06/11/2014 5:59PM

Melnyk to retire, disperse stock at Fasig-Tipton


Prominent owner/breeder Eugene Melnyk, a multiple Sovereign Award winner and perennially among the earnings leaders in the U.S., has announced that he will retire from Thoroughbred racing, with a dispersal of his remaining stock planned for the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale on July 14 in Lexington.

Melnyk owns Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Fla., having purchased the former Mockingbird Farm property in 2001. At the peak of business, he owned about 550 horses between his racing and breeding operations. As of early 2013, he owned about 200 horses, which were further pared down to 170-180 following the dispersal of much of his breeding stock at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale.

“As a young boy who grew up watching and admiring the horses at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, it still remains very overwhelming to know how privileged and fortunate I have been to be part of such a wonderful and close-knit community of people who share my passion for horses and the sport of horse racing,” Melnyk said. “None of my horse racing achievements would have been possible without my staff at Winding Oaks Farm and Melnyk Racing Stables who all know how deeply grateful I am for their dedication and commitment to our horses. While I will always remain a part of horse racing, I feel I have accomplished all that I set out to and now is a good time to step back from the sport. I came into this sport 20 years ago with plenty of dreams and I leave with a lifetime of memories.”

Melnyk, a Toronto native who turned 55 in May, made his fortune in the pharmaceutical business and is known elsewhere in the sporting world as owner of the Ottawa Senators in the National Hockey League. The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s National Owner of the Year in 2005, Melnyk won the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding owner in 2007 and 2009, and was named outstanding breeder in 2009.

Melnyk’s top runners include millionaire Speightstown, who captured the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint to earn the Eclipse Award as outstanding sprinter, and Flower Alley, who won the 2005 Travers Stakes and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Horses campaigned by Melnyk have combined to win all three legs of Canada’s Triple Crown. He also bred and raced the 2007 Canadian Horse of the Year and Triple Tiara winner, Sealy Hill.

A number of Melnyk’s runners have gone on to successful stud careers, notably WinStar Farm stallion Speightstown, who was second on the general sire list in 2013 and third in 2012. Three Chimneys Farm’s Flower Alley recorded a breakthrough season in 2012, siring dual classic winner and champion I’ll Have Another from his second crop. Other current or former stallions who campaigned in Melnyk’s colors include Archers Bay, Graeme Hall, Harlington, Marchfield, and Stratford Hill.

Carlo Campanella More than 1 year ago
You actually have to READ the article...He's retiring from HORSE RACING, not from his other business in the NHL or pharmaceuticals.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Something doesn't seem right. Most wealthy people get INTO horse racing when they retire, not out of it. He's 55 and doesn't want to do it anymore? There has to be more to this story...
Cheryl Anne More than 1 year ago
I can't even imagine how much it cost to keep a 500 horse operation going. Even a very wealthy man will eventually realize the lunacy of that. After watching DAS almost win the Triple Crown for a $10000 investment, he came to his senses.
avlamal More than 1 year ago
the guys worth multiple billions
cfpalmer8 More than 1 year ago
He is divorced or in the middle of it. Still the value of his racing empire would not equal the cost of his divorce. Not a good sign when someone at his age is leaving the sport. Hopefully someone patient and willing to put money into the industry takes his place. I will say this, it was good Besilu Stables has put a lot of money into, but not getting much back on their return. Remember he bought Royal Delta for crazy money. I don't think his combined stable earnings equals that amount since he entered the sport.
GuyFleegman1 More than 1 year ago
Even some of the multi millionaires do not want to get fleeced any longer.
anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone will take his place. He can't be very passionnate to quit in so short a time.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
But he has a name...
Barry Taylor More than 1 year ago
I have met and talked to him on many occasions. ..I remember I once asked him how one of his horses was doing (a 2 year old colt by Holy Bull), he had no idea who I was talking about. As far as I am concerned that says it all.
Blackboy Rice More than 1 year ago
Thanks you for the many years of your services in the racing industry ,it's very sad to see you go but it was pleasure ,thrills and disappointments that mmade see the name of my island on the international racing seen,I thank you .
Ann Maree More than 1 year ago
What an amazing run he had and all the accomplishments in the short span of 20 years! Sealy Hill, the first winner of the Canadian Triple Tiara, was recently inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame. Zenyatta fans may recall that she defeated Sealy Hill in the 2008 Vanity Handicap. Hope he writes a book in retiring from the sport. His success should be chronicled and where possible, his path to success emulated. Hope his retirement is not due to health or other issues.
Cheryl Anne More than 1 year ago
For all of the money he spent he should have won a classic every year.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Bad sign that a guy like this is leaving. Who replaces him?
martymar . More than 1 year ago
that's unfortunate for canadian racing
Matt Zebriski More than 1 year ago
Retiring from the business at 55? This is perhaps the BIGGEST statement we've seen thus far on the state of the game. Melnyk has the means and the history to continue at the very top of the sport but is electing not to continue...sad.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Absolutely correct. Anyone who enjoys the purity of this sport. Loves these animals. Is getting out. Bad illegal help rampant. Over medicated horses. Bad press. All who remember and long for old times are saying good bye. Walk around. Open tour eyes. I saw groups of illegal help who now control the backside of our tracks. FAIL to rise for our national anthem. Nough said. All about a paycheck. Nobody has passion for the horses.