The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Jan. 3 announced that W. Cothran “Cot” Campbell, who revolutionized racehorse ownership and syndication through his Dogwood Stable, will be honored with the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing.
Campbell, 84, of Aiken, S.C., will receive the Eclipse Award of Merit Jan. 16 at the 41st Annual Eclipse Awards, presented by Daily Racing Form and the Breeders’ Cup. The Eclipse Awards will be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif.
First purchasing horses in 1969, Campbell founded Dogwood Stable in 1973 and introduced the concept of syndicated racehorse ownership, bringing hundreds of new owners into the sport. Over time, Dogwood set the standard, followed by other racing stables, which adopted the partnership plan.
The concept of group ownership of Thoroughbreds appealed to Campbell because it allowed people the opportunity to participate in the racing world at a reasonable cost. Campbell estimated Dogwood has brought in approximately 1,200 partners during the past 35 years.
In November 2011, Campbell announced he was moving into “semi-retirement,” continuing existing partner relationships, but not forming new partnerships in 2012.
“This Award of Merit is a blockbuster for me,” said Campbell in a release. “I am surprised, delighted, and very appreciative that it comes my way. It is the highlight of a career that has been exhilarating, to put it mildly.”
Since Mrs. Cornwallis became Campbell’s first stakes winner in 1971, she has been followed by such Dogwood notables as Dominion, Domynsky, Nassipour, Southjet, Wallenda, Trippi, Smok’n Frolic, Limehouse, Cotton Blossom, and Aikenite.
Dogwood won its first Eclipse Award in 1987 with the Steeplechaser Inlander. The stable raced 1990 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Squall, and his daughter Storm Song, who won the 1996 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and became the stable’s second Eclipse Award winner. According to Dogwood, it has raced 76 stakes winners (including 14 grade I winners) and six $1 million earners.
“Very few people are pioneers and trendsetters in their line of business,” said Todd Pletcher, who has trained several stakes winners for the Campbells since 1996. “Cot Campbell has been just that with the racing partnership concept—not only introducing it, but doing it at the highest level and with class all the way.”
In addition to his racing interests, Campbell has served the industry in a variety of capacities. He was a founding member of the National Thoroughbred Association, which laid the groundwork for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
In 2004, Campbell was the honored guest of the Thoroughbred Club of America and that same year was called upon to chair the Thoroughbred industry-sponsored Sales Integrity Task Force. He has been the recipient of the John W. Galbreath Award for entrepreneurial excellence and leadership in the horse industry. In 1993, Campbell established the Dogwood Dominion Award honoring the “unsung heroes” of racing. It was named Dominion in honor of the Dogwood-owned horse’s hard-working, blue-collar running style.
Born in New Orleans, Campbell was an advertising executive prior to his move into Thoroughbred racing. He started his own agency, Burton-Campbell, in 1964 and helped grow it to become one of the largest advertising agencies in the South. Campbell has written three books on racing: "Lightning in a Jar," "Rascals and Racehorses," and “Memoirs of a Longshot.” Campbell and his wife, Anne, have two daughters, Lila and Cary.