12/29/2009 1:00AM

Will Farish earns Eclipse Award of Merit

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William S. Farish, the owner of Lane's End Farm in central Kentucky, has been selected as a recipient of the Eclipse Award of Merit for a "lifetime of outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing," according to a release from the Eclipse Award's administrators.

Farish, 70, is a steward and vice chairman of the Jockey Club, a director of the Breeders' Cup and a former chairman of its executive committee, and a director and trustee of the Keeneland Association. In addition, Farish was the chairman of Churchill Downs Inc. from 1992-2001, and served as the ambassador to England from 2001-2004 as an appointee of President George W. Bush, whose family has been friendly with the Farishes for decades. Farish's son Bill Farish is the current chairman of the Breeders' Cup.

Founded in 1979 - 16 years after Farish bought his first Thoroughbred - Lane's End is one of the most prominent farms in the U.S. Thoroughbred industry. It currently stands several leading stallions, including A.P. Indy and Smart Strike, and is a major consignor to public auctions.

"If you follow the life cycle of the Thoroughbred each stage from mating, breeding, raising, registration, training, racing, and then back to the farm for breeding, Will has positively impacted each step along the way," said Nick Nicholson, the president of Keeneland.

Earlier this year, Farish pledged $1 million to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The fund is seeking to raise a large enough endowment to provide stipends to disabled riders from the endowment's earnings.

Farish will receive his award on Jan. 18 at the Eclipse Award ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. The awards are administered by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers Association.