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Prince Ahmed bin Salman 1958 - 2002

Date: 07/22/02

On Monday, July 22, 2002, the racing world was stunned by the announcement of the death of 43-year-old Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the principal partner of the Thoroughbred Corporation, from a heart attack. His green and white striped silks are well-recognized worldwide, most recently in his four consecutive Triple Crown victories with Point Given taking the Preakness and Belmont last year and War Emblem capturing the Kentucky Derby and Preakness this year.

The nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd was born on November 17, 1958. After studying in both the military and the University of California at Irvine he went into business, eventually becoming chairman of Saudi Arabia's Research and Marketing Group, a publishing company with offices in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and also in London, England.

With his college friend Richard Mulhall as trainer, he got into the racing business initially as Universal Stable. In 1994 when the operation resurfaced as The Thoroughbred Corporation, with Mulhall retiring as a trainer and taking on the job of racing manager. Mulhall is currently the president of the operation.

Prince Ahmed celebrates War Emblem's win in the Preakness
The pair would go on to racing greatness, both with sales purchases and homebreds. The Thoroughbred Corp.'s roster reads like a who's who of racing in the past decade, with such greats as Sharp Cat, Lear Fan, Jewel Princess, Windsharp, Military, Royal Anthem, Anees, Officer, Habibti, Spain, 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given, and this year's dual classic winner War Emblem. The Prince also had success in Europe, starting with his very first horse, Hays, who won the Mill Reef Stakes and Oath who won the Epsom Derby. Currently Thoroughbred Corp. has approximately 60 horses in training mostly stabled with Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and John Shireffs, along with 45 broodmares, mostly at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington.

His name will always be associated with War Emblem, his one Kentucky Derby winner, which he quipped was "one of the best investments I ever made in my life, besides buying oil in Saudi Arabia," after he won the Preakness. He bought a 90% share in the colt just three weeks before the Derby, and with the win, became the first Arab owner to capture the Roses.

Bob Baffert, who trained Point Given and War Emblem, said, "When you go through a Triple Crown together you get really close. He was like family. His passion for horses was incredible -- he lived and breathed them." Point Given's regular rider Gary Stevens said, "We were very close friends outside of racing. He was a guy who loved to laugh and loved a good time. He had major flair and loved the game and was continuing to grow in the sport. At 43, everybody was looking forward to him having a long, long career in the industry and he was definitely a boost to thoroughbred racing." Churchill Downs president Tom Meeker said, "The horses he campaigned proved themselves champions on and off the track, and their star power generated much positive attention for our sport. The prince's commitment to racing was unwavering, and his infectious enthusiasm for the game will be greatly missed. Prince Salman held the Kentucky Derby in the highest esteem -- he loved and appreciated the Derby's legacy as much as we do. Churchill Downs -- and all of racing -- has lost a remarkable horsemen and true fan." He is survived by his wife Princess Lamia, four daughters, and one son.

Prince Ahmed with Spain after she won the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap to become the richest mare in history.

War Emblem winning the Kentucky Derby.

Point Given won the Preakness, Belmont, Haskell, and Travers but didn't run well in the Kentucky Derby.

Prince Ahmed's first Breeders' Cup winner, Jewel Princess in the 1996 Distaff.

Sharp Cat, who Prince Ahmed referred to as his other daughter, won over $2 million in her career.

Anees was an upset winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile for Prince Ahmed.

Habibti was a top 2-year-old filly and has had some success as a 3-year-old this year, finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks.

Officer was another brilliant 2-year-old trained by Bob Baffert for Prince Ahmed.

More about Prince Ahmed:

All photos ©2002 Cindy Pierson Dulay

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