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The Galbreath Award


This award is named for the late John W. Galbreath, a self-made man who distinguished himself in business and also as a horseman. Born in Derby, Ohio, he built a small local firm into an international real estate project development company. His interests included the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team and Darby Dan Farm, a Thoroughbred breeding and racing enterprise that won stakes races on three continents. He also served for many years as chairman of Churchill Downs.

Mr. Galbreath was the first ever to breed and race Kentucky Derby winners (Chateaugay and Proud Clarion) and an English (Epsom) Derby winner (Roberto). He received Eclipse Awards as racing’s “Man of the Year” in 1972 and as the country’s outstanding breeder in 1974. Mr. Galbreath was heavily involved in importing top Thoroughbred stallions from overseas, and among his selections were Ribot and Sea-Bird II.

The Galbreath Award is presented annually to one individual whose entrepreneurial leadership has had a significant and positive impact on the equine industry. The criteria used in selecting the winner are:

  • Has introduced original and creative techniques or approaches to business
  • Has demonstrated a willingness to take personal or career risks
  • Has utilized forward-thinking and visionary management planning
  • Has shown an ability to render a business firm or organization more effective and profitable
  • Has gained the respect of peers as evidence of character and integrity

Rules and Procedures

The John W. Galbreath Award Committee has established the following rules and procedures for nomination:

  • Nomination forms are restricted to one individual per form. Posthumous awards will not be considered.
  • Each nomination submitted must include a supporting letter and a biography outlining the nominee’s achievements. Specific accomplishments, awards and honors, and service in volunteer positions should be included.
  • The University of Louisville Equine Industry Program will appoint a committee to review the nominations and select the award recipient.
  • Nomination forms, together with a biography and supporting letter, must be received by the announced annual due date.
  • The winner of the John W. Galbreath Award will be announced and honored at a dinner held in Louisville, Kentucky annually.
  • The University of Louisville Equine Industry Program will retain all entered nominations.
Nomination Form

Galbreath Laureates

1990 – John A. Bell III — one of the most respected, and among the first professional bloodstock agents.

1991 – James E. “Ted” Basset — the man who guided Keeneland to its current status as a world leader in bloodstock sales.

1992 – W. Cothran “Cot” Campbell — used his marketing savvy to pioneer successful Thoroughbred racing partnerships.

1993 – John R. Gaines — introduced securities-investment approaches to the management of Thoroughbred stallions.

1994 – Ami Shinitzky — beginning from scratch, established a successful and profitable horse magazine publishing firm.

1995 – Robert N. Clay — applied business school principles to develop and operate a leading Thoroughbred breeding farm.

1996 – B. Thomas Joy — managed his tiny Canadian harness track from near bankruptcy to a simulcasting innovator.

1997 – John Lyons — parlayed his successful round-pen clinics, and himself, into a successful marketing business.

1998 – D. Wayne Lukas — applied success-management methods and practices to raise the standard of race training.

1999 – Thomas H. Meeker — responded with a progressive vision to lead Churchill Downs through major industry changes.

2000 – Denny Gentry — improved and promoted the sport of team roping to a position as the fastest-growing horse activity.

2001 – David Willmot — guided the century-old Ontario Jockey Club from a near-crisis to a prominent industry leader.

2002 – W. S. “Billy” Morris III — revolutionized the western performance industry with innovative publications, databases, and organizations.

2003 – Frank “Scoop” Vessels III — led his California stallion station to the top of both the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred breeding industries.

2004 – Judith Forbis — visionary researcher, importer, and breeder responsible for the modern Egyptian Arabian market in North America.

2005 – Brian Derrick Mehl — transformed the South African pari-mutuel horse racing industry.

2006 – Carol Rose — American Quarter Horse Association’s number one all-time leading breeder of performance horses.

2007 – R.D. Hubbard — risk-taker, with a reputation for taking the impossible and turning it into the profitable.

2008 – G. Marvin Beeman DVM — professionalized the field of equine veterinary medicine and built a sophisticated surgical center that was not tied to a university.

2009 – David Llewellyn — founded a company that imported Australian horse racing to 31 countries in Europe and North America and was a leader in the advance deposit wagering platform.

2010 – King T. Leatherbury — used his business degree to dominate racing in Maryland and helped modernize Thoroughbred training methods.

2011 – James E. Helzer — became one of the best-known and highly regarded horsemen in the Quarter Horse industry through his JEH Stallion Station and JEH Equine Reproduction Specialists and Hospital.

2012 – Thomas G. Struzzieri — founded the most successful privately-owned equine event development and management business in the world.

2013 – Barry Weisbord — a perennial entrepreneur who co-founded a media organization that produced the most widely read online publication for industry professionals.

2014 – William “Bill” Rood, DVM and Thomas “Tom” Riddle, DVM — developed an equine veterinary business that set the standard by which vet practices were to be judged.

2015 – Stephen L. Day — transformed equine tack companies through an “omni channel” strategy approach.

2016 – Jeffrey R. Gural — a champion for building trust and integrity in the Harness Racing Industry.

2017 – Todd Roberts — an entrepreneurial leader who built his company into one that supports the entire backbone of the racing industry.

2018 – Michael Blowen — committed to providing a safe and secure retirement facility where racing fans are welcome to come and meet their favorite Thoroughbred champions.

2019 – B. Wayne Hughes — a visionary who initiated a host of ingenious programs which shifted the breeding industry paradigm.

2020 – Elizabeth James, PhD — turned her passion for horses and helping others achieve their dreams into a business.

2021 – Tom Aronson — a true “horse enterprise architect” who helped build two of the horse industry’s greatest start-ups from the ground up.


Past Galbreath Award Presentations

2021: Tom Aronson

2020: Elizabeth James, PhD

2020 Galbreath Award Presentation from John Merchant on Vimeo.

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