The owners of sports teams tend to have two things in common—they enjoy sports, and they have the wherewithal to pursue their passion.
Perhaps that’s why some have diversified their sporting interests to include racing horses. The list of people who have owned both sports teams and racehorses includes highly recognizable names from both sides of the equation. A few examples include….
Longtime owner of the New Orleans Saints (NFL) and, for a few years, the New Orleans Pelicans (NBA), Tom Benson also raced horses under the name G M B Racing. In 2016, his colts Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready both participated in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
After making millions in the telecommunications industry, Dan Borislow purchased the Women’s Professional Soccer team Washington Freedom, which he renamed magicJack after one of his products. His involvement with the WPS league proved troubled and short-lived, quite unlike Borislow’s successful racing stable, which included the Grade 1 winner Toccet and the Kentucky Derby starter Talk Is Money.
At one time the owner of the Jordan Grand Prix Formula 1 team, Eddie Jordan currently works in broadcasting and has raced horses through the years with the accomplished jumps trainer Michael “Mouse” Morris.
Eugene Klein was involved with a couple of major sports teams through the years, founding the Seattle SuperSonics (NBA) and owning a share of the San Diego Chargers (NFL). When health issues caused him to step down from owning sports teams, Klein threw himself wholeheartedly into Thoroughbred racing, an enterprise that reached its zenith when Klein’s filly Winning Colors won the 1988 Kentucky Derby.
As one of the principal players involved in the powerful and internationally influential Coolmore Stud, John Magnier is one of the most important men in the sport of horse racing. For a time, he also owned a share of the Manchester United Football Club in England.
J. P. McManus
John “J. P.” McManus has been involved in several sports (he plays golf, sponsors sports teams, and owned a share of Manchester United with John Magnier), but his racing exploits have arguably been the most successful. His runners have won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse seven times (including three wins from the legendary Istabraq), and McManus also owned the 2010 Grand National winner Don’t Push It.
In addition to owning the Houston Texans NFL team, billionaire Bob McNair owned the Thoroughbred breeding and racing enterprise Stonerside Stable, which campaigned the Grade 1 winners Congaree, Bob and John, and Country Star, among others.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Bruce McNall’s sporting interests included ownership of the Los Angeles Kings (NHL) and Toronto Argonauts (CFL), as well as the top-class racehorses Trempolino, Saumarez, and Golden Pheasant. The first two won the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) in France, while the latter two McNall owned in partnership with star hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
Owner of the Ottawa Senators (NHL), Eugene Melnyk has achieved resounding high-level success breeding and racing Thoroughbreds. Under various names and partnerships, Melnyk has won more than 65 graded stakes races while racing horses like the champion sprinter Speightstown and the Canadian classic winners Archers Bay, Lodge Hill, and Marchfield.
Through his breeding farm Adena Springs and his racing stable Stronach Stables, Frank Stronach has won approximately 100 graded stakes races in North America, with many coming from the champions Ghostzapper, Ginger Punch, and Macho Uno. Stronach was also a controlling sponsor of the Austria Wien football club through the early 2000s.