Eclipse Award of Merit is Lifetime Achievement in Service to Thoroughbred Industry
The 47th annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony is Thursday, January 25 in the Sport of Kings theatre at Gulfstream Park. And the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters (NTWAB) announced today that Frank Stronach will receive the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in service to the Thoroughbred industry.
Stronach has been an innovator in the horse racing industry for decades, and some of his bold moves included the creation of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, which made its debut in January, 2017 and will run for the second time with a record $16 million purse on January 27, 2018 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida.
Over the past 20 years, Mr. Stronach and the Stronach Group have become Thoroughbred racing’s largest racetrack operator. Frank Stronach has taken those business acquisitions and his prowess as an owner and breeder to become the most decorated individual in Eclipse Awards history, winning 12 championship trophies. He also has won more than 20 Sovereign Awards in Canada.
“I am flattered and touched to be recognized with the prestigious Eclipse Award of Merit,” said Stronach. “Horses and racing have been my passion, my labor of love, since I was a boy. It’s been an honor to be part of this great sport and help in creating world-class races, facilities and training centers with our friends, partners and co-workers. What’s most important, however, has been working and being around the incredible horses. I want to share this award with all of those who have contributed to all our success.”
Stronach was enjoying success as an owner and breeder, and in 1998 he campaigned his 4-year-old Awesome Again into a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. Stronach then saw an opportunity to expand his passion for the Thoroughbred into racetrack property acquisition, where few other entrepreneurs were willing to venture. Stronach began to acquire racetracks under the Magna Entertainment brand on a grand scale. He bought Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles late in 1998. The purchase of historic Santa Anita, nicknamed The Great Race Place, was followed by the acquisition Golden Gate Fields in the Bay Area and Gulfstream Park in South Florida, which was further developed into a racetrack, casino and entertainment center
“You’ve got to be innovative,” Stronach said a few years ago. “If you want to be No. 1 you need to make a big investment to attract people. You know, a turtle only makes progress if he sticks his neck out a little.”
The purchase of the Maryland Jockey Club tracks of Pimlico, home of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, Lone Star Park near Dallas in 2002 and Laurel Race Course followed. The Stronach Group has since made state-of-the-art renovations at Laurel Park on both the frontside and backstretch of the facility.
In 2006, Stronach acquired AmTote, the largest totalizator company in North America.
“Frank Stronach has had an undeniable impact on the Thoroughbred industry, accentuated by his tremendous commitment to excellence in so many facets of our sport,” said Alex Waldrop, NTRA President and CEO. “Through his indomitable will, spirt and bold business ventures, Frank has built a tower of tremendous accomplishments with The Stronach Group, Adena Springs and now the world’s richest horse race, the Pegasus World Cup. We salute him as a most deserving Award of Merit recipient.”