George Bolton Chats Racehorse Ownership, Curlin, and Royal Ascot

The Life
George Bolton and his wife Leia in the Del Mar paddock. (Courtesy George Bolton)

George Bolton grew up on the East Coast but moved west more than three decades ago, where he made his career in investment banking and asset management. He attended the University of Virginia with Lane’s End Farm’s Bill Farish, who later got him involved in horse racing. His horses have earned three Eclipse Awards and a Cartier Award, as well as a win in the 2007 Preakness Stakes. Get to know him with the Q&A below.

If you'd like to learn more about becoming a Thoroughbred owner, visit OwnerView.com for resources on everything from licensing to trainers to vet clinics. You can also register for their ownership conference, held Breeders' Cup week in San Diego this year.


Name: George Brown Bolton

Birthplace: Baltimore, Md.

Years as an owner: My first horse was named Purse with Bill Farish in 1989.

Horses owned (currently): Fifteen horses in training currently, plus three stallions; The Factor,  Astrology, and Dominus, eight mares, and five weanlings and yearlings. Total population 35 horses.

Horses owned (lifetime): I have owned over 180 horses led by Curlin, Lady Aurelia, My Miss Aurelia, and The Factor as my most talented horses to date.

Curlin wins the 2008 Jockey Club Gold Cup. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Favorite horse owned and why: I have to vote on Curlin as my favorite because he won the Preakness in Baltimore in near track-record time and was Horse of the Year twice.

Best win(s): My best win was Lady Aurelia beating 17 colts and three fillies in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot this spring.

Profession/what I do: I spent my career at the investment bank Alex Brown and Sons and now manage assets from fast food restaurants to growth stocks.

Best experience as an owner: My best experience as an owner was Curlin's Preakness win in 2007, and my three Royal Ascot victories with Contributor and Lady Aurelia, twice. ... Royal Ascot is by far my favorite venue, from the formal wear to the world-class facility, and of course the world-class race card.

How I became a Thoroughbred owner: I am so lucky to have Bill Farish as an advisor from the start. He brought me into the sport at the high end.

What I like about Thoroughbred racing: I like to manage my own team and that is what I get in Thoroughbred racing.

Best advice to someone considering ownership: My best new owner advice is to take it very slow in your first few years. Only buy a piece of a horse or a racing partnership to start, with a small amount of potential capital invested.

Favorite place at the racetrack to watch a race: My favorite place to watch a race is Del Mar, where the turf meets the surf. I always sit with Bob and Jill Baffert and enjoy the fact that Bob rarely loses!!!

Bolton and his wife at Royal Ascot. (Courtesy George Bolton)

How you pick the names of your race horses: My horse names only include my mother Aurelia Bolton IF THEY REALLY CAN RUN!!!

Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home: The Breeders’ Cup should move around to the best, most updated U.S. race tracks.

Favorite horse auction of the year: My favorite horse auction is  Fasig-Tipton Saratoga in August where the sale starts in the evening with electricity in the air.

My top three favorite racetracks, in order: Ascot (in England), Saratoga, and Del Mar.

What Thoroughbred racing means to me: Thoroughbred racing is not just a race but a lifestyle.

My favorite childhood memory: Goose hunting with my father.

Most influential person in my career: Frank Mansell, who was the horse-owning grandfather-type figure I never had. We talked horses and investments daily.

When I was 6, I wanted to be: At 6 I wanted to hunt doves and geese.

Other sports/teams I follow: I follow the University of Virginia football and basketball.

A fact about myself that would surprise those who know me: I still feel like the East Coast is home despite moving west 34 years ago.

Most treasured possession/memento: My home in Rancho Santa Fe, which is filled with 14th-century spiritual artifacts.

A pet peeve: My frustration on friends that never treat.

What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: I am halfway through “Seabiscuit” for the second time.

Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing: I love to surf the web and book my own travel.

Favorite movies: “The Deer Hunter,” “Goodfellas,” “The Blind Side”

Favorite foods: Indian cuisine

Bolton and his wife at Ascot. (Courtesy George Bolton)

Favorite vacation spot: London, England

If I could appear on any TV show it would be: FOX’s "The Five"

Top five websites I visit daily: Bloomberg, CNBC, BloodHorse, The Weather Channel, and Yahoo Finance

Favorite musician/band: Alice in Chains

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people in racing: King Fahd, Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Kate

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people outside of racing: Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Prince Abdullah

Accomplishment I am most proud of: Being successful on the West Coast.

Favorite quote or motto: “Another story ruined by an eye witness."

Things I collect: Business cards

Favorite authors: Kurt Vonnegut

Favorite animal other than a horse: Boston Terriers

What actor would play me in a movie: Hugh Grant

What living person do you most admire: Queen Elizabeth

No. 1 Bucket List Item: Royal Ascot

Top three fashion brands you prefer to wear: Barbour, Ralph Lauren, and Orvis

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