Kentucky Derby

Who owns every 2019 Kentucky Derby horse and how they got so rich

Kenny Troutt: From the projects to the Kentucky Derby and beyond

Kenny Troutt's current horse, Justify, won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. If Justify wins the Belmont on Saturday, the poor kid from the Mount Vernon projects will own a Triple Crown winner. (Additional footage from Lexington Herald-Leader)
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Kenny Troutt's current horse, Justify, won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. If Justify wins the Belmont on Saturday, the poor kid from the Mount Vernon projects will own a Triple Crown winner. (Additional footage from Lexington Herald-Leader)

Old money, new money, royalty and fame — the Kentucky Derby brings together a vast array of horse-loving millionaires and billionaires who are devoted to breeding and racing champion Thoroughbreds.

This year’s field includes the self-made and the heirs who’ve made their own marks in business and the sport of kings.

Here’s a rundown of each of this year’s Derby horse owners and how they made the money that fuels their racing passion.

Tacitus

Owner: Juddmonte Farms

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $253,000

Best performance: Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2), win

About Juddmonte Farms: Owned by Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, younger half-brother to Saudi King Abdulaziz. He has a number of business interests outside of racing. Won Eclipse Award for top owner in 1992 and 2003 and top breeder in 1995, 2001-03 and 2009. Last year, owned Hofburg, who finished seventh in the Derby. Juddmonte’s Arrogate won in succession the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes and the Dubai World Cup helping him surpass $17 million in prize money.

Omaha Beach

Owner: Fox Hill Farms

Auction price: $625,000

Earnings to date: $521,800

Best performance: Rebel Stakes (Grade 2), win

About Fox Hill Farms: Rick Porter, a native of Wilmington, Del., inherited Porter Automotive Group, started by his grandfather in 1925. Porter bought his first horse in 1994 and quickly achieved success. Notable for 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and 2008 Kentucky Derby runner-up Eight Belles.

Note: Omaha Beach trainer Richard Mandella announced Wednesday evening that his horse will be scratched from the Kentucky Derby because of a respiratory problem.

Vekoma

Owner: R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables

Auction price: $135,000

Earnings to date: $788,850

Best performance: Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade 2), win

About R.A. Hill Stable: Raymond “Randy” Hill III of Franklin Lakes, N.J., co-founded PCS Research Services, a Wall Street research firm, in 1982. He later co-founded Wall Street’s HRC Partners in 2003, managing hedge funds and mutual funds. He earned an undergraduate degree from Rutgers and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Also part owner of Tax.

About Gatsas Stables: Michael and Ted Gatsas of Manchester, N.H., co-founded Staffing Network, a professional employer organization, in 1988 which was sold and later merged with ADP. Michael Gatsas went on to form a similar company, Trivantus, in 2003, while his brother embarked on a long political career as a Republican. He most recently was elected to the Executive Council of New Hampshire..

Plus Que Parfait

Owner: Imperial Racing

Auction price: Last sold for $135,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Originally purchased for $24,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

Earnings to date: $1,590,400

Best performance: UAE Derby, win

About Imperial Racing: An ownership partnership fronted by Oracle Bloodstock owner Conor Foley, who told the Bloodhorse after their UAE Derby win that the four partners “live in different parts of the world, but spend some of their time in Dubai.” Foley grew up in Lexington around the Thoroughbred industry and gained experience analyzing data for Equibase and serving as stakes coordinator for the Breeders’ Cup after graduating from the University of Kentucky. He earned a place in the Darley Flying Start program, a two-year international training program for future Thoroughbred industry leaders. From there he established Oracle Bloodstock, becoming an expert adviser in the industry..

Roadster

Owner: Speedway Stable

Auction price: $525,000 at 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale

Earnings to date: $706,200

Best performance: Santa Anita Derby (Grade 1), win

About Speedway Stable: Owned by Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner. Part of the family that established the multifaceted contractor Fluor Corporation in California in 1912, Peter Fluor sits on the firm’s board of directors, but he also staked his own path in the Texas oil industry, joining Texas Crude Energy in 1972 and becoming its president and CEO from 1980 to 2001. His company title changed to chairman and CEO since. The son of a successful geologist from Midland, Texas, K.C. Weiner eschewed law school to work with his father and one of his partners, Peter Fluor. Fluor and Weiner helped Texas Crude explore the Eagle Ford Shale discovery in the late 2000s. That success help Weiner and Fluor also revive another interest their fathers shared: horse racing..

By My Standards

Owner: Allied Racing Stable

Auction price: $150,000 at the 2018 Ocala Breeders’ April Sale

Earnings to date: $653,710

Best performance: Louisiana Derby (Grade 2), win

About Allied Racing Stable: A Western Kentucky native who lives in Madisonville, Chester Thomas grew up the son of an accountant/insurance company owner. While he has said he quit college to become a jockey’s agent because of his love of the track, the businessman and entrepreneur eventually became involved in the coal industry. His LinkedIn profile lists him as the owner of Green River Colleries, and an online article from 2005 in CoalAge.com described him as the “principal owner of various coal-related companies including Allied Resources, Inc.”

Game Winner and Maximum Security

Owners: Gary and Mary West

Game Winner auction price: $110,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale

Maximum Security auction price: Never sold at auction

Game Winner earnings to date: $1,646,000

Maximum Security earnings to date: $649,400

Game Winner best performance: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade 1), win

Maximum Security best performance: Florida Derby (Grade 1), win

About Gary and Mary West: The Wests are telemarketing pioneers, turning a start-up in their garage in 1978 into a multi-million dollar endeavor. They sold their initial company and then bought it back under another firm founded in 1986 as West Corp. According to Forbes, they sold most of their stake in West Corp. after it went public for $1.6 billion. They now run West Health and the Gary and Mary West Foundation.



Code of Honor

Owner: William S. Farish

Auction price: $70,000 at 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale

Earnings to date: $384,820

Best performance: Fountain of Youth Stakes (Grade 2), win

About William S. Farish: The grandson of Williams Stamps Farish II, who was president of Standard Oil from 1937 to 1942, William S. Farish began his own business career as a stockbroker in Houston before founding a bank holding company and Capital National Bank in Houston. He purchased what would become Lane’s End Farm in 1979 and became a leading breeder of Thoroughbred horses. Farish served as ambassador to Great Britain under President George W. Bush from 2001-04..

Haikal

Owner: Shadwell Stable

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $298,900

Best performance: Gotham Stakes (Grade 3), win

About Shadwell Stable: Owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum is Dubai’s deputy ruler and a member of the ruling Maktoum family. He is also minister of finance for the United Arab Emirates.

Note: Haikal was scratched from Saturday’s race on Friday morning after the discovery of a hoof abscess.

Improbable

Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International Ltd. and Starlight Racing

Auction Price: Last sold for $200,000 at 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale

Earnings to date: $619,520

Best performance: Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity (Grace 1), win

About WinStar Farm: Owned by Kenny Troutt, founder of Excel Communications, a Texas-based long-distance phone company that merged with Teleglobe in a $3.5 billion deal in 1998.

About China Horse Club: Ownership group founded by Malaysia-born Fujian native Teo Ah Khing, a Harvard-educated acclaimed architect, entrepreneur and self-made billionaire. Teo Ah Khing is chairman of five companies, including the club, according to the club’s website. It also lists him as a senior adviser to the current or former rulers of Malaysia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. Involved in racing since 2013.

About Starlight Racing: Founded by Jack and Laurie Wolf. Jack Wolf worked as a professor before founding a hedge-fund company, Columbus Partners in Atlanta. He and his wife founded Starlight with the purchase of six horses in 2000, according to their company bio. One of those horses was multiple Grade I winner Harlan’s Holiday who won the 2002 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and accumulated more than $3.6 million in earnings. Last year, Starlight owned part of Audible and Derby and Triple Crown winner Justify. Also a full owner of Cutting Humor

War of Will

Owner: Gary Barber

Auction price: Last sold for $298,550 at the 2018 Arqana May 2-year-old Breeze Up Sale

Earnings to date: $501,569

Best performance: Risen Star Stakes (Grade 2), win

About Gary Barber: Born in South Africa, Barber came to America as an accountant for Price Waterhouse. Eventually becoming an American citizen, Barber became involved in the film industry as a producer and co-founded Spyglass Entertainment, makers of films that included 2010’s “The Tourist.” He has been listed as the executive producer on films including “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Bruce Almighty,” and this year’s “Glass.” He was CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 2010 to 2018. Also owns part of Gray Magician..

Long Range Toddy

Owner: Willis Horton Racing

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $851,125

Best performance: Rebel Stakes (Grade 2), win

About Willis Horton Racing: Willis Horton helped develop the family business, D.R. Custom Homes, into the largest single-family home builder in the nation. The company went public in 1992, allowing Horton to retire and focus on his stable. Last year, he was part owner of Combatant, who finished 18th.

Tax

Owner: R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $326,300

Best performance: Withers Stakes (Grade 3), win; Wood Memorial (Grade 2), second

About R.A. Hill Stable: See Vekoma.

About Reeves Thoroughbred Racing: Formed in 2009 by Dean and Patti Reeves who had the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. Dean Reeves is chairman of Reeves Young, a commercial contracting company established by his father, Bill Reeves, who got the company started in 1952 with a single backhoe. Patti Reeves owns Reeves Media, an outdoor advertising consulting business, and Island Displays, a billboard company.

About Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable: Hugh Lynch is credited as one of Tax’s original owners along with Corms by America’s Best Racing, but little can be confirmed about his business background. Lucas Stritsman of Troy N.Y., named his stable in memory of a friend Matt “Corms” Canfield, who regularly accompanied him to the track until his accidental death in 2011 at the age of 35. Stritsman and his brother own Fire Hearth and Patio in Colonie, N.Y., a family business started by their father more than four decades ago.

Cutting Humor

Owner: Starlight Racing

Auction price: Last sold for $400,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale

Earnings to date: $516,967

Best performance: Sunland Derby (Grade 3), win

About Starlight Racing: See Improbable.

Win Win Win

Owner: Live Oak Plantation

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $367,300

Best performance: Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade 2), second

About Live Oak Plantation: Owned by Campbell Soup Co. heiress Charlotte C. Weber, granddaughter of founder John T. Dorrance, who invented a condensed soup formula that spawned a food giant. Weber sat on the company board from 1990 to 2014. Her net worth listed by Forbes.com is $1.5 billion.

Country House

Owner: Mrs. J.V. Shields Jr., E.J.M. McFadden Jr. and LNJ Foxwoods.

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $260,175

Best performance: Arkansas Derby (Grade 1), third

About Mrs. J.V Shields Jr.: Maury Shields is the widow of Joseph V. Shields Jr., who died last year at the age of 80. She worked in special client services at Sotheby’s and is the daughter of Flowers Foods founder William Howard Flowers Jr. (Wonder Bread, Sunbeam, Tastykake, etc.). Involved in horse racing for more than three decades, Shields and his brother founded Shields and Co., a Wall Street investment firm, in 1982 after decades on Wall Street himself. The company they built is now part of Wellington Shields.

About E.J.M McFadden Jr.: Guinness McFadden, a nephew of Mrs. Shields, grew up on a family farm in Northern California and after college began working at Three Chimneys Farm in Lexington where he eventually became director of sales before becoming co-owner of Blackwood Stables.

About LNJ Foxwoods: LNJ stands for parents Larry and Nanci and daughter Jaime Roth. Larry Roth is a co-founder of Marchon Eyewear, which was purchased by VSP in 2008 for $735 million with Roth retaining an executive position to help lead the company. Jaime Roth runs the family stable, established in 2012.

Gray Magician

Owner: Wachtel Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber

Auction price: Sold for $18,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sale

Earnings to date: $584,140

Best performance: UAE Derby, second

About Wachtel Stable: Adam Wachtel is the son of stable founder Ed Wachtel, who also co-founded the Members Only apparel line, which, perhaps, became most notable for its Members Only jackets in the 1980s.

About Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners: Eclipse founder Aron Wellman grew up on the backside at Del Mar working for trainers. He played college soccer for the University of California Santa Barbara and later graduated from Southwestern University Law School. His law practice allowed him to try his hand at racing partnerships where he found success, eventually becoming vice president of Team Valor before striking out on his own as founder and president of Eclipse.

About Gary Barber: See War of Will.

Spinoff

Owner: Wertheimer et Frere

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $260,000

Best performance: Louisiana Derby (Grade 2), second

About Wertheimer et Frere: Alain and Gerard Wertheimer are the grandsons of Chanel co-founder Pierre Wertheimer who established the French fashion giant with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1909. The brothers own the company with Alain Wertheimer as board chairman and Gerard Wertheimer as the head of its watch division..

Master Fencer

Owner: Katsumi and Yasuyo Yoshizawa

Auction price: Never sold at auction

Earnings to date: $234,392

Best performance: Fukuryu Stakes (Japan), second

About Katsumi and Yasuyo Yoshizawa: Yoshizawa Stable, a private training facility with three locations in Japan, has had six-time Grade I winner Gold Ship, 2014 Longines World Best Racehorse and three-time Grade I-winning Just a Way and prominent Japanese sire Tanino Gimlet. The Yoshizawas purchased Master Fencer’s dam, Sexy Zamurai, for $110,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale..

145th Kentucky Derby

When: 6:50 p.m. Saturday

Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville

TV: NBC

Purse: $3 million (Grade 1)

Distance: 1 1/4 miles (dirt)

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Brian Simms bsimms@herald-leader.com

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