Earle Mack envisions the new award that honors his late friend Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps as both an honor and a challenge.
The Dinny Phipps Award will be awarded for the first time June 8 at the Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration at the Bryant Park Grill in New York City. Mack hopes that as the recognition is handed out each year, it will inspire others to follow in Phipps' footsteps and dedicate themselves to helping the horse, and improving the safety and integrity of the sport.
"In every walk of life, there's the first person," Mack said, "but then hopefully the next person says, 'Why don't I think about it?'"
Phipps bred and campaigned champions Inside Information, Rhythm, Storm Flag Flying, and Smuggler, as well as Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) winner Pleasant Home and four-time grade 1 winner Dispute. In co-ownership with his cousin Stuart Janney III, Phipps won the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) with Orb . Phipps was chairman of The Jockey Club from 1983-2015.
Mack, a Thoroughbred owner and breeder who chaired the New York State Racing Commission from 1983-89, said Phipps' legacy is a high standard for future leaders of the sport.
"He's transformed the Jockey Club and racing and breeding as we know it today," Mack said. "He's helped put the industry on a firm path that is dedicated to excellence."
The Phipps family will be the recipient of the inaugural Dinny Phipps Award. Phipps' wife, Ande; daughter, Daisy Phipps Pulito; and son, Ogden Phipps II will be on hand to accept the award.
Mack, who commissioned the Odon Wagner Gallery and artist Gary Weisman to create a bronze sculpture to commemorate the new award, said the Phipps family is an obvious choice for the first honor.
"It's a family of many generations that has stood for integrity and excellence," Mack said. "Dinny may have never won the Triple Crown but he hit the trifecta of family, friendship, and universal respect. That's his Triple Crown."
All proceeds from the Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration benefit the ongoing research of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation to improve equine health and safety. Phipps, who died in April 2016, served as a board member of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation from its inception.
"I think it's time that Grayson Jockey Club had more visibility and people became more aware of what they do," Mack said. "I hope that visibility will be prominent during the evening."