The Kentucky Derby: Your Cheat Sheet to the Tycoons and Their Horses

The Kentucky Derby is the world’s premier horse race, and the Thoroughbreds that earn their way on to fabled Churchill Downs for the big event are enormously expensive to breed or buy.

Many of their owners are millionaires, having earned fortunes outside the racing business before starting their own stable, while others have devoted their entire lives to Thoroughbred racing.

Here are the owners that are looking for a slice of the $2.2 million purse and racing glory in Saturday’s 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Robert LaPenta

Robert LaPenta

Image: Equestrianlife.com Wiki

dialed inHorse: Dialed In

Post position: 8

Odds: 4-1

LaPenta made his way up through satellite communications company Loral Corp., eventually becoming a VP and CFO when the firm was bought by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT).  He is now President, CEO, and Chairman of L-1 Identity Solutions (NYSE:ID).

He got into racing back in 1997 with University of Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino, and has a contender again this year with Dialed In.

Mike Repole

Mike Repole

Image: St. John’s University

uncle mo stay thirstyHorse: Uncle Mo, Stay Thirsty

Post positions: 18, 4

Odds: 9-2, 20-1

Repole made the bulk of his fortune by investing in Glaceau, makers of Vitamin Water, which sold to Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) for $4.1 billion in 2007.

Now he’s president of Energy Brands, but spends most of his time running Repole Stable, which is fielding two horses in this year’s Derby.

Ahmed Zayat

Ahmed Zayat

Image: AP

nehroHorse: Nehro

Post position: 19

Odds: 6-1

He was CEO and Chairman of Al Ahram Beverages Company, the largest beverage manufacturer and distributor in the Middle East, until the Egyptian firm was sold to Heineken International in 2002.

Since then, Zayat has been investing in other Egyptian companies and running Zayat Stables, which led the nation in earnings last year.

Harvey Clarke

Harvey Clarke

Image: AJ Clarke

soldatHorse: Soldat

Post position: 17

Odds: 8-1

Clarke has been in real estate (NYSE:IYR) for 45 years and currently runs a business in New Jersey.

He won his first graded stakes race just last year, and followed it up with three more this year.

Bob Yagos

Bob Yagos

Image: AP

archarcharchHorse: Archarcharch

Post position: 1

Odds: 10-1

Yagos ran a salvage company in Jacksonville before getting into racing in the early 1980s.

This is the first time one of his horses has made it into the Kentucky Derby.

Arnold Zetcher

Arnold Zetcher

Image: AP

midnight interludeHorse: Midnight Interlude

Post position: 15

Odds: 10-1

Zetcher was CEO at Bonwit-Teller and Kohls Food Stores before landing at women’s specialty retailer Talbots (NYSE:TLB).

He retired from the business world in 2008, but remains on the boards of the University of Washington and the National Retail Federation.

An avid fan since his youth, Zetcher entered racing in 2000 and has enjoyed success on the track since, becoming chairman (a position he recently stepped down from) of the Thoroughbred Owners of California’s board of directors.

Mike Lauffer

Mike Lauffer

Image: Linkpromotions.com

shacklefordHorse: Shackleford

Post position: 14

Odds: 12-1

Lauffer is the third-generation in his family’s oil and gas business (NYSE:XOP) who got involved in horse racing in 1995.

His partner is long-time friend Bill Cubbedge, and Shackleford is their first Kentucky Derby horse.

Dean Reeves

Dean Reeves

Image: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing

mucho macho manHorse: Mucho Macho Man

Post position: 13

Odds: 12-1

Reeves is CEO of Reeves Contracting, which was founded by his father in 1950.

He got into racing through a partnership with Bob Ades, who once had Kentucky Derby starter in 1992, in a chance meeting in 2007. He put together Reeves Thoroughbred Racing with his wife Patti in 2009.

Mucho Macho Man is owned by both Reeves and Dream Team One Racing Stable.

George Hall

George Hall

Image: Woodford Humane Society

pants on fireHorse: Pants on Fire

Post position: 7

Odds: 17-1

A graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Hall now heads the Clinton Group, an investment company he founded that manages more than $6.6 billion in capital.

Hall and his wife Lori started racing in 2004, and are fielding unlikely qualifier Pants on Fire in the Derby.

Charlotte C. Weber

brilliant speedHorse: Brilliant Speed

Post position: 2

Odds: 30-1

Granddaughter of Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) founder John T. Dorrance, Weber was elected Director of Campbell Soup Company in 1990 and cashed out more than $10 million in Campbell’s stock in 2010.

She also runs private real estate management firm Live Oak Properties along with Live Oak Stud, which stables Thoroughbreds.

 

Barry Irwin

Barry Irwin

Image: Team Valor

animal kingdomHorse: Animal Kingdom

Post position: 16

Odds: 30-1

Irwin was a fiction writer before dropping everything to enter the business of Thoroughbred racing by becoming a journalist, an agent, and eventually a stable owner.

He founded Team Valor in 1987, which has since grown into a top stable in North America.

Tom Walters

Tom Walters

Tom Walters (left) and trainer Eddie Kenneally with Santiva

Image: Daily Journal

santivaHorse: Santiva

Post position: 12

Odds: 30-1

Walters owns Walters & Associates Insurance Services, an Indiana insurance agency that specializes in long-term care.

He purchases one horse per year, and his stable has multiple stakes wins.

John Magnier

John Magnier

Image: sportydesktops.com

master of houndsHorse: Master of Hounds

Post position: 11

Odds: 30-1

Born in Ireland to a family of hunting horse breeders, Magnier bought into Coolmore Stud in 1975 and transformed it into the world’s largest breeder of Thoroughbred race horses.  His horse in this year’s Kentucky Derby is registered in his wife’s name.

Magnier dabbled in other investments too, most notably the purchase of a 28% stake in English Premier League soccer club Manchester United, which he sold in 2005.

Ken Ramsey

Ken Ramsey

Image: AP

derby kittenHorse: Derby Kitten

Post position: 9

Odds: 30-1

Ramsey started off in the trucking industry and real estate, but his big break was in cell phone network franchising in the 1980s.

He sold his of string cell businesses for $39 million in 1994 and got into horse racing, and he now runs Ramsey Farm with his wife Sarah.

Ruben Sierra

decisive momentHorse: Decisive Moment

Post position: 5

Odds: 30-1

The Venezuelan came to the US when he was 17-years old to attend Memphis State University.  He made his money in the grain business (NYSE:RJA), eventually becoming a partner in Agritrade, an exporter of grain from the US to Latin America.

He got into racing just for fun, as evidenced by his stable’s name, Just For Fun Stables.

Gilbert Campbell

Gilbert Campbell

Image: Aelyria.com

Horse: Watch Me Go

Post position: 20

Odds: 50-1

Campbell was a real estate developer in Massachusetts before entering the racing business in the late 1970s.

He now heads Stonehedge Farm South, and has raced mwatch me goore than 20 stakes winners.

And here are the remaining horses:

And here are the remaining horses:

Horse: Twice The Appeal
Owned by: Rusty Brown, Victor Flores, & Henry Hernandez
Post position: 3
Odds: 17-1

Horse: Comma to the Top
Owned by: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, & Kevin Tsujihara
Post position: 6
Odds: 30-1

Horse: Twinspired
Owned by: Harvey Diamond, Jimmy Shircliff, Daniel Johnson, & David Koenig
Post position: 10
Odds: 30-1

Read more cool stories at Business Insider.

The Kentucky Derby is the world’s premier horse race, and the Thoroughbreds that earn their way on to fabled Churchill Downs for the big event are enormously expensive to breed or buy.

Many of their owners are millionaires, having earned fortunes outside the racing business before starting their own stable, while others have devoted their entire lives to Thoroughbred racing.

Here are the owners that are looking for a slice of the $2.2 million purse and racing glory in Saturday’s 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.