Winning owners add Derby to impressive family trophy case

jpatton1@herald-leader.comMay 4, 2013 

LOUISVILLE — They are two of the most famous names in Thoroughbred racing, but before Saturday, neither had won the most famous race in their sport.

With Orb's Derby win, Stuart Janney III and Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, vice chairman and chairman of The Jockey Club, respectively, added Derby luster to a family trophy case already rich with history.

The two men are cousins and share a family fortune that dates to great-grandfather Henry Phipps, a childhood friend and business partner of Andrew Carnegie.

Both are on the board of the New York Racing Association and Bessemer Trust. Phipps also sits on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association; Janney is on the board of Keeneland.

The family roots in racing run deep: Phipps' grandmother, Gladys Mills Phipps, owned Bold Ruler, sire of Triple Crown winner Secretariat. The family famously missed out on Secretariat by a coin toss.

Phipps' father, Ogden Phipps, owned Buckpasser, Easy Goer and Personal Ensign. Janney's parents owned the beloved but tragically doomed filly Ruffian. Both men have had their share of champions.

But with Orb, a horse they bred and race together, they usher in a new chapter of greatness, much of it intertwined with the Hancock family and Claiborne Farm, where Orb was born.

"This horse's bloodline goes back to our grandmother," Janney said after the race. "I just couldn't be more delighted that we're doing this together."

They might have lost this chance the way they lost a previous shot at the Derby trophy.

"I didn't like the mare and tried to persuade my cousin to sell her. We've done that before with Super Saver," Phipps said of Lady Liberty, Orb's mother.

Phipps and Janney sold Supercharger, the mother of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver while she was pregnant.

This time, Janney, with the help of Claiborne Farm's Seth Hancock, overruled him, Phipps said. "He outsmarted me."

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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