01/02/2018 2:39PM

Frank Stronach honored with Eclipse Award of Merit

Barbara D. Livingston
Frank Stronach has won 12 Eclipse Awards combined as outstanding breeder or owner.

Frank Stronach, the Austrian emigrant who made a fortune in Canada in auto parts and who has operated at the top of the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry in North America for more than two decades, has been named the latest recipient of the Eclipse Award of Merit, the administrators of the Eclipse Awards announced on Monday.

Stronach, 85, is the chairman and founder of The Stronach Group, a private racing company with assets throughout the U.S. He has been named the Eclipse winner as outstanding breeder eight times and outstanding owner four times. The Eclipse Award of Merit is considered one of the highest honors in racing and is awarded to recognize a “lifetime of outstanding achievement in service to the Thoroughbred industry.”

Stronach will receive the award at the annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony on Jan. 25 in Florida at Gulfstream Park, a track owned by The Stronach Group.

“I am flattered and touched to be recognized with the prestigious Eclipse Award of Merit,” said Stronach, in a release from the Eclipse Awards. “Horses and racing have been my passion, my labor of love, since I was a boy. It’s been an honor to be part of this great sport and help in creating world-class races, facilities, and training centers with our friends, partners, and co-workers.”

The release described Stronach as “the most decorated individual in Eclipse Awards history.” Along with his 12 Eclipse Awards combined as breeder or owner, five horses campaigned by Stronach have been named Eclipse Award winners.

Few people have had a larger impact on racing than Stronach over the past 20 years. Although Stronach has been breeding and racing horses in Canada and the U.S. for over 40 years under his farm name, Adena Springs, his leap into racetrack ownership in the late 1990s placed Stronach at the forefront of every aspect of the industry.

Stronach has lately taken a step back from the management of his racing company, which is now being led by his daughter Belinda. But The Stronach Group remains a formidable player in the industry, with assets that include some of the sport’s most high-profile racetracks, such as Gulfstream, Santa Anita, and Pimlico Race Course, along with an account-wagering company, Xpressbet.com, and the largest bet-processing company in the U.S., AmTote.

“Frank Stronach has had an undeniable impact on the Thoroughbred industry, accentuated by his tremendous commitment to excellence in so many facets of our sport,” said Alex Waldrop, the president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which is one of the administrators of the Eclipse Awards.