The Thoroughbred Club of America, in keeping with its custom of honoring persons who have rendered distinguished service to the sport of racing, dedicates this 73rd Annual Testimonial Dinner to W. Cothran Campbell
Born on September 27, 1927, in New Orleans, Cot Campbell was raised amid the excitement, charm, and challenge of the horse world. His family's financial setbacks, however, precluded any easy entrance into the game, and he pursued a career as an advertising executive. As chairman of Burton-Campbell in Atlanta, Ga., Cot ran a large and successful firm, but the lure of the Turf never wavered.
Combining his interest in horses with community benefits, he was a founder and president of the Georgia Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association and in 1966 helped establish the Atlanta Steeplechase, which grew into, and remains, one of the important annual fixtures on the steeplechase circuit.
By 1969, Cot Campbell realized the dream of owning a race horse, going in with some friends, and he soon hit on the idea of racing partnerships as a sideline. His Dogwood Stable first made headlines when Mrs. Cornwallis won the 1971 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland. Grasping opportunity, Cot made the decision to change careers and develop Dogwood Stable as his livelihood.
Creating a successful stable as a business required study and compliance of complicated rules of limited and general partnerships, as well as recruiting investors who would look to racing for its excitement and glamour. Most importantly, it required an ability to select prospects from Thoroughbred auctions which would fulfill these goals, and do so on a budget that precluded dealing at the top levels of the bloodstock market. That Cot Campbell has succeeded in these various disciplines is illustrated by his having attracted more than 1,000 individuals into the game as participants in his Dogwood Stable and by his having acquired 65 stakes winners, primarily by working the high-odds auction game successfully. His financial support of the sales has amounted to over $100 million in purchases, and his concept of such partnerships has been often imitated by other buyers.
The major winners bought at auction and raced by Dogwood Stable include 1990 Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall (sire of Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year Charismatic); the champion Summer Squall filly Storm Song, winner of the Breeders' Cup; and the champion steeplechaser Inlander.
Dogwood has raced five millionaires: Summer Squall, Storm Song, Smok'n Frolic, Wallenda, and Southjet. Other stakes winners include Trippi, Limehouse, Delta Flag, Montubio, and Nassipour. Cot's memorable victories also include wins in the Blue Grass Stakes, Hopeful, Canadian International, Jim Beam, Brooklyn Handicap, Bernard Baruch Handicap, and Super Derby.
Dogwood earned more than $2.2 million in 2003 and over the last quarter-century consistently has been in the top one-half of one per cent of North American stables. Nevertheless, it has remained a hallmark of his investor recruitment to underscore the odds against any particular horse being a major earner and to stress that excitement and adding zest to life are the prime reasons to sign on.
From the beginning, the innovation of his partnerships and the reputation for integrity of his operation resulted in favorable articles in such publications as Forbes, Fortune, and the Wall Street Journal, as well as the trade press. Thus, while carving his own success, Campbell generated positive publicity for the sport of racing, and this was enhanced by his growing reputation as a speaker, master of ceremonies, and author of articles. He further added to this benefit to the Turf with his two books on racing, Lightning in a Jar and Rascals and Racehorses.
Service to the game accompanied success. Through financial commitment and high-energy participation, Cot has helped promote the health and best traditions of racing through his work as a vice president of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and as a long-time participant in the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association. He was a $50,000 founding contributor to the forerunner organization leading to establishment of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Most recently, Cot accepted chairmanship of the new Sales Integrity Task Force, to protect a wise balance of the interests of buyers, consignors, and sale companies.
Similarly, Cot supports the health and welfare of the horse via Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Racehorse Adoption Referral Program. Also, Cot developed a unique program to reward unsung heroes of the game through the Dominion Award, a $5,000 presentation made annually in memory of one of his favorite Dogwood stakes winners. Cot and his wife, Anne, also work for the overall benefit of their community, first in Atlanta and now at the Dogwood headquarters of Aiken, South Carolina.
In recognition of his innovation and shared success in racing, his high standards and positive image, his energy and leadership, and his continuing passion for the good horse, the Thoroughbred Club of America, assembled at Keeneland Race Course on this fifth day of November, in the year 2004, hereby presents this testimonial scroll to Cot Campbell and welcomes him as a honorary lifetime member.
Harvie B. Wilkinson
Bennett Bell Williams