A kind deed was rewarded July 30 at Saratoga Race Course.
First, Southern Equine Farm's connections gathered in the winner's circle to present a $5,000 donation to the New York Racetrack Chaplaincy. Then Laoban , the Uncle Mo colt they own in partnership with McCormick Racing, went gate to wire to break his maiden--in the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) over stakes winner Governor Malibu.
The donation was the brainchild of owner Mike Moreno, who partnered with Blood-Horse to host a naming contest for a unique white-faced Bodemeister colt born at Southern Equine Farm near Midway, Ky., June 5.
"In 35 years in the industry I've never seen a Thoroughbred like this," trainer Eric Guillot said.
Moreno made the donation in honor of Mary Beth Woods of Shreveport, La., who submitted the winning entry and was on hand July 30 at Saratoga for the check presentation.
Woods, a racing fan for more than 30 years, said: "As soon as I saw him I thought of 'Phantom of the Opera,' and since he's from Southern Equine Farm I came up with Southern Phantom."
"We hope everyone had fun coming up with names and we appreciate the thousands of people who participated," Guillot said. "We want to congratulate Ms. Woods, and in her name we are proud to support the backstretch workers who are the backbone of this industry. The money Mr. Moreno is donating is going to a great cause."