New York Yankees owner and prominent horseman George Steinbrenner passed away today at age 80 due to a major heart attack. The Paulick Report will be collecting statements from leaders in the Thoroughbred industry throughout the day and gathering them here.
NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward:
“We were extremely saddened to learn of Mr. Steinbrenner's passing,” said NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward. “He had great enthusiasm for thoroughbred racing, and contributed his time and energy to the industry, both as an owner and as a NYRA Board Member. His Kinsman Stable left an indelible mark on New York racing, including Bellamy Road's remarkable 17 ∏ -length victory in the 2005 Wood Memorial, and his sensational filly Dream Supreme's four New York graded wins. His passion for the sport will be missed.”
New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini:
“George Steinbrenner's love for Thoroughbred horse racing and his intense interest in winning was evident to all sports fans. During his nearly 40 years of involvement with racing, he wanted his equine athletes to get to the finish line first as much as he wanted his beloved Yankees to crown each season with another World Series trophy. He was a frequent visitor to the Saratoga Race Course during the summer — even when his ballplayers were heading into the home stretch of competition for the American League pennant. He will be greatly missed by all of us involved with the Sport of Kings and lovers of baseball. His entire family has my deepest condolences, sympathy and gratitude for his contributions to sports.”
Robert Clay, owner of Three Chimneys Farm:
“I considered George a real friend, a friendship that started with my Dad. Blythe and are saddened by his passing and will always remember him fondly. He was such a character. I will never forget the pleasure of spending time with him driving around the farm, listening to his views on things, and realizing how dear a man he really was, given all of the publicity that surrounded him to the contrary.
“We raised several good horses for him over the years, Majestic Warrior among them. Not only will he be missed by the racing industry, he will be missed by everyone that loved sport of any kind. Our thoughts are with Jessica, Hank, and the rest of the family.”
Executive Vice President of FTBOA Richard Hancock:
“He was one of the most influential people I've ever met and had the pleasure of knowing for the past 22 years. I know it is a tough time for the family right now. We want them to know how much we share their loss. He left a great legacy in Florida's Thoroughbred industry and was responsible for many of the association's accomplishments.”
Alex Waldrop, President and CEO, National Thoroughbred Racing Association:
“The Thoroughbred racing world joins the rest of the sporting community in mourning the death of George Steinbrenner. He was a devoted owner and breeder and philanthropist for more than 40 years, and his Kinsman Farm near Ocala, Fla., produced numerous stakes winners. His many contributions to our sport are greatly appreciated, and he will be sorely missed.
Bloodstock agent and former trainer John Fulton:
“I started working for George in 1973, first at his farm and then he gave me my first horses when I went to the track and began training. We won the 1977 Debutante by seven lengths at Churchill Downs on Derby Day the year we ran Steve's Friend in the Kentucky Derby. He was tough and demanding, but as long as you gave 100 percent he'd back you all the way. He was competitive and so was I. He wouldn't put up with people who had talent and gave less than 100 percent. That's the way he was in life.
“When I moved from the East Coast to California, he was the only one of my clients who sent me horses. I spent 16 years working for him until I stopped training.”
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