"In recognition of his extraordinary contributions and accomplishments in both racing and philanthropy," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been selected to receive a Special Eclipse Award, according to an announcement Friday from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Sheikh Mohammed, who was attending the Keeneland sales when the Sept. 11 attacks hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, made a $5 million personal contribution to the disaster relief fund organized by Keeneland. He later pledged 100% of Godolphin Racing stable's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships day earnings to the NTRA Charities-New York Heroes Fund, established by the NTRA, Breeders' Cup Limited and the New York Racing Association.
With four Godolphin horses finished in the money, including Tempera's win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Fantastic Light's win in the Breeders' Cup Turf, Sheikh Mohammed's Breeders' Cup pledge resulted in approximately $2 million for the Heroes Fund. According to the NTRA, Sheikh Mohammed's total contribution of $7 million made up more than half of all aid monies raised by the Thoroughbred racing industry worldwide.
The Crown Prince of Dubai and Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed purchased his first Thoroughbred in 1976 with his brothers, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Godolphin Racing, operated by Sheikh Mohammed and his brothers, has dominated the owner championships in Britain for much of the last decade. Godolphin finished fifth on the list of North America's top owners by earnings for 2001. Three Godolphin horses -- Fantastic Light, Sakhee and Tempera -- are finalists for 2001 Eclipse Awards.
The winner of the Special Eclipse Award is determined by a committee composed of representatives from the Eclipse Award-presenting organizations: the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers Association.
Sheikh Mohammed will be honored along with other Eclipse Award winners at the 31st annual Eclipse Awards dinner on Monday, Feb. 18, 2002, at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort in Miami Beach, Fla.