12/19/2016 4:27PM

Owner Vincent Viola named secretary of Army

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Vincent Viola, owner of St. Elias Stable with his wife, Teresa, was selected by president-elect Donald Trump to serve as secretary of the Army.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Viola graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1977, served in the 101st Airborne Division, and continued his military involvement by establishing the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point in 2003. He is also owner of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, which he bought in 2013, and chairman of Virtu Financial, an electronic trading business he founded in 2008.

St. Elias Stable and his wife’s nom de course, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, have been willing partners in Thoroughbred ownership, seeing the greatest success with fellow West Point graduate Terry Finley’s West Point Thoroughbreds.

Together, the two operations campaigned 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner and young stallion Liam’s Map, Grade 1 winner Ring Weekend, and Grade 2 winner Freedom Child, who was also co-owned by Spendthrift Farm and stands in Maryland.

The Violas have also partnered on racehorses with notable owners including Gary Barber, Mike Repole, and Sunrise Stables.

On their own, the Violas’ top runners include Grade 1 winners Photo Call and Sweet Loretta, as well as Grade 2 winner Nonna Mela.

Estimated by Forbes at a net worth of $1.78 billion, Viola has also been a player at auction, securing the Galileo mare Photo Call for $3 million at the 2015 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, the second-highest price for a broodmare or broodmare prospect at that year’s auction.

The Violas also bought Liam’s Map for $800,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale and landed a Ghostzapper yearling at this year’s September sale for $825,000.

“It is an honor to be nominated to serve our country as President-elect Trump’s Secretary of the Army,” Viola said in a release. “If confirmed, I will work tirelessly to provide our president with the land force he will need to accomplish any mission in support of his national defense strategy.

“A primary focus of my leadership will be ensuring that America’s soldiers have the ways and means to fight and win across the full spectrum of conflict,” he continued. “This great honor comes with great responsibility, and I will fight for the American people and their right to live free every day.”

Teresa Viola is president of interior design company Maida Vale Designs, and they have three adult sons.