Frank Stronach has been viewed as everything from a maverick to a bit of a tyrant in North American racing circles this past year. Just about the only place Stronach wasn't looked upon as a rogue was on the track, where even his harshest critics couldn't fault his success.
From January to December, 764 starters wearing the familiar black silks with the red and gold Adena Springs Farm logo won 163 races and earned $11,198,225, giving him his third consecutive leading owner title by money won. Stronach topped the leading owner list in 1999 with $6,221,147. In 1998, he stopped a three-year streak by the late Allen Paulson with $7,221,416 in earnings.
In 2000, Stronach nearly doubled the earnings of his closest competitor, Juddmonte Farms, which had $6,096,951. Stronach's earnings in 2000 include two wins with homebreds on racing's richest day, the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs--Macho Uno won the Juvenile (gr. I), and Perfect Sting won the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). He also won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with another homebred, Red Bullet, who defeated Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
Besides Macho Uno, Perfect Sting, and Red Bullet, Stronach picked up major stakes wins in 2000 with Collect the Cash (Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, gr. IT), Golden Missile (Pimlico Special Handicap, gr. I), Milwaukee Brew (Ohio Derby, gr. II), Black Cash (Eclipse Handicap, Can-II), Euchre (Bel Air Handicap, gr. II), Super Red (Connaught Cup Stakes, Can-II), and Tap to Music (Barbara Fritchie Handicap, gr. II).
Dan Hall, farm manager at Adena Springs Kentucky, said Stronach's success on the track can be attributed to the entire Adena Springs team. "Over the years, Mr. Stronach has developed a solid and sound program with the way we do things on the farm. He has also developed a strong team, personnel wise, from the bottom to the top."
Perfect Sting, who earned $1,367,000 while winning five of six starts, led the Stronach Stable last year. Besides the Filly & Mare Turf, Perfect Sting scored on the grass in the Diana and New York Handicaps, both grade II, as well as the Beaugay Handicap and the Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap, both gr. IIIT. She finished second in the WinStar Galaxy Stakes (gr. IIIT). Perfect Sting will continue her career as a 5-year-old.
Golden Missile, who will be standing his first season at Adena Springs Kentucky in 2001, became a millionaire twice over in 2000, earning $1,261,700 as a 5-year-old. Besides his win in the Pimlico Special, Golden Missile won the grade II Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs to finish the year with a 2-3-1 slate from 10 starts.
Tap to Music also hit millionaire status for Stronach. The 5-year-old mare ended the year with a 1-3-2 record from nine starts and $386,545 in earnings. She became a millionaire with her third-place finish in the Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park.
Grooming this many stakes winners takes more than patience and money. It takes a farm, or in Stronach's case, multiple farms. He owns three: the 160-acre Adena Springs near Newmarket, Ontario, Canada; the 1,800-acre Adena Springs Kentucky, which involves parcels near Versailles and Midway; and the 3,000-plus acre Adena Springs South near Ocala, Fla. He has a horse population of around 900, with 200-250 horses in training, 70% of which are homebreds. Joe Orseno trains the East Coast string, with Bobby Frankel and Vladimir Cerin handling the West Coast duties. Tino Attard keeps a string at Woodbine, and Malcolm Pierce has a stable at Fair Grounds. Danny Vella preps the 2-year-olds. Leading Owners of 2000