It’s one of the oldest sports in the world, but horse racing never loses its thrill. That’s largely thanks to the organizations that breed and stable the Thoroughbreds that sports fans love to watch racing down the track as they await the outcomes of online sports betting. These global powerhouses devote vast sums of money and expertise to the ultimate goal: Breeding and racing ever more powerful racing horses in the most prestigious stakes worldwide. Without their passion, talent and devotion, the Sport of Kings would be much poorer. Let’s get more closely acquainted with the most powerful racehorse breeders in the world today!
Juddmonte Farms is a global horse racing stable that has campaigned some of the greatest racing horses to ever set foot on dirt or turf. Founded in 1977 by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Khalid Abdullah, Juddmonte has since expanded to the US, UK and France. Known Fact earned the stable’s first top-tier wins at the 1979 Middle Park Stakes and the 1980 Newmarket Two Thousand Guineas in the UK. Spurred on by this success, Juddmonte started breeding winners like Warning, son of Known Fact and winner of Grade 1 races such as the 1988 Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
In the 1990s, Juddmonte’s home-bred Thoroughbreds like Quest for Fame, Toulon, Sanglamore, Houseproud, Jolypha and Reams of Verse carried home trophies from a broad range of classic races, including the Epsom Derby, St. Leger Stakes, Prix du Jockey Club, French One Thousand Guineas, French Oaks and the Epsom Oaks, to name a few.
At the turn of the century, Juddmonte’s North American division, led by trainer Bobby Frankel, started contributing Grade 1 wins from champions like Chester House, Flute, Skimming, Banks Hill, Aptitude, Senure, Mizzen Mast and Empire Maker, winner of the Belmont Stakes. Juddmonte also picked up Breeders Cup trophies in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2009. The next decade brought even more glory to Juddmonte, with Frankel (named after the great trainer) unbeaten in 14 starts, with 10 Group 1 victories and a classic win. Frankel is now a prize stud with a cover fee of $228,000.
More recently, the Juddmonte silks have been carried to victory by phenomenal superstars. One is Arrogate, who won the 2016 Travers Stakes, 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes and 2017 Dubai World Cup one after the other. Another racing superstar is Enable, who became the first horse ever to win three renewals of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in 2020.
A horse racing powerhouse was born in 1945 when Coolmore farm in Ireland switched from growing potatoes to breeding racing horses. A stockbroker and landowner named Vigors bought the farm intending to expand his operation at nearby Tullamaine Castle. Shortly afterward, his son Tim joined the firm. A decorated World War II fighter pilot, Tim had learned the trade of horse breeding at Goffs, the famous Irish bloodstock agency.
Tim soon proved himself an ace on the stud as well as in the air, purchasing numerous race winners to stand at stud and making valuable connections with Kentucky racehorse breeders. In 1973, he sold half the operation to respected trainer Vincent O’Brien, who had the expertise to turn Coolmore’s foals into champions. O’Brien brought in his son-in-law, the business magnate John Magnier, as manager.
Coolmore later acquired winning Thoroughbreds like Northern Dancer, who produced 400 winners out of 645 named foals. In 1985, Coolmore expanded to the US, after which horses from their Ashford farm in Kentucky, such as Thunder Gulch, started winning Grade 1 stakes. Coolmore also bought the breeding rights for Triple Crown champion American Pharaoh as well as Galileo, whose offspring have brought in millions over the years. Presently, Coolmore’s biggest stud is Justify, the most recent winner of the Triple Crown.
Godolphin is one of the world’s foremost Thoroughbred breeding and horse racing stables. Founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, the operation is named after the Godolphin Arabian, one of the modern Thoroughbred’s three founding stallions. Sheikh Mohammed founded his empire in 1992 with a handful of racehorses in the desert, but Godolphin has expanded to include facilities in the US, UK, Japan and Australia.
Under the care of Godolphin trainers Saeed bin Suroor, Charlie Appleby and James Cummings, a day in the life of a racehorse at Godolphin includes five-star treatment such as private grass, all-weather gallops, swimming pools and equine spas. As a result, Godolphin’s Thoroughbreds, in their royal blue silks, have racked up more than 5,000 career wins across four continents, including 350 Grade 1 races.
Godolphin’s breeding arm, the Darley Stud operation, has about 80 stallions in seven countries worldwide. The stud’s most treasured asset is Dubawi. Son of Dubai Millennium, Dubawi is ranked the world’s most successful sire, with a stud fee of $350,000 in 2023.
Qatar Racing Limited
Qatar Racing Limited is the new kid on the block, founded by Qatari Sheikh and ruling family member Fahad Al Thani as recently as 2012. Sheikh Fahad’s lifelong passion for horses soon bore fruit, thanks to financing from his brothers’ investment firm QIPCO and masterful breeding techniques by top trainer John Gosden, who certainly knows what makes a great horse. After all, he’s trained over 100 Group 1 race winners in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. As a result, Qatar Racing could soon boast European Group 1 winners like Dunaden, Lightning Pearl and Roaring Lion.
In 2014, the organization branched out in the US, winning the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes with Peace and War and the Mile Stakes with Trade Storm. Today, Qatar Racing’s horse jockeys in their claret with gold braid colors enjoy global recognition – a truly meteoric rise to fame for a bloodstock outfit barely 10 years old!
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