In The News

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration Returns to Bar Americain; Victoria McCullough Honored


The official Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration, which benefits the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), will return to Chef Bobby Flay's Bar Americain on Thursday, June 5, 2014.

The event, featuring "The Foods of Bobby Flay," will include an auction of select stallion seasons and unique experiences.

At the event, the Earle I. Mack Thoroughbred Champion Award will be presented to Victoria McCullough. This award is annually given to an individual for outstanding efforts and influence on Thoroughbred racehorse welfare, safety, and retirement.

McCullough, chairman of the board of Chesapeake Petroleum, has made tremendous strides using her own resources in preventing the reinstitution of horse slaughter in the U.S. and in the fight to stop the export of horses across the country's borders. She achieved the de-funding of USDA inspection of horse slaughterhouses by enlisting the help of key governmental officials and the presidential administration. McCullough's love for horses has led to her personally purchasing more than 4,000 horses from kill pens, funding their care, and finding them new homes. She owns two farms in Wellington, Fla., where she has brought many of these rescues to be rehabilitated.

"Victoria McCullough has demonstrated a deep and passionate commitment to safeguarding the lives of horses," said Earle Mack. "We applaud her for her untiring efforts, and we are honored to present her with this richly deserved award."

"Being honored by Ambassador Mack and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is particularly meaningful to me," said McCullough. "The Thoroughbred is the horse to which I am most connected. Working alongside the TRF and the Thoroughbred industry to ensure compassionate care for our champion Thoroughbreds, and with collaboration and strategic vision, we will eradicate slaughter and develop the needed infrastructure to provide quality aftercare for all Thoroughbreds."

Previous award recipients include Ogden Mills Phipps, chairman of The Jockey Club, in 2012 and Bobby Flay, Thoroughbred owner, Thoroughbred retirement advocate, and the owner and executive chef of Bar Americain, in 2013.

"I'm gratified that these two important racing charities have again chosen Bar Americain to host this event, which celebrates the Belmont Stakes, one of our most prestigious races," said Flay. "The cooperation of the charities in this event makes sense, with Grayson working to improve the health of horses during their racing careers, and TRF helping to provide them with a comfortable, secure retirement when their career comes to an end. I'm looking forward to participating in this event again this year after a successful event in 2013."

The fund-raising event, supported by the New York Racing Association, will be held two days prior to the 146th running of the $1,000,000 Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown, being held on Saturday, June 7.

Bar Americain is located at 152 W. 52nd Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues in New York City.

Tickets for the charity celebration are $350 per person.

Additional information about the event can be obtained by contacting Nancy Kelly of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation at (212) 521-5305 or or Sue Finley at (732) 747-8060 or

Founded in 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is the largest equine sanctuary in the world devoted to the rescue, retirement, rehabilitation and retraining of Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack. More than 1,000 Thoroughbreds have been adopted out to loving homes. At eight correctional facilities, inmates build life skills while participating in a vocational training program as they provide supervised care to retired horses.

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, a longtime beneficiary of the Belmont week charity event, is the nation's leading private source of equine research funding, having individually contributed more than $20.9 million to 41 universities since 1983 to underwrite 310 specific projects aimed at enhancing the health and safety of horses. Additional information is available at

Contact: Shannon Kelly
(212) 521-5305