Dogwood president W. Cothran "Cot" Campbell

Dogwood president W. Cothran "Cot" Campbell

Anne M. Eberhardt

Dogwood, Eclipse Form Joint Venture

The announcement was made in an April 3 press release.

Dogwood Stable and California-based Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners have formed a joint venture, according to an April 3 press release.

According to Dogwood president W. Cothran “Cot” Campbell, this will (1) enable Dogwood to offer its partners shares in Eclipse partnerships formed to campaign proven horses, (2) permit Eclipse to train at Dogwood’s facility in Aiken, South Carolina, (3) streamline operating and financial duties of both outfits through naming one chief financial officer, and (4) give Dogwood a presence in California.

“This ‘lash-up’ with two separate entities blends the tradition/reputation of Dogwood with some bright, innovative talent of the fast-growing Eclipse outfit, headed by Aron Wellman, a lifelong horseman, and former Team Valor International vice president, who left there in mid-2011 and subsequently started Eclipse with Ohio-based business associate Lee Midkiff,” Campbell said. “This young outfit is heavy in horsemanship, character, and integrity. We have good chemistry between us. We’re not getting married, but we’re going to go steady and we’ll see what evolves.

“Earlier I announced my ‘semi-retirement’ and a cut-back in our operations, and we then heard some interesting propositions from a number of farms and competitors,” Campbell continued. “Among them was Aron Wellman. We have talked over the winter, and have now hashed out this logical arrangement. It benefits clients of both Dogwood and Eclipse. Dogwood will continue to form traditional four-share yearling and 2-year-old offerings, but can now have immediate access to participation in Eclipse’s partnerships formed with the purpose of campaigning established race horses.

“In the 80’s Dogwood bought many racehorses in Europe and South America, but found that it became too complicated. It is an arena that requires constant networking, and that is a specialty of Aron Wellman. So this will be an appealing, new ‘product’ for certain Dogwood partners,” Campbell explained.

Campbell pointed out that Dogwood has traditionally operated east of the Mississippi River, and while Eclipse races throughout the country, the Eclipse connection would facilitate for the stable a presence on the California racing scene.

From his base in Del Mar, Calif., Wellman stressed the efficiencies of this joint venture, saying that the young Eclipse horses would now have supervised access to Dogwood’s Aiken training facilities, and that a common chief financial officer—Dogwood’s current treasurer, William Victor -- could streamline financial operations for both outfits.

“Being hand-picked by Mr. Campbell to form this joint venture is an honor and I am truly humbled to have gained his confidence,” Wellman said. “In the racehorse partnership business and throughout the industry at large, this certainly ranks as the ultimate endorsement.”