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Loss of great owners in racing world


February 22, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

The national horse racing scene has seen the loss of several great owners in the past week. The popular Bob Lewis, who with his wife Beverly campaigned the likes of Silver Charm, Charismatic, Serena’s Song, and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Folklore, died on February 17 of heart failure at his home.
The Lewis’s had six Eclipse Award winning horses and in 1997 were awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit for their own contributions to horse racing.

Seventy-nine-year-old Roy Chapman, Jr. also died February 17. Chapman and his wife, Patricia, bred and raced Smarty Jones, the 2004 Champion Three-year-old Male. Smarty won the hearts of the racing public when he captured the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in his bid for a Triple Crown.

Chapman and his wife represented the fairy tale dreams-come-true hopes of every small-time owner and breeder as Smarty Jones earned $7,613,155 in his career.

Earlier in the week on February 13, Sam Rubin, the owner of the legendary John Henry, passed away at the age of 91 in Palm Beach, Florida. Rubin and his wife Dorothy purchased John Henry sight-unseen for $25,000 in 1978. In 1981, the horse won five Grade 1 stakes and the title of Horse of the Year, which he repeated in 1984.

John Henry’s remarkable rise from the claiming ranks to national star was punctuated by 30 stakes wins, including 16 Grade 1 wins, and seven Eclipse Awards. The Rubins earned the 1981 Eclipse Award as outstanding owner.

The 31-year-old John Henry lives at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.