Mace Siegel

Mace Siegel

Benoit Photo

California Owner Mace Siegel Dies at 86

Co-founder of the Thoroughbred Owners of California was prominent for decades.

Mace Siegel, whose racing operation was one of California's most prominent for decades, died Oct. 26 at the age of 86.

Trainer Ron Ellis said Siegel died at home in Beverly Hills while taking a nap. He had been released a day earlier from a hospital, where he had been recuperating from a bout with pneumonia, the trainer said.

"He's one of the greatest men I've ever known," Ellis said. "He was just as wise and generous a man as there ever could be."

Siegel, who moved his family to California in 1976, co-founded the Thoroughbred Owners of California and was an officer and board member with the organization for many years. He has made generous donations to the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) for retired racehorses, and supported the charitable Edwin Gregson Foundation.

A native of Jersey City, N.J., Siegel owned and operated shopping centers in the United States and ran a successful racing operation, Jay Em Ess Stable, along with his his wife Jan, who died of cancer in 2002, and daughter Samantha. Their blue and lime green silks were a familiar sight at tracks across the nation, but especially in California, where the Siegels have been based for more than 40 years.

Among their best-known horses were 2004 male juvenile champion Declan's Moon and grade I stakes winners Boys at Tosconova , I Ain't Bluffing, Urbane, Stormy But Valid, Miss Iron Smoke, Hedonist, and I Believe in You. Other stars included Arson Squad, Rail Trip, Forest Fealty, and Love of Money. Earlier this month, J M S' Redeemed  won the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

Mace Siegel was the founder of Macerich Co. of Santa Monica, Calif., which develops, owns and manages regional shopping malls. He retired in 2008 as chairman of the board of directors of Macerich.

He and his wife purchased their first horse, Najecam, at the 1964 Timonium sale, and scored their first stakes victory with Wininreno in the 1976 Julian Cole Handicap at Calder Race Course. They purchased many of their horses at auction in Maryland and were big supporters of Fasig-Tipton Midatlantic Eastern fall yearling sale.

Brian Mayberry was the Siegels' trainer from 1977 to 1995. They later employed Ellis, Bruce Headley, and Peter Miller in California; Paul McGee in Kentucky; and Rick Dutrow Jr. in New York.

Siegel had been out of the public limelight for some time but could still make his voice be heard at times. When Frank Stronach told the California Horse Racing Board last year that he no longer wanted a tenant at Santa Anita Park and that the Oak Tree Racing Association would have to go, Siegel made an impassioned plea on behalf of Oak Tree, and Stronach agreed to relent for one year.

Aside from Samantha, survivors include a son, Evan, and a granddaughter, Riley.