The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets is coming up on June 5 when some of the top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds on Earth will converge on Belmont Park for the “Test of the Champion.” Get to know the owners of these elite racehorses below!
Owners: John and Diane Fradkin
About: John and Diane Fradkin enjoyed success with their very first starter in a Triple Crown race when their homebred colt Rombauer won the Preakness Stakes on May 15. The Fradkins operate a small commercial breeding operation and usually sell their foals, but they kept Rombauer and the colt gradually developed into one of the best racehorses in his age group over the next several months.
Rombauer earned an automatic berth to the Preakness when he won the El Camino Real Derby, and the Fradkins decided to skip the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and point to the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
John Fradkin spent several years as a professional horseplayer before starting his breeding business with wife Diane.
About: Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, also known as Sheikh Mohammed, is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Emir of Dubai. A keen equestrian, he is the founder of the Maktoum family-owned Godolphin racing stable and its Thoroughbred breeding operation with operations in six countries. In 2012, he rode the horse Madji Du Pont 160 km to take the FEI World Endurance Championship.
Horse: Hot Rod Charlie
About: Roadrunner Racing is a partnership headed by Greg Helm, a former advertising executive and current Vice President of Desert Classic Charities. Patrick O’Neill is a 26-year-old Brown graduate and vice president for sales and strategic partnerships at Founder Sport Group. He, along with Brown frat brothers and football teammates Eric Armagost, Dan Giovaccini, Reiley Higgins, and Alex Quoyeser, comprise Boat Racing.
William Strauss was co-founder and CEO of Proflowers, an online floral boutique and currently sits on the board of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. A resident of Del Mar, Calif., Strauss has found the winner’s circle as an owner with horses including The Pamplemousse, Turbulent Descent, and Mizdirection.
Gainesway is a prominent Thoroughbred stud farm in Kentucky. Founded by the late John Gaines, who conceived of and led the formation of the Breeders’ Cup, it was purchased in 1989 by South African businessman Graham Beck, who died in 2010. The farm is now run by his son Antony Beck and currently stands leading North American sire Tapit.
Owner: Calumet Farm
About: The Calumet name is one of the most famous names in the history of racing. Established by William Monroe Wright, the farm produced eight Kentucky Derby winners and two Triple Crown winners. In 1992, Henryk de Kwiatkowski bought the farm where 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. He had previously operated under the name Bluegrass Hall.
Kelley leases the farm from Calumet Investment Trust, which purchased the property in 2012 for an estimated $36-$40 million. Kelley also owns Hurricane Hall and Bluegrass Hall, the latter formerly Nelson Bunker Hunt’s Bluegrass Farm. One of the ten largest landowners in the U.S. with more than 1.2 million acres, Kelley is an active wildlife conservationist.
Horse: Known Agenda
Owner: St. Elias Stable
About: St. Elias Stable is the racing operation of Vincent Viola, owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team, founder and executive chairman of the electronic trading firm Virtu Financial, and former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Viola graduated from West Point Academy and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Horse: Rock Your World
Owners: Hronis Racing and Talla Racing
About: Hronis Racing is the racing operation of brothers Kosta and Pete Hronis, whose Hronis Inc. is a family farm in California's San Joaquin Valley. THe Hronis brothers first got into racehorse ownership in 2010 and over the next decade found success with horses including 2018 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Accelerate. Michael Talla is a co-founder of Sports Club L.A. and fell in love with horses while riding bucking broncos growing up in Arizona.
About: Repole Stable is owned by Mike Repole, a self-made New York billionaire who founded VitaminWater, Smartwater, Bodyarmor, and Pirate’s Booty. Repole has owned several top racehorses in his tenure in the Thoroughbred industry, including Stay Thirsty, Notacatbutallama, Stopchargingmaria, and Uncle Mo.
See the above entry on Known Agenda for information about Vincent Viola's St. Elias Stable. Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable campaigned 2019 Longines Breeders' Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso.
The Magnier family of Coolmore Stud fame was well known in the south of Ireland for standing high-quality jumping stallions long before Coolmore founder John Magnier was born. Operating since the 1850s, the Magnier name has been associated with a whole sequence of top-class steeplechasing stallions, including Deep Run, who was champion jumping sire for the 14th successive year in 1993. Susan Magnier is the daughter of famed Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien, one of the legends of the turf who won 42 classic races in Europe during his career. Michael Tabor was the owner and chairman of the Prince Arthur betting shops in Great Britain. He sold the 114 shops on Sept. 29, 1995, to Coral, the country's third-largest operator of betting shops. Tabor first found success in North American racing with 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch. Englishman Derrick Smith is also a former bookmaker and trading director for Ladbrokes. Smith is the part-owner of the Sandy Lane Hotel, a five-diamond luxury getaway in Barbados.
Horse: Brooklyn Strong
Owner: Mark Schwartz
About: Mark Schwartz is a Brooklyn native who attended Brooklyn College before becoming an insurance executive. Brooklyn Strong, whom Schwartz bought for just $5,000, is the New Yorker’s very first racehorse.
Horse: France Go de Ina
Owner: Yuji Inaida
About: Yuji Inaida is the son of the late owner Yasushi Inaida who used to have the colors Of France Go De Ina before his passing in 2018. His son then took over both his horses and his real estate company, carrying on his father’s legacy. (Information courtesy of Kate Hunter)