Ogden Phipps, a former chairman of The Jockey Club whose homebred champions included Hall of Fame members Buckpasser, Easy Goer, and Personal Ensign, died this morning at approximately 1:30 at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., after a short illness. He was 93.
Phipps, who was the longest reigning member of The Jockey Club at the time of his death, registered his black and cherry cap colors in 1932 and was represented by his first stakes winner, White Cockade, three years later. He was elected to The Jockey Club in 1939 and succeeded George Widener as chairman in 1964.
Phipps had campaigned a number of top runners up to that point, but none comparable to Buckpasser. The son of Tom Fool started his illustrious career as a 2-year-old in 1965 and didn't stop running until he had won 25 of 31 starts and earned $1,462,014 through age four. Buckpasser was champion all three years he raced, but unfortunately missed the 1966 Triple Crown because of a quarter crack. Buckpasser entered stud at Arthur B. (Bull) Hancock Jr.'s Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., and developed into a prominent sire and extraordinary broodmare sire.
Easy Goer, who was produced from Buckpasser's champion daughter Relaxing, and Personal Ensign came along two decades later. Easy Goer was champion 2-year-old male of 1988 and upset Sunday Silence in the following year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after finishing second to that rival in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Phipps called Easy Goer's victory in the Belmont his "most exciting moment and greatest thrill in racing. I had waited a long time to win the Belmont Stakes."
As a stallion, Easy Goer sired Phipps' homebred Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner My Flag.
Personal Ensign, the dam of My Flag, won all 13 of her races and closed out her career with a dramatic win in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) over Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors.
Phipps, a New York City native born Nov. 26, 1908, attended Harvard and later rose to the rank of Commander while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was a former partner of Smith Barney & Co. and served as chairman of Bessemer Securities Corporation from 1958 until 1978. The latter organization was a personal holding company for the descendants of Henry Phipps, who was Andrew Carnegie's partner in Carnegie Steel in the late 1800s. The sale of Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan led to the formation of U.S. Steel.
Ogden Phipps enjoyed immense success as an athlete and won the U.S. Court Tennis Championship on seven occasions during the mid-1930s and mid-1940s. He also was the British Amateur champion in 1949. He was inducted into the International Court Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001.
Phipps, a trustee emeritus of the New York Racing Association, won Eclipse Awards as the nation's leading owner and leading breeder in 1988 and as the nation's leading owner in 1989. He received numerous awards through the years, including the Mr. Fitz Award from the National Turf Writers Association in 1989 and the C.V. Whitney Achievement Award from the New York Turf Writers in 1998. Phipps campaigned other champions Impressive, Vitriolic, Queen of the Stage, Numbered Account, and Heavenly Prize.
Phipps is survived by two sons, Robert L. Phipps and Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps; a daughter, Cynthia Phipps; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and a sister, Mrs. Hans C. Seherr-Thoss. Dinny and Cynthia each maintain prominent racing stables.
Funeral arrangements will be private and the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, 40 E. 52nd St., New York, NY 10022.