The Edwin J. Gregson Foundation has been in existence for less that four years, and in each of those years, it has been able to increase its funding and its support for scholarships and other important programs. During the past year, the Foundation made a commitment to increase industry involvement by expanding its Board of Directors to include non-trainer members who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for backstretch workers and their family members. We are pleased to introduce these members of our Board and we are grateful for their time and efforts.
President of the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation and past President of California Thoroughbred Trainers. Jenine has headed the Gregson Foundation since July 2001, finds it a highly worthwhile cause, and has been particularly motivated by its role in providing financial educational help for children of stable area workers.
Since obtaining her trainer's license in 1993, Jenine has already achieved several significant firsts. She became the first female trainer to win a Breeders' Cup race, with Lit de Justice in the 1996 Sprint. She is the only female trainer to win two Breeders' Cup races, repeating in the Sprint in 1997 with Elmhurst. She became the first female trainer to win the Santa Anita Derby, with The Deputy in 2000. She is also the leading female trainer in career earnings.
Daughter of prominent California thoroughbred horse breeders Fred and Helen Sahadi, Jenine graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism/communications and worked for seven years in the marketing and publicity departments at Hollywood Park before turning to the backstretch. Jenine retired as a thoroughbred trainer in 2011.
Jill is a former television news anchor and reporter in Louisville, KY, where she covered racing at Churchill Downs. Since moving to California, she has been active in racing through her husband's stable and has owned several graded stakes winners, including Maybellene, Contested, and Misremembered.
"I'm thrilled to join the Gregson Foundation. They have helped so many deserving backstretch families in a truly meaningful way and I'm honored to be part of it."
Jill serves on the board of Old Friends, Operation Walk L.A., and is an advisory board member of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. She is also active on the Parent Board of her son's school.
Began working with hunters and jumpers at a riding academy in Old Brookville, L.I., before shifting to New York tracks under trainers Joe Cantey and Frank Whiteley, the latter when he conditioned the legendary filly Ruffian in 1974 and 1975.
Moved west to assist trainer Gerry Moerman and continued in similar capacities under Sid Martin, Darrell Vienna, and Brian Mayberry before becoming a veterinarian's assistant for nine years on the Southern California circuit.
Took out his trainer's license in the mid 1990's and has made his mark on turf in recent years. In 2004, won first Grade 1 stake with English import Ticker Tape in the $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park. The filly added a second Grade 1, the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Keeneland, later that year.
Another female English import, Katdogawn, secured three Grade 2 turf victories in 2004. In 2005, Singhalese – yet another filly from England – annexed the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. In 2006, Cassidy won the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita with English-bred Milk It Mick. But an even bigger milestone was reached at Del Mar in 2006 when Moscow Burning, a 6-year-old mare, became the career earnings leader for California-bred females. Claimed for $25,000 in 2003, Moscow Burning passed Fran's Valentine to assume the top rung with earnings of more than $1.4 million.
Cassidy is president of the California Thorough-bred Trainers (CTT), the state recognized organization representing thoroughbred trainers in California, and a member of the CTT Backstretch Employees' Cash Balance Pension Plan (Plan) Administrative Committee. The Plan provides retirement benefits to California qualified workers and trainers who are responsible for the care and training of racing thoroughbreds.
This Hall of Fame jockey has made the transition from riding star to bloodstock agent. Learning about pedigrees and attending sales, he remains in touch with the sport buying and consulting, as well as being a minor owner and breeder.
The jockey characterized as having ice water flowing through his veins retired on January 13, 2003, after riding 6,380 winners, eleventh on the all-time list from 39,201 mounts for purse earnings of $195,801,624. He won the Kentucky Derby in consecutive years aboard Gato del Sol for Eddie Gregson in 1982 and Sunny's Halo for David Cross, Jr., in 1983. He also won the 1988 Preakness and Belmont stakes with Risen Star and the 1992 Belmont with A.P. Indy en route to Horse of the Year honors. He has won seven Breeders' Cup races: with A.P. Indy, Princess Rooney, Hollywood Wildcat, Pleasant Stage, Thirty Slews, Cardmania, and Prized.
Born into a Louisiana racing family, he rode quarter horses and mixed breeds at 10 before turning to Thoroughbreds. He broke his maiden at Evangeline Downs in 1968 and went on to riding titles at Fair Grounds, Keeneland, Arlington Park, and Churchill Downs before moving west in 1979. He continued with titles at Santa Anita, Oak Tree, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar. He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1993. He also won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award and is a member of both the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Gail Gregson, wife of the late Eddie Gregson, has been a member of the foundation named in his memory for six years. Ms. Gregson, born in San Francisco, is a lifelong horsewoman. Her involvement with the racing industry began in Middleburg, Va., where she broke yearlings and developed an interest in bloodlines, while working in pedigree research. Gregson returned to California at the suggestion of a friend, Bill Perry. "Bill helped me to get a job galloping horses for John Canty and that's where I met Eddie." The couple married that year and, in 1970, had twin daughters, Brooke and Esme. Gregson remained active with racing after marriage through her rehabilitation program and re-training of ex racehorses for hunters, jumpers, and other venues. She has also served two terms on the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Board and has been a member of the California Thoroughbred Foundation for the past six years.
"I am very proud to serve on this Board and be a part of Eddie's vision, which was to provide support and encouragement for backstretch workers and their children to have better lives. We hope to accomplish this with an ongoing scholarship program, funded by events such as the Eddie Gregson annual fundraising dinner. This would not be possible without the tireless efforts of Jenine Sahadi, Angie Carmona, and the rest of the Board."
Halpern is former Executive Director and General Counsel of the California Thoroughbred Trainers association, a position he described as a perfect amalgamation of his backgrounds in law, business, and horse racing. A Los Angeles native, he spent much of his youth around horses at a ranch in Canoga Park, riding in local shows and going to the races.
He graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in finance in 1964 and earned a degree in law from Boalt Hall at the University of California at Berkeley in 1967. Upon graduation, he worked for a public poverty law entity. He then entered private practice in 1971 in Santa Monica, practicing law and starting a real estate development and management company.
During the 1970s, he became involved with harness horses at Hollywood Park and bred, raised, and broke standardbreds at his home in Malibu. In 1989, he took out his thoroughbred trainer's license. An owner, breeder, and licensed assistant trainer, he remains active in the thoroughbred industry serving on the Board of the Gregson Foundation, as well as on the advisory committee of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation.
Jay Hovdey, executive columnist for daily Racing Form, has been covering the Thoroughbred sport since the 1970s. His work has appeared in such publications as Reader's Digest, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Blood-Horse, the Thoroughbred Record, and the Horsemen's Journal. He is the author of three books on horse racing, including biographies of Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham and two-time Horse of the Year Cigar, and was a writer for the HBO horse racing series "Luck." Hovdey has been honored with four Eclipse Awards, Canada's Sovereign Award, the Joe Hirsch Breeders' Cup Award, the David F. Woods Award for coverage of the Preakness, and the Walter Haight Award for career excellence from the National Turf Writers Association. Hovdey also serves on the board of Directors of Tranquility Farm, a Thoroughbred retirement and rehabilitation facility in California. He lives near Del Mar with his wife, Hall of Fame Jockey Julie Krone, and their daughter Lorelei.
LEIGH ANN HOWARD
Although busy with a variety of projects, she still finds time to stay involved with the California Thoroughbred industry. A licensed trainer since 1983, she was General Manager of San Luis Rey Downs Thoroughbred Training Center in Bonsall from 2001 to 2010. She was the first President of California Thoroughbred Trainers after Eddie Gregson and a former member of the CTT Backstretch Employees' Cash Balance Pension Plan Administrative Committee.
In addition, she is a past President of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, where she now serves as Chairman of the Farm Committee. She is also a board member and a past president of the California Thoroughbred Farm Managers Association.
Stephanie is passionate about student access to post-secondary education and funding opportunities in order to reach their goals and dreams. She spent over 20 years in education as a Family Resource Center (FRC) Director, School Counselor, and adjunct faculty member for graduate level and community college courses. A majority of Stephanie's career was working within Migrant-Farmworking communities. Her focus as a FRC Director was providing resources to families so they could access books in order to encourage family connectedness and reading, no matter a person's language or education level. Stephanie has worked with Kindergarten through Adult aged students, guided them to reach goals, assisted with college and career planning, scholarships and financial aid, and she has experience with grant-writing and data collection to aid in funding opportunities.
Horse racing has been a part of Stephanie's life since 2012, when she met her husband, Kosta Hronis of Hronis Racing. Kosta's passion towards horse racing drew her in and she instantly was in awe of the infinite layers of the sport and the horses. Stephanie has gravitated to the backside workers and has great respect and appreciation for their hard work and talent in taking exceptional care of the horses. Stephanie is very honored to be a part of the Gregson Foundation. Her background and beliefs align with what the Gregson Foundation is about; advocating for and assisting family members of backside workers seeking post-secondary education or training.
"My husband, Jon Kelly, and I got into the sport of racing in 1997," says Sarah. "We started out with two fillies and our trainer was Eddie Gregson. Eddie became a wonderful mentor and friend to us in the thoroughbred business. We now have horses in Kentucky, California, Ireland, and Australia, with runners at a variety of tracks.
"We have totally enjoyed our involvement in racing and the friendships that we have made. One of our greatest pleasures, however, is seeing our broodmares and foals in the fields at our farm in Rancho Santa Fe.
"I enjoy serving on the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation, and I am hopeful that our Board will be able to help many children of backstretch workers reach their educational goals."
F. JACK LIEBAU, JR.
Chief Financial Officer
Liebau has been a thoroughbred owner and breeder for more than 26 years. He is a former volunteer on the Administrative Committee of the CTT Backstretch Employees' Cash Balance Pension Plan, and is a former director on the NTRA-PAC Board.
Jack is President and CEO of Alleghany Capital Partners, an investment management firm in New York City. A graduate of Phillips Academy (Andover) and Stanford University, Liebau is a past director and president of The Andover Abbot Association of Southern California. He worked in The White House Press Office of George H.W. Bush.
Liebau, his wife, Carol, and their twin children live in New Canaan, CT.
PATRICIA GREGSON MILLINGTON
Although I am not involved in horse racing, my one qualification for being on the Board would be as Eddie's sister. We were both raised with thoroughbred horses on The Conejo Ranch, which was Eddie's inspiration to continue this passion as his life's focus.
I ran a ranch in Idaho for 35 years, kept mares in foal, and once raised a colt for Eddie that he took to the track. "Dante's Inferno" won his first race. I am honored to serve on the Board to help Eddie's dream come true of education for the backstretch employees.
A long-time fan and current horse owner, Andrew is a Managing Director and Co-Founder of Swander Pace Capital. Established in 1996, the firm is based in San Francisco and New Jersey and focuses on buyouts in the consumer products industry. Andrew received an MBA from Harvard Business School and an AB cum laude in Fine Arts from Harvard University. He is an Advisory Board member of the National Museum of Racing and a Trustee of the Newark Museum, where he serves on the Executive Committee and Co-chairs the Acquisitions Committee.
Samantha has owned horses with her parents, Jan and Mace, since 1984. She currently manages the family-built racing operation of approximately 70 horses, that runs under Jay Em Ess Stable.
Eddie Gregson trained many winners for Jan, including Ardiente, winner of the 1979 Del Mar Handicap. The family campaigned many stakes horses, including champion 2-year-old Declan's Moon and Grade I stakes winners Stormy but Valid, Urbane, I Believe in You, I Ain't Bluffing, and Rail Trip. They also own 2007 Strub stakes winner Arson Squad.
In the past, Samantha has served on the board of the California Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association (CHBPA) and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), and is currently a board member of the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA).