02/27/2013 3:22PM

Flay to receive Earle I. Mack Award for aftercare efforts

Barbara D. Livingston
Thoroughbred owner and chef Bobby Flay will receive the Earle I. Mack Award this June for his contributions to Thoroughbred welfare.

Thoroughbred owner and celebrity chef Bobby Flay has been selected as the recipient of the Earle I. Mack Thoroughbred Champion Award, honoring outstanding efforts and influence on Thoroughbred welfare, safety, and retirement.

The award will be presented to Flay at his Bar Americain restaurant in New York City on June 6 as part of the 2013 Belmont Stakes Celebration. The event will serve as a fundraising benefit for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.

"I am honored to be chosen as the recipient of this year's Earle Mack TRF Champion Award," Flay said. "Racehorse retirement is a cause close to my heart. The TRF plays an important role in the aftercare of our great athletes, finding a purpose for horses whose racing days are behind them and who are unsuited to future work, and providing them with permanent, lifetime homes. I hope everyone will come out and support this event for a very worthy cause."

Flay, who joins Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps and Frank Stronach as recipients of the Mack Award, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Thoroughbred retirement, primarily through the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. In 2008, he served as the chef for a TRF fundraiser that raised over $300,000 in ticket sales alone. He is an outspoken proponent of owner responsibility to their horses, and has re-purchased and retired several of his own homebreds and former racehorses.

"Bobby Flay has had such a positive impact on our Thoroughbred industry in the short time in which he has been involved in the sport," Mack said. "He has spoken out and participated on issues of safety, the backstretch and marketing, and has been a fresh voice for positive change on the NYRA board, which is needed to attract the younger generation."

Top horses campaigned by Flay include More Than Real, winner of the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf; Her Smile, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress Stakes in 2011; and multiple stakes winner Sensational Slam.

Last fall, Flay was named to a new board for the embattled New York Racing Association, which came under state control last year.