Chef and racehorse owner Bobby Flay has been selected as the recipient of the Earle I. Mack Thoroughbred Champion Award, annually given to an individual for outstanding efforts and influence on Thoroughbred racehorse welfare, safety, and retirement.
The award will be presented to Flay at his Bar Americain restaurant in New York City June 6 as part of the 2013 Belmont Stakes Celebration, which will serve as a fundraising benefit for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
Flay has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Thoroughbred retirement, primarily through the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. In 2008, after donating unique experiences centered around his food or restaurants to TRF auctions for many years, he served as the chef for a TRF fundraiser that raised over $300,000 in ticket sales alone. He is an outspoken proponent of owner responsibility to their horses, and has re-purchased and retired several of his own homebreds and former racehorses to guarantee them a permanent lifetime home. Mack said that the choice of Flay as the recipient was a natural one.
"Bobby Flay has had such a positive impact on our Thoroughbred industry in the short time in which he has been involved in the sport," said Mack. "He has spoken out and participated on issues of safety, the backstretch and marketing, and has been a fresh voice for positive change on the NYRA board, which is needed to attract the younger generation."
Flay follows in the footsteps of Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps (2012) and Frank Stronach (2011) as recipients of the award.
"I am honored to be chosen as the recipient of this year's Earle Mack TRF Champion Award," said Flay. "Racehorse retirement is a cause close to my heart. The TRF plays an important role in the aftercare of our great athletes, finding a purpose for horses whose racing days are behind them and who are unsuited to future work, and providing them with permanent, lifetime homes. I hope everyone will come out and support this event for a very worthy cause."