The “working relationship” between Dogwood Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners will now become an official merger effective July 1, according to W. Cothran (Cot) Campbell, Dogwood president and Aron Wellman, Eclipse president.
All new yearling, two-year-old and older-horse purchases will be made and managed by Eclipse in the name of Eclipse/Dogwood, and horses will race in that name, with racing colors alternating.
Existing Dogwood partnerships will continue to be managed by Cot Campbell.
“The loose connection we have had with Aron Wellman and Eclipse is one that has worn well. What was described earlier as ‘going steady' is now going to be a marriage,” Campbell said. “As I cracked after winning the Belmont Stakes with Palace Malice, ‘This great win is not likely to accelerate my retirement', and it won't. I will enjoy continuing to manage Dogwood existing partnerships, but our client roster will now be offered participation in the new horses formed and managed by Aron Wellman and Eclipse/Dogwood.”
Jack Sadler, Dogwood Vice President of 37 years of service, will now become Vice President of Operations for Eclipse but will continue partnership servicing duties with Dogwood. Bill Victor, Dogwood Treasurer for 22 years, will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer for Eclipse, but will maintain responsibility for existing Dogwood partnerships. Both will remain in the current historic Dogwood Office in Aiken, South Carolina. However, Eclipse also has offices in Del Mar, California and Springboro, Ohio.
The majority of the new young horses will be trained in Aiken at the Dogwood training barns, run by Brad Stauffer and Ron Stevens.
“I will look in on all aspects of the Eclipse/ Dogwood operation –when asked to,” Campbell explained. “But the effectiveness of Aron Wellman and Eclipse has been established dramatically. Since he and co-founder Lee Midkiff launched their endeavor in the fall of 2011, they have won 13 stakes races (the Grade 1 Vanity with Byrama on June l5) with eight different horses, and right now the outfit is ranked among America's top five in Graded Stakes wins.”
Wellman offered, “Cot Campbell, his brand, staff and family are pure class and to be provided the opportunity to live up to the high standard he has set is a responsibility I do not take lightly. We have come to know many of the Dogwood faithful and we're keen to welcome them into the Eclipse family. It is an honor to be handpicked by Cot to carry on his esteemed legacy. This is the ultimate endorsement.”
Cot Campbell is credited with the origin and popularization of the group ownership concept of owning racehorses. Since 1971, Dogwood has campaigned 77 stakes winners, made seven trips to the Kentucky Derby with eight horses, owned both Preakness and Belmont Stakes winners (Summer Squall and Palace Malice), had six millionaires, won two Eclipse Awards and has won a Breeders' Cup race. Campbell, a member of The Jockey Club, was recently honored in 2012 with the industry-sponsored Eclipse Award of Merit for lifetime achievement.
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