George Steinbrenner Remembered

After the magic of Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth began to fade, George Michael Steinbrenner III stepped in to buy the Yankees Baseball Club in 1973 and build it back up. With eleven pennants and seven World Series baseball titles, George Steinbrenner managed to put the New York Yankees back on top. But there was another side to Steinbrenner, a sport he was passionate about and in which he immersed himself with confidence and determination, namely horse racing. Few people know of the contributions and successes he had in the horse racing industry, even though his biggest dream eluded him to the end.

News that George Steinbrenner, also nicknamed The Boss, had passed away on 13 July 2010, rocked the baseball and horse racing industry. His unpredictable personality, even though harsh at times, will be fondly remembered, as Steinbrenner tried to assist wherever he could. Teaming up with the famed trainer Nick Zito, The Boss tried to capture the Kentucky Derby title throughout the years, but without success. Racing under his Kinsman Stable, Steinbrenner bred numerous successful champions and did enjoy various victories over the years. Some of this winning horses include Majestic Warrior (2007 Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes), Concerto (1997 Whirlaway Stakes and 1997 Jim Beam Stakes), Steve’s Friend (1977 Hollywood Derby), Eternal Prince (1985 Gotham Stakes and 1985 Wood Memorial), and Bellamy Road (2005 Wood Memorial). His time spent with Nick Zito is fondly remembered by Zito, as they worked together for many years. When asked to comment on the loss of Steinbrenner, Zito had this to say: "I had Bellamy Road, the favorite, but I remember George telling me 'You've got to do right by those other people'. I will never ever forget that as long as I live. When you’ve got four other owners in the same race, things could get a little nasty. But he loved horse racing and he loved horses. He knew it was the Sport of Kings, and he treated it differently from baseball."

For more than forty years George Steinbrenner dedicated himself to the world of horse racing, saving Florida Downs from closure, buying ownership interests in harness racing tracks and even taking on the role of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association president for a time, as well as a board member of the New York Racing Association. He will be missed by both industries and everyone who worked with him.

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