A Nelson Bunker Hunt profile highlighting his return to Thoroughbred racing was featured in Forbes magazine's annual coverage of America's 400 richest people.
Hunt, 75, left bankruptcy in 1989 with a net worth of between $5 million and $10 million, while still owing the Internal Revenue Service $90 million to be repaid over the next 15 years, according to the profile. A change in tax status last year allowed him to begin buying horses again.
Hunt now can keep most of what he earns beyond what's received from a trust that holds real estate, securities, and the assets of Hunt Exploration Mining Co., which is valued at $200 million. Before the change, Hunt had to pay the IRS 70% of his income. The Texas oilman has spent $2.5 million on 80 horses, mostly yearlings, over the past two years.
"I just happened to go to a horse sale a couple years ago, and I guess the bug bit me (again)," Hunt told Forbes. He owned nearly 600 horses during his glory days of racing in the late 1980s.
Dallas banker Gerald Ford, who owns Diamond A Farm near Versailles, Ky., also got special treatment in the same Forbes issue. A full-page photo of Ford leads the section featuring people who made their fortunes though finance. Ford is a new member to the Forbes 400 this year. His net worth is estimated at about $800 million.
Other members of the Forbes 400 who have ties to Thoroughbred racing include:
Carl Ichan, owner/breeder, worth $5 billion, 31 on the list;
B. Wayne Hughes, owner, $1.7 billion, 124;
Robert McNair, owner/breeder, $1.5 billion, 145;
Kenny Troutt, owner/breeder, $1.4 billion, 158;
Charlotte Weber, owner/breeder, $1.1 billion, 211;
Jesse Mack Robinson, owner/breeder, $840 million, 311;
Edward J. Debartolo Jr., racetrack owner, $800 million, 320;
Oakleigh Blakeman Thorne III, owner, $800 million, 320;
Harry V. Quadacci, owner, $780 million, 333;
George Strawbridge Jr., owner/breeder, $600 million, 391.
The Forbes 400 list and associated articles can be viewed at www.forbes.com.