most successful owners of race horses from UK. He is one of the only four racehorse owners in the entire globe to have owned both a Kentucky Derby winner, and an Epsom Derby winner. Tabor also owned Hurricane Run, who was voted the World's Top Ranked Horse by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in 1995.
As an avid fan of the sport, Tabor has formed partnerships with other race horse owners. He has jointly-owned horses that have won prestigious races, including Epsom Derby victors Galileo and High Chaparral, as well as Entrepreneur who won the coveted 2,000 Guineas in England.
Other notable horses that Tabor has owned are Tornado Prince, Marlin, Desert King, and Thunder Gulch.
The Aga Khan
Shah Karim al-Hussayni, better known as His Highness The Aga Khan IV, is another top figure in the horse racing world. The Aga Khan owns and operates the largest horse racing and breeding operation in France. His operation is located at his vast Aiglemont estate in the Picardie region, which is located a short four kilometres from the Chantilly Racecourse.
He also owns Gilltown Stud in Ireland, and the Haras de Bonneval breeding farm in France. In 2005, he acquired the Calvados stud farms, the Haras d'Ouilly, and the Haras de Val-Henry. As if these are not impressive enough, The Aga Khan is also the majority shareholder of Arqana – a highly respected horse auction house.
The Aga Khan is known for his expensive investments throughout the years. One example is having paid £1.3 million for the bloodstock owned by Anna Dupre. He also paid a jaw dropping £4.7 million for Marcel Boussac's bloodstock.
Dato Tan Chin Nam
Dato Tan Chin Nam is a highly successful Malaysian businessman who is one of the leading race horse owners in Australia. He was always a fan of horse racing growing up, so after his success in property development, he formed a partnership with leading Australian race horse trainer, Bart Cummings. Dato Tan Chin Nam is a major shareholder of most of Cummings’ horses, including Saintly who is a champion Gr 1 winner.
Dato Tan Chin Nam is also known for his stud farm in Australia named Thing Big Stud. This farm was named after one of his horses, who won the Melbourne Cup twice. The stud farm is located along the banks of the Wingecarribee River in Burradoo, New South Wales.
Dato Tan Chin Nam has owned other great horses like Wonderful World, God’s Own, Prince Arthur and Ruz Lopez. Because of his prolific influence on the Australian horse racing scene, Moonee Valley Racecourse named a race in his honour called the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
Frank Stronach is one of the foremost owners and horse breeders of racehorses in the United States. Before getting involved in the horse racing world, he was first a highly successful businessman in the auto industry.
Once he developed his passion for Thoroughbred racing, he decided to commit to the ponies. He now owns and operates some of the most fruitful horse racing venues in the US, which includes Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Thistledown, and Pimlico Race Course.
Stronach’s company also offers off-track betting facilities. He also owns Adena Springs Farms, which are horse breeding operations in Kentucky, Florida, and Canada.
One of his most famous horses is Glorious Song, who was awarded the Sovereign Award for Canadian Horse of the Year in 1980. Stronach's horses have won many major races, including the Belmont Stakes, the Preakness Stakes, the Queen’s Plate, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.