The most recognizable Thoroughbred owners in both Europe and the United States once hailed from socially prominent families of mostly inherited wealth in Great Britain, France, and the United States.  No longer.  Nowadays, many owners at the top level of horse racing come from the royal families of the Mideast and investors on Wall Street.  The latter are risk-takers by occupation and thus are drawn to owning racehorses.

At the 2018 Breeders’ Cup, for example, races were won by horses owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and Saudi Arabian Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud, while other races winners were owned by Martin Schwartz and Sol Kumin, whose wealth came from equity trading.  Similarly, Wall Street billionaire Vincent Viola owned part of 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and the Aga Khan and Princess Haya of Jordan (wife of Sheikh Mohammed) are prominent owners.

How things have changed can be seen by the fact that a British peer from a well-known horse-racing family with ties to The Jockey Club going back generations, Edward John “Teddy” Beckett, the 5th Baron Grimthorpe, is the racing manager for Prince Khalid.

Finding enough owners is a perennial issue in horse racing.  Absent owners from the Middle East and Wall Street, who have the monetary wherewithal to spend on racehorses and the desire to do so, horse racing in Europe and the United States would be in dire straits.  The future will be brighter still if deep-pocketed owners continue to emerge from developing nations, most notably China.

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