By Shannon Donnelly
Palm Beach Daily News
USA TODAY NETWORK
Next time you see resident Earle Mack, give him an attaboy.
The businessman, philanthropist, horseman and former ambassador to Finland has been named the recipient of horse racing’s prestigious Jockey Club Eclipse Award of Merit.
The lifetime achievement award, given by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, will be presented at the 51st Eclipse Awards on Feb. 10 at Santa Anita Park. OK, but “lifetime” achievement? The guy’s 83. In Palm Beach, 83 means your just-vacated seat on the junior committee is still warm.
There should be a “so far” or “to this point” achievement award.
In a press release announcing Mack’s selection, the selection committee cited his “remarkable career serving his country and the thoroughbred industry through racing, breeding and philanthropic causes.” The ceremony honors winners in 17 human and equine categories and culminates with the announcement of the 2021 Horse of the Year.
Mack has been breeding and racing thoroughbreds since 1963, and has bred or raced 25 stakes winners, including 1993 Canadian Triple Crown winner Peteski, 2002 Brazilian Triple Crown winner Roxinho, November Snow and Mr. Light.
He was a member of the board of trustees for the New York Racing Association, chairman of the New York State Racing Commission, member of the New York State Thoroughbred Racing Capital Investment Fund, and a member of the board of the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund Corp.
Yup, the guy know his horse stuff. “This is a distinct honor,” Mack said. Well, yes. That’s why it’s called an “award” and not an “arrest warrant.”
Mack’s most recent cause, as founder of The Man O’ War Project, has allowed him to combine his interest and passion for military veterans and retired racehorses.
The focus of the project is to discover effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in wartime veterans.
“Since college I have devoted my life to the equine industry. I love the horse. I love our veterans who have fought hard for the survival of our freedoms and the democracy we embrace as Americans. I am grateful for and would like to give special thanks to the NTRA and the Eclipse selection committee for this special recognition,” Mack said. “I am also immensely grateful to those in the industry who have supported my vision for the Man O’ War Project, most especially The Jockey Club.
Eclipse Awards tickets and information on the awards show, dinner and party is available at the NTRA website, www.ntra.com/eclipse-awards.