'A superior sportsman': Industry reacts to death of Prince Khalid

'A superior sportsman': Industry reacts to death of Prince Khalid
Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire

Prince Khalid bin Abdullah, who died on Tuesday, stood as a titan of the horse racing industry. As a nine time Eclipse Award winner, across both the owner and breeder categories, Prince Khalid, who owned Juddmonte Farms, commanded respect across the industry.

According to Bob Baffert, who trained Arrogate, winner of the the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Travers (G1), Dubai World Cup (G1) and Pegasus World Cup (G1) among other major races, Prince Khalid was a dream for a trainer.

“He was a kind man,” Baffert said. “He was generous. He worried about the little people in the barn and he was just a true gentleman, a kinder sportsman than I’ve ever been associated with, he was just a really nice man.”

Baffert took Arrogate to the heights of racing in the United States just a few years after another horse owned by Prince Khalid, Frankel, became one of the greatest horses in Great Britain’s history, retiring undefeated in fourteen starts.

“He was part of the whole process,” Baffert said. “He was fun to train for. It was a privilege to train for Juddmonte. Those are the most famous colors in racing.”

Arrogate and Frankel were among an array of top-class horses campaigned worldwide by Prince Khalid and Juddmonte Farms.

Baffert said he saw Prince Khalid as one of the great innovators in racing. Of his more than 500 graded stakes winner, 440 were homebreds, according to a Tuesday release from Juddmonte Farm.

“He had a profound (effect) on racing,” Baffert said. “He shaped modern day racing. His breeding operation was second to none.”

[Related: Juddmonte owner Prince Khalid bin Abullah dies at 83]

Beyond Baffert, tributes to Prince Khalid rolled in from all corners of the racing industry.

“Prince Khalid was the definition of class and sportsmanship,” trainer Chad Brown said in a social media post. “It was one of the greatest honors of my life to be asked to train horses for him… the phone call every trainer has dreamed of getting. He raised the bar to unthinkable heights.”

Industry groups that issued statements praising Prince Khalid’s impact on the industry including NYRA, the Breeders’ Cup and Churchill Downs.

Mike Anderson, racetrack president of Churchill Downs, noted Juddmonte’s silks have been unforgettable at the track.

“Thoroughbred racing and breeding icons like Prince Khalid bin Abdullah are few and far between,” Anderson said in a statement. “For decades, the Juddmonte Farms racing and breeding operation has represented top-class on an international stage thanks to the vision and dedication of Prince Khalid.”

Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin also issued a statement mourning Khalid’s death, mentioning Juddmonte’s role as a buyer and consignor at Keeneland sales.

“Prince Khalid bin Abdullah was foremost a man of extraordinary class, and the excellence he achieved in Thoroughbred racing and breeding globally will continue to influence the breed for generations,” Arvin said in the statement. “Though he was a major presence on the international stage, we at Keeneland treasure the long friendship we enjoyed with Prince Khalid”

Even some of his competitors in the ownership and breeders ranks praised Prince Khalid on Tuesday.

“Shadwell Farms offers (its) condolences to the family of Prince Khalid Abdullah,” a social media post from the farm reads. “A superior sportsman.”

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