Taking a Closer Look at the Current Leading Owners of 2017

Khalid Abdullah, left, of Juddmonte Farms, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, center, of Godolphin, and Frank Stronach, right, of Stronach Stables occupy three of the top four spots on the current 2017 leading North American owners list. (Eclipse Sportswire)

As Thoroughbred racing nears the final third of the 2017 season and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships near, America’s Best Racing takes a closer look at the top 10 owners by purse earnings this season. Here’s a rundown of who their standouts are this season, a look back at some of their top all-time racehorses, and a little bit of background on who they are.

1. Juddmonte Farms, Inc.

$15,675,705 in 2017 purse earnings

Khalid Abdullah (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: Led by champion Arrogate, winner of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup and $10 million Dubai World Cup in 2017, Juddmonte has a deep, talented roster of stars who have enjoyed success this year. Other standouts in the U.S. include Longines Just a Game Stakes winner Antonoe; Paulassilverlining, 3-for-3 this year with a pair of Grade 1 wins; multiple graded stakes winner Suffused; graded stakes winner Grand Jete; Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Lockdown; and Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes runner-up Time Test. In Europe, Juddmonte has English and Irish Oaks winner Enable, currently rated fourth on the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings, eight points behind Juddmonte’s top-rated Arrogate.

All-time stars: This list must start with two-time European Horse of the Year Frankel, who retired to stud unbeaten in 14 starts and has already made an impact on racing as a sire. But Juddmonte also bred and raced arguably the greatest broodmare of the modern era of horse racing in Hasili, who produced European/U.S. champion and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Banks Hill; U.S. champion and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Intercontinental; Canadian Horse of the Year Champs Elysees; multiple Grade 1 winners Heat Haze and Cacique; Group 2 winner and influential sire Dansili; and Grade 3 winner Deluxe. The list of Juddmonte stars throughout the years would be too vast to list here, so let’s touch on some of the biggest ones: European classic winner and 1986 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Dancing Brave; Arc winners Rainbow Quest (1985), Rail Link (2006), and Workforce (2010); European Classic winners Zafonic and the aforementioned Frankel and Workforce; 2003 Belmont Stakes winner and sire Empire Maker; Breeders’ Cup winners Ventura and Midday; and many, many other elite runners such as Eclipse Award winners Wandesta and Ryafan as well as recent U.S. champions Close Hatches and Flintshire. Juddmonte also bred and raced Group 1 winner Danehill, who led the sire list in England/Ireland, France, and Australia multiple times. According to Equineline, Danehill sired 354 stakes winners as one of the most influential stallions of the last 100 years.

Of note: Juddmonte Farms is the operation of Khalid Abdullah, the brother-in-law of King Salman of Saudi Arabia. He began racing in 1977 by purchasing four horses. After the 1980 Two Thousand Guineas win of Known Fact, Abdullah turned to breeding, and began his dynasty with his classic winner at stud. Juddmonte won the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in 1992, 2003 and 2016 and is a five-time winner as outstanding breeder. For many years, Juddmonte’s horses in the U.S. were trained by the late Bobby Frankel; the Hall of Fame conditioner is the namesake for Juddmonte’s greatest horse. Khalid Abdullah was born in Ta’if, Saudi Arabia in 1937.

2. Godolphin Racing

$4,698,572 in 2017 purse earnings

Sheikh Mohammed (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: United Arab Emirates Derby winner Thunder Snow; Grade 1 Coolmore Jenny Wiley Stakes winner Dickinson; Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes winner Watershed; Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes winner Zennor; Dubai Sheema Classic victor Jack Hobbs; Ribchester, a multiple Group 1 winner in England this year; and European Group 1 winners Harry Angel, Barney Roy, Sobetsu, and Cloth of Stars.

All-time stars: Godolphin won Breeders’ Cup races with Outstrip (Juvenile Turf, 2013), Vale of York (Juvenile 2009), Tempera (Juvenile Fillies, 2001), Fantastic Light (Turf, 2001), and Daylami (Turf, 1999). Pebbles and In the Wings won the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1985 and 1990 for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, and Sheikh Mohammed won the Juvenile in partnership with Allen Paulson with Arazi in 1991 and the Mile with Barathea in 1994 in partnership with Gerald Leigh. Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation won the Preakness and Travers Stakes in 2006 with champion 3-year-old male Bernardini and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2008 with Midshipman. Godolphin and/or Sheikh Mohammed raced Dubai World Cup winners Prince Bishop, African Story, Monterosso, Electrocutionist, Moon Ballad, Street Cry, Dubai Millennium, and Singspiel along with Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winners Carnegie, Marienbard, and Sakhee. Godolphin also raced French classic winner Shamardal, English classic winners Dawn Approach, and Refuse to Bend among a long list of stars. Visit the Godolphin Hall of Fame here. Recently, Godolphin’s three-time Grade 1 winner Frosted earned $3,972,800 in three seasons.

Of note: Godolphin is the Thoroughbred breeding and racing operation founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai. His passion for racing was sparked by a trip to England in May 1967 when he watched five classic races with his brother Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed won his first race in 1977 with the filly Hatta and founded Godolphin in 1994 as “an expression of his lifelong passion for horses and racing.” Godolphin has won virtually every major race in Europe through the years. Godolphin won Eclipse Awards as outstanding owner in 2009 and 2012, and Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley U.S. operation was named co-outstanding owner in 2006 (with Lael Stables) and outstanding breeder in 2012.

Sheikh Mohammed’s lone success in the U.S. Triple Crown came in the 2006 Preakness Stakes with Bernardini.

3. Calumet Farm

$4,153,733 in 2017 purse earnings

Calumet (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: Sunland Derby winner Hence, Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile Stakes winner Bal a Bali, Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRABets third-place finisher Patch, Rebel Stakes runner-up Sonneteer, Grade 3 Winner Wild Shot, Withers Stakes runner-up True Timber, and Longines Kentucky Oaks fourth-place finisher Vexatious.

All-time stars: Calumet is best-known for homebred Triple Crown winners Whirlaway (1941) and Citation (1948). Whirlaway was Horse of the Year in 1941 and 1942 and Citation was named Horse of the Year in 1948. Calumet also won the Kentucky Derby with homebreds Pensive (1944), Ponder (1949), Hill Gail (1952), Iron Liege (1957), Tim Tam (1958) and Forward Pass (1968). Pensive, Tim Tam and Forward Pass all also won the Preakness and ran second in the Belmont Stakes. Calumet bred and raced 1944 Horse of the Year Twilight Tear (the first filly honored with the award), 1947 Horse of the Year Armed, and champion Coaltown (all Hall of Famers) as well as 1990 Horse of the Year Criminal Type and Eclipse Award winners Before Dawn, Davona Dale, and Our Mims. Calumet is responsible for 11 horses in the Racing Hall of Fame, including Alydar, second in all three legs of the 1978 Triple Crown.

Of note: The Calumet name is one of the most famous names in the history of racing. Established by William Monroe Wright, the farm produced Triple Crown winners Citation and Whirlaway. In 1992, Henryk de Kwiatkowski bought the farm and it ran under his name, then under a name of trustees, before Brad Kelley took the operation over in 2012. In 2013, Kelley started using the Calumet name for his stable. At the peak of Calumet’s dominance, the farm won a record eight Kentucky Derbys from 1941 through 1968 (no other owner has won more than four). Nellie Flag was the first champion to don Calumet’s “devil” red and blue racing silks. In 1936, Calumet bought Bull Lea as a yearling at auction and he developed into a five-time leading sire responsible for three of Calumet’s Kentucky Derby winners. Calumet also bred 1991 Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold and won the Preakness a record eight times as an owner, most recently in 2013 with Oxbow.

4. Stronach Stables

$4,042,378 in 2017 purse earnings

Stronach (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Shaman Ghost, Queen’s Plate Stakes and Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser winner Holy Helena, Grade 3 Appleton Stakes runner-up Delta Prince.

All-time stars: Won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic with homebred Ghostzapper, who was named Horse of the Year and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. Touch Gold won the Belmont Stakes in 1997 and Red Bullet won the Preakness Stakes in 2000. In addition to Ghostzapper, Breeders’ Cup winners were Ginger Punch (Distaff, 2007), Macho Uno (Juvenile, 2000), Perfect Sting (Filly and Mare Turf, 2000), and Awesome Again (Classic, 1998). Also raced Grade 1 winners Milwaukee Brew, Golden Missile, Spun Sugar, and Citronnade. Owned in partnership 1980 Canadian Horse of the Year Glorious Song.

Of note: Born in Austria, Frank Stronach immigrated to Canada in 1954, and in 1957 he founded a tool and die company, which later became Magna International Inc., a company that grew into the world’s most diversified automotive supplier. In addition to being one of the most important owners-breeders in North America, Stronach, through The Stronach Group, owns Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park, and Pimlico Race Course, among other holdings. Stronach is a four-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding owner (2008, 2000, 1999, 1998) and an eight-time winner as outstanding breeder. He also has won the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding owner eight times and outstanding breeder 10 times. In 2017, he launched the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational, a $12-million race at Gulfstream Park in which 12 shareholders invested $1 million each to provide the purse for the richest race ever held and received a share of various revenues as well.

5. Klaravich Stables Inc. and William H. Lawrence

$3,590,905 in 2017 purse earnings

Seth Klarman (Klaravich) (Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

2017 standouts: Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing; Grade 2 winners Money Multiplier and Bricks and Mortar; Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes winner Practical Joke, most recently third in the Grade 1 betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes; and Grade 2 Swale Stakes winner Favorable Outcome.

All-time stars: The most important victory for the Klaravich Stables-William H. Lawrence partnership no doubt came this year when Cloud Computing won the Preakness Stakes. Other top runners include Grade 1 winners Annals of Time and Currency Swap, graded stakes winners Sum of the Parts, Summer Doldrums, Takeover Target, Central Banker, Paid Up Subscriber, Balance the Books, and Startup Nation, Grade 1-placed stakes winner Economic Model, and 2014 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Top Decile, among others. Klaravich also raced multiple graded stakes winner Read the Footnotes and graded stakes winners Outperformance and One and Twenty.

Of note: Longtime partners Seth Klarman (Klaravich Stables) and William H. Lawrence earned a win in the Preakness Stakes with their first starter in the race. Klarman, who grew up a few blocks from Pimlico, has been involved in ownership for about 25 years. Klarman is president of successful hedge fund The Baupost Group, while Lawrence is CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Meridian Capital Partners. Lawrence and Klarman frequently pick finance-related names for their horses and have been racing horses in partnership since 2006.

6. Reddam Racing

$3,421,125 in 2017 purse earnings

Reddam (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Irap, Grade 2-placed stakes winner Mopotism, Grade 3-placed stakes winner B Squared, stakes winner Ann Arbor Eddie, and stakes-placed Semper Fortis.

All-time stars: In 2012, Reddam Racing swept the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with I’ll Have Another, who missed a shot at a Triple Crown when he was injured leading up to the Belmont Stakes. Three years later, Reddam Racing won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Nyquist, who in 2016 went on to become only the second Juvenile winner (joining Street Sense) to also win the run for the roses. Reddam also won Breeders' Cup races with Wilko in 2004 (Juvenile, in partnership) and Red Rocks in 2007 (Turf). Other standouts include Grade 1 winners Square Eddie, Elloluv, Sharp Lisa (in partnership), Cash Included, Swept Overboard, Mistical Plan, Bond Holder, Gomo, and Ralis. The overwhelming majority of Reddam's horses, including I'll Have Another, Nyquist, and Irap, are trained by Doug O'Neill.

Of note: J. Paul Reddam, founder of Reddam Racing, earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California and worked as a professor at California State University, Los Angeles. He founded in 1995 Ditech.com, a mortgage loan company that he sold to General Motors in 1999. Reddam is the president of CashCall, a finance lending company. Introduced to horse racing by a friend when he was in high school in Windsor, Ont., Reddam has been a fan ever since. He entered Thoroughbred ownership in 1998 by claiming Ocean Warrior.

7. Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm

$2,600,700 in 2017 purse earnings

Ron Winchell with Untapable (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: Multiple Grade 1 winner Gun Runner.

All-time stars: Gun Runner is the first racehorse co-owned by the partnership of Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, although both have rich histories in the Thoroughbred industry. Winchell Thoroughbreds raced Grade 1 winner Tapit, who has been the leading U.S. sire in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and many of the operation’s top runners have been offspring of Tapit. Winchell also raced 2005 Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly; Untapable (by Tapit), winner of the 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff en route to champion 3-year-old filly honors; 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar (by Tapit); and Grade 2 winners Tapiture (by Tapit), Pyro, and Zanjero, among others. While Three Chimneys Farm is primarily a breeding operation that features an elite stallion roster, it has enjoyed recent success on the racetrack with Grade 1 winner Carina Mia and graded stakes winners Rainha Da Bateria (through mid-2016), Made You Look, and Dubai Sky (the latter two in partnership). The Kentucky Derby media guide lists former Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay as a part-owner of Chief’s Crown, the 1984 champion 2-year-old male and a multiple Grade 1 winner at 2 and 3. Clay also raced 1987 champion older female Hidden Lake.

Of note: Winchell Thoroughbreds is the racing operation founded by Verne Winchell. It is now run by his wife, Joan, and son, Ron. Verne Winchell founded the doughnut company Winchell’s in 1948 and one of his first top runners was the appropriately named Donut King. Verne Winchell died at age 87 in 2002. Three Chimneys Farm is one of the leading Thoroughbred breeding operations in Central Kentucky. The Midway, Ky. farm was founded by Robert and Blythe Clay more than 40 years ago and oversaw prominent stallions such as Seattle Slew, Dynaformer, and Rahy. The Borges Torrealba family in November 2013 acquired a controlling interest in Three Chimneys. Gonçalo Borges Torrealba serves as its chairman. Three Chimneys currently stands six stallions, including champion Will Take Charge and 2013 Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice. Three Chimneys bought ownership stakes in both of these horses while they were still racing.

8. Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey

$2,426,665 in 2017 purse earnings

Sarah and Ken Ramsey (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Stakes winner Keystoneforvictory, Grade 3 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap winner Granny’s Kitten, Grade 1-placed Oscar Nominated, Grade 2-placed stakes winner Kitten’s Roar, Grade 3-placed stakes winner Kitten’s Cat, multiple stakes winner Partly Mocha, and multiple graded-stakes-placed winner Gorgeous Kitten.

All-time stars: The racehorse who launched Ken and Sarah Ramsey into national Thoroughbred racing prominence was Kitten’s Joy, the 2004 champion turf male who developed into a top sire for the couple. Many of the Ramseys’ best horses over the years have been sons and daughters of Kitten’s Joy. In 2015, The Ramseys won the Dubai World Cup with Roses in May and finished third in the Belmont Stakes with Nolan’s Cat. From there, the Ramseys soared. The couple won Breeders’ Cup races with Furthest Land (2009, Dirt Mile), Stephanie’s Kitten (2011, Juvenile Fillies Turf; 2015, Filly and Mare Turf) and Bobby’s Kitten (2014, Turf Sprint), the latter two by Kitten’s Joy. The Ramseys raced champion steeplechaser Slip Away and Grade 1 winners Big Blue Kitten, Precious Kitten, Real Solution, Nothing to Lose, Kitten’s Dumplings, We Miss Artie, and Admiral Kitten. Million-dollar earners include International Star, Vicar’s in Trouble, Badge of Silver, and Charming Kitten.

Of note: The Ramseys won Eclipse Awards as outstanding owner in 2004, 2011, 2013, and 2014 and ranked first by purse earnings in 2013, 2014, and 2016. The couple also was the Eclipse Award winner as outstanding breeder in 2013 and 2014. The Ramseys have won leading owner titles at Keeneland, Saratoga Race Course, Gulfstream Park, Ellis Park, Turfway Park, and hold the record at Churchill Downs with most owner titles won in the track’s history with 28. A University of Kentucky graduate, Ken Ramsey was a trucking industry executive before shifting to real estate in the 1970s and then to cellular telephone network franchising in the 1980s. He sold his cellular business, valued at $39 million, in 1994 and bought historic Almahurst Farm near Lexington, renaming it Ramsey Farm.

9. Danny R. Caldwell

$2,238,828 in 2017 purse earnings

Caldwell (Coady Photography)

2017 standouts: Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap runner-up and stakes winner Domain’s Rap and multiple stakes winners Dreamin and Itsallaboutyou.

All-time stars: Domain’s Rap is the all-time leading earner for Caldwell with $568,881. He won the Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park in January and has placed in three graded stakes. Other stakes winners include Ribbon of Darkness, Fifth Date, Rallydownthealley, Dancin’ Lil, D R C’s Pretty Sky, Herecomesthemannow, and Big Sugarush as well as the aforementioned Dreamin and Itsallaboutyou.

Of note: Danny Caldwell was the leading owner at Oaklawn Park in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Poteau, Okla., native also led the owner standings at Remington Park in seven of the last eight years and has won multiple leading owner titles at Prairie Meadows as well.

He grew up on a farm in his home state, graduated from Northeastern State University, and spent more than a decade coaching high school football, basketball, and softball.  He subsequently went into the natural stone business with his brother, which gave him the chance to seriously pursue his passion for racing horses. Caldwell claimed a handful of horses at Churchill Downs in 2007 and the operation became a full-time venture about five years ago.

Domain's Rap (Eclipse Sportswire)

10. Live Oak Plantation

$2,108,958 in 2017 purse earnings

Weber, right, with Holding Gold in 2017. (Eclipse Sportswire)

2017 standouts: Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap winner World Approval, graded stakes winners Awesome Slew, Holding Gold, and Souper Tapit, and Grade 3 Vigil Stakes runner-up We Deer You.

All-time stars: Won the 2006 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile with Miesque’s Approval, who was named that year’s champion turf male. Grade 1 winner Brilliant Speed finished third in the 2011 Belmont Stakes and third in that year’s Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf for Live Oak. Graded stakes winner Za Approval, a career earner of $1,416,645, finished second in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Mile to eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan. Live Oak’s best finish in the Triple Crown races was a runner-up by Laser Light in the 1982 Kentucky Derby. Other Live Oak Grade 1 winners include To Honor and Serve, My Typhoon, High Fly, In the Gold, Victory to Victory, and Zo Impressive. Live Oak also raced Revved Up, a multiple graded stakes winner who earned $1,589,542.

Of note: Philadelphia native Charlotte C. Weber is the owner of Live Oak Plantation. She is the granddaughter of Campbell Soup founder John T. Dorrance and she serves as a board trustee of Campbell Soup Co. She also is a member of the board of trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and provided funding for the Met Museum’s Charlotte C. Weber Galleries for the Arts of Ancient China. Weber is a member of The Jockey Club and a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 2005, Ms. Weber was honored with the Penny Chenery Most Distinguished Woman in Racing Award.

For information on becoming a Thoroughbred owner, check out OwnerView.com

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