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William Farish to receive Eclipse Award of Merit

WILL FARISH, owner of Lane's End Farm in Kentucky, is to be honoured with the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in racing. 

Will Farish - Newbury - 2002

William Farish: "honoured"

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker 

Farish, 70, will receive the award on January 18 at the 39th Annual Eclipse Awards ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California.

"I am so honoured to have been selected for a sport which has given me and my family so much pleasure and enjoyment forthe past 35 years," said Farish in a statement. "I am humbled to be chosen to join this list of outstanding people who have received this Award of Merit, many of whom have been long time friends."

Born in Houston, Texas, Farish is the grandson of the late William Farish II, the founder of Humble Oil and Refining. Farish II also founded Lazy F Ranch in Texas, which campaigned US Horse of the Year Forego during the 1970s.

Will Farish himself enjoyed his first notable success on the track when Bee Bee Bee carried his colours to victory in the 1972 Preakness Stakes. Seven years later he founded Lane's End Farm, which now encompasses more than 3,000 acres in Kentucky.

Since then, Farish has raced more than 150 stakes winners, including Oaks heroine Casual Look, and has twice received an Eclipse Award as leading breeder, including in 1999 when he and his partners bred the winners of all three Triple Crown races.

In partnership with Warner Jones Jr, Farish also bred Seattle Dancer, who sold for a record $13.1m as a yearling in 1985.

Today, Farish stands 22 stallions at Lane's End Farm including leading sires A P Indy, Kingmambo and Smart Strike.
Farish also served as the US Ambassador to the Court of Saint James during 2001-04 and is a steward and vice chairman of the Jockey Club, a director and former chair of the executive committee of the Breeders' Cup (his son, Bill, serves as chairman of the board), a member of the board of directors of the Keeneland Association, and a Keeneland trustee.

He was also chairman of the board of Churchill Downs from 1992-2001.

"In his many leadership roles over the years, Will Farish has been an immensely important contributor to the sport and business of thoroughbred racing," said D. G. Van Clief, Jr., former president and CEO of the Breeders' Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

"Whether serving as an Epsom Oaks-winning US Ambassador to Great Britain, the chairman of Churchill Downs, a trustee of Keeneland or the master of Lane's End Farm, his presence has ensured progress and success. I know first hand that Will's service as the chairman of the Breeders' Cup executive committee was instrumental to its successful launch and subsequent growth as a world championship.

"Without him it would not be the globally respected event it is today. Wherever Will Farish has applied his personal brand of leadership the sport has benefited, and there is no more deserving recipient of this award."

Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland, added: "Will Farish is deeply involved in every phase of the thoroughbred Industry. If you follow the life cycle of the thoroughbred each stage from mating, breeding, raising, registration, sales, training, racing, and then back to the farm for breeding, Will haspositively impacted each step along the way.

"His knowledge, passion, and willingness to give of his time for the betterment of the industry and the sport have meant so much for the modern thoroughbred world. We are grateful to have him serve as a trustee of Keeneland and appreciate his advice and counsel."




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