Chef and racehorse owner Bobby Flay has been selected as the recipient of the Earle I. Mack Thoroughbred Champion Award, annually given to an individual for outstanding efforts and influence on Thoroughbred racehorse welfare, safety and retirement.
The award will be presented, fittingly enough, to Flay at his Bar Americain restaurant in New York City June 6 as part of the 2013 Belmont Stakes Celebration, which will serve as a fundraising benefit for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
Tickets to the event are available for $400 by clicking here: https://www.grayson-jockeyclub.org/default.asp?section=2&area=TICKETS&menu=1&event=2
Flay has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Thoroughbred retirement, primarily through the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. In 2008, after donating unique experiences centered around his food or restaurants to TRF auctions for many years, he served as the chef for a TRF fundraiser that raised over $300,000 in ticket sales alone. He is an outspoken proponent of owner responsibility to their horses, and has repurchased and retired several of his own home-breds and former racehorses to guarantee them a permanent lifetime home. Mack said that the choice of Flay as the recipient was a natural one.
“Bobby Flay has had such a positive impact on our Thoroughbred industry in the short time in which he has been involved in the sport,” said Mack. “He has spoken out and participated on issues of safety, the backstretch and marketing, and has been a fresh voice for positive change on the NYRA board, which is needed to attract the younger generation. He has also been a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves–the at-risk thoroughbred–whether quietly obtaining and retiring runners, or raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the TRF. Well done, Bobby, and congratulations.”
Flay follows in the footsteps of Ogden Mills Phipps (2012) and Frank Stronach (2011) as recipients of the award.
“I am honored to be chosen as the recipient of this year’s Earle Mack TRF Champion Award,” said Flay. “Racehorse retirement is a cause close to my heart. The TRF plays an important role in the aftercare of our great athletes, finding a purpose for horses whose racing days are behind them and who are unsuited to future work, and providing them with permanent, lifetime homes. I hope everyone will come out and support this event for a very worthy cause.”
The award is a unique sculpture in a limited series of 9 by one of the world’s most sought-after equine sculptors, the UK-based Nic Fiddian-Green. The rest of the edition has been donated to the TRF by Mack to secure two future awards. Fiddian-Green, who works primarily in bronze and in beaten lead, held his first exhibition in 1986, and has since been in demand by galleries and collectors alike: his work is now shown regularly in London, New York and Australia. He is best-known for his massive, classically inspired equine heads which are exhibited and installed around the world.
The fundraising event, supported by the New York Racing Association, will be held two days prior to the 145th running of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, and will feature “The Foods of Bobby Flay.” The party will also offer an auction of select stallion seasons and unique experiences.
Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, a longtime beneficiary of the Belmont week charity event, is the nation’s leading private source of equine research funding, having individually contributed more than $19 million to 40 universities since 1983 to underwrite 287 specific projects aimed at enhancing the health and safety of horses. Additional information is available at grayson-jockeyclub.org.