The women on the inaugural Horse Racing Business Power Dozen for 2009 were selected because they have had a significant positive effect on the horse racing industry in the United States. Some have been very influential over a long period of time and others have left their mark recently. The women represent the racing industry at all levels, from the racetrack to breeding and sales and support services. A brief profile depicts why each person was chosen.   The list is a “baker’s dozen.”

Josephine Abercrombie, Versailles, KY.

Ms. Abercrombie is a Texas native, from an oil background, who began her affiliation with horses by showing American Saddlebreds as a child, and later switching to breeding, raising, and racing Thoroughbreds. She is the owner of Pin Oak Stud in Versailles, Kentucky, home to the stallions Broken Vow, Maria’s Mon, Bob and John, and Sky Classic, and breeder of over 80 stakes winners. Ms. Abercrombie has had a wide array of interests, including sponsorship of professional boxers, raising prized cattle, aviation, toy manufacturing, movie production, snow skiing, ballroom dance, philanthropy, and writing a children’s book. She has been involved with numerous racing-industry organizations and is a member of the Jockey Club. In 1995, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association recognized Ms. Abercrombie as both the National Breeder of the Year and State Breeder of the Year. She is a graduate of Rice University and an Emeritus Trustee of that institution.

Helen Alexander and the Women of the King Ranch Legacy.  KY, PA, TX.

The King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, is known worldwide for its cattle and horses. The King Ranch developed the first recognized breed of cattle in the United States, the Santa Gertrudis, and its stallion, Wimpy, was entry number one in the American Quarter Horse Stud Book and Registry. Captain Richard King’s grandson, Robert Kleberg, started a Thoroughbred division in the 1930s, acquiring and standing the 1936 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Bold Venture. This stallion sired for King Ranch the 1946 Triple Crown champion Assault and the 1950 Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Middleground. The late Mr. Kleberg’s daughter, Helen Groves, and three of her six children have actively continued the King Ranch legacy. Sisters Helen Alexander, Emory Alexander Hamilton, and Dorothy Alexander Matz, individually and in partnership with one another, have bred and raced many notable Thoroughbreds. Ms. Helen Alexander managed the King Ranch Thoroughbred operations after her grandfather’s death in 1974 and currently owns and operates Middlebrook Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. She is the only woman on the Breeders’ Cup board of directors, is a member of the Jockey Club, and is the former president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Alice Headley Chandler, Lexington, KY.

Ms. Chandler is the daughter of Hal Price Headley, who was a co-founder of Keeneland racetrack. However, she has made her own mark in the Thoroughbred horse-racing business. Ms. Chandler started and built Mill Ridge Farm into one of the prominent establishments of its kind. She bred Sir Ivor, winner of the 1968 Epsom Derby, and Mill Ridge foaled and raised Giacomo, winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby. The farm stands the outstanding stallion Gone West. Mill Ridge has raised or sold 24 Grade 1 winners since 2000. Ms. Chandler has served in numerous leadership roles for industry organizations and she is a member of the Jockey Club.

Jenny Craig, Carlsbad, CA.

Ms. Craig and her late husband Sidney Craig founded the famous weight-loss company and sold it to Nestle’s in 2006. With her husband, Ms. Craig campaigned numerous stakes winners. Their mare Paseana won two Eclipse Awards and is an inductee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Dr. Devious won England’s Epsom Derby in 1992. Other notables owned by the Craigs included such names as Candy Ride, Exchange, and Brave Act. Ms. Craig’s Chocolate Candy finished fifth in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.  Ms. Craig grew up in New Orleans and her late brother trained Thoroughbreds at Fair Grounds racetrack.

Lucy Young Hamilton, Lexington, KY.

Ms. Hamilton is a co-owner of Overbrook Farm, which was founded by her late father, William T. Young. Overbrook has had a lasting effect on Thoroughbred bloodlines worldwide through its now-pensioned stallion Storm Cat–with over $115 million in progeny earnings–and the farm has bred and raced many winners of Grade 1 stakes, including the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Ms. Hamilton is a member of the governing boards of the New York Racing Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Foundation, National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Horse PAC. She is a member of The Jockey Club.

Haya Bint Al Hussein, Jordan and Dubai.

Princess Haya’s Raven’s Pass won the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic, the richest race in the United States. She is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and the junior wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai and owner of  Darley Studs–with locations in Lexington, Kentucky, and five other countries.  Princess Haya is a co-owner of Godolphin Racing.  She has competed at the highest level of show jumping, with appearances in the Olympics and world championships; she was the first Arab woman to take part in an equestrian world championship. The Princess serves on the International Olympic Committee.

Gretchen Jackson, West Grove, PA.

Ms. Jackson is co-owner with her husband, Roy Jackson, of Lael Stables.  They have been breeding and racing Thoroughbreds for over 30 years and own a 190-acre farm in Pennsylvania. Lael bred Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and Group 1 winner in Europe George Washington. Other stakes winners include Showing Up and Grandera. Following the death of Barbaro from laminitis, the Jacksons endowed a $3 million chair at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical School and named it after equine surgeon Dr. Dean W. Richardson, who operated on Barbaro. Ms. Jackson has been active in raising money for equine research and for such causes as the Racetrack Chaplaincy. In 2006, Lael Stables was awarded the Eclipse Award as outstanding owner (in a tie with Darley Stables). Ms. Jackson is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Neumann College.

Maggi Moss, Des Moines, IA.

Ms. Moss did not buy her first racehorse until 1998. Yet by 2006, she was the nation’s leading owner with 211 wins, the first woman in over half a century to achieve this milestone. Ms. Moss’ mostly claiming horses may not qualify her for an Eclipse Award, but her accomplishments are remarkable and make her one of the most noteworthy people in racing. Ms. Moss grew up in Iowa and competed in show jumping as a girl, winning three straight championships at Madison Square Gardens. She reportedly spends four to five hours a day reading the Daily Racing Form, looking for horses to claim, and talking with the multiple trainers who condition her approximately 75 horses in seven or eight states. Ms. Moss is active in finding homes for retired racehorses. Her racing ventures followed a highly successful career as a trial lawyer. Ms. Moss is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Drake University Law School.

Marsha Naify, Del Mar, CA and Long Beach, CA.

Ms. Naify is the only woman elected to the current National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors and was the first woman to chair the Thoroughbred Owners of California board of directors. She is active in efforts to care for retired racehorses and, in particular, to find, claim, and retire horses that were owned by her late father, Marshall Naify, who was the chairman of United Artists and co-owned Bertrando. Ms. Naify has about 12 horses in training in the United States and France and boards some 25 broodmares at farms in California and Kentucky. Her Grade 1 winners include Amorama, Dublino, and Street Boss. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California.

Susan E. Packard, Knoxville, TN.

Ms. Packard is the first woman elected to serve on the board of directors of Churchill Downs Inc. and is currently the only female on the 13-person board. Only one other woman (see Barbara Z. Shattuck of Penn National Gaming) serves on the board of a publicly-traded company owning multiple racetracks. Ms. Packard is the cofounder of HGTV and served in many leadership roles, including chief operating officer. She also was president of Scripps Networks New Ventures, where she oversaw the development and launch of DIY Network and Fine Living. In previous employment at NBC, she worked on the start-up of CNBC. Cablevision magazine cited Ms. Packard as one of “12 Most Powerful Women in Cable,” and CableWorld magazine honored her among “The Most Influential Women in Cable.” She earned a bachelors and masters degree from Michigan State University.

Barbara Z. Shattuck, New York, NY.

Ms. Shattuck is a member of the board of directors of Penn National Gaming Inc., which owns and operates six racetracks–the most held by a single company not in bankruptcy. She is one of only two women (see Susan E. Packard of Churchill Downs, Inc.) to serve on the board of a publicly-traded company owning multiple racetracks. Ms. Shattuck is a Managing Director of Shattuck Hammond Partners and is a financial advisor and healthcare investment banking specialist, who has worked with many leading multi-hospital systems, healthcare providers, managed care companies, and physician group practices. Previously, she was a Managing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers Securities LLC and was a Founding Partner of Shattuck Hammond Partners Inc. Ms. Shattuck is a graduate of Connecticut College and serves on the boards of Connecticut College, Tufts Associated Health Plans, the University of Arizona Research Corporation, Sunlife Insurance Company of New York, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the New York Citizen’s Budget Commission, Inc.

Charlotte Weber, Ocala, FL.

Ms. Weber owns the 4,500-acre Live Oak Stud in Ocala. The farm is consistently among the leading North American owners and breeders in terms of dollars earned. Ms. Weber’s racing stable is Live Oak Plantation. Its Miesque’s Approval won the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Mile and was awarded the Eclipse for being the top turf horse. Other Grade 1 winners include Sultry Song and Solar Splendor. Ms. Weber is a past recipient of the Penny Chenery Most Distinguished Woman in Racing Award, is a trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and is a member of the Jockey Club. She is on the board of directors of Campbell Soup Company, which was founded by her grandfather, John T. Dorrance. Ms. Weber attended the University of Paris.

Marylou Whitney, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Ms. Whitney was the wife of the late business magnate, Thoroughbred owner and breeder, and sportsman Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney. But she has had many successes of her own in Thoroughbred racing and maintains an 88-acre farm near Lexington, Kentucky. Her homebred stallion Birdstone won three Grade 1 races: the Champagne Stakes in 2003, and the Belmont Stakes and Travers in 2004. His offspring from his first crop to race include Mine the Bird, who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and Summer Bird, who ran sixth in the 19-horse field. Stone Legacy, a filly by Birdstone, finished second in the Grade 1 2009 Kentucky Oaks, a race won in 2004 by Birdstone’s half sister Bird Town. Ms. Whitney has an exemplary record of philanthrophy, both within racing and elsewhere, and her lengthy contributions encompass a diversity of organizations. Her donations have assisted institutions trying to make life better for humans and horses. During World War II, Ms. Whitney was deejay Private Smiles on a Kansas City radio station.

Note:  The men’s version of the “Power Dozen” was published in the Horse Racing Business of April 25, 2009 and is available on this website.

Copyright © 2009 Horse Racing Business


  1. Great article for deserving women, it would be nice to be able to post on Facebook. Tio