On the warm Spring night of Thursday, June 8, at the Belmont Stakes Charity Celebration at the Bryant Park Grill, longtime owner and NYRA leader Earle Mack presented the first Dinny Phipps Award, fittingly enough to the Phipps family.
The award, which will be presented annually to a recipient who has demonstrated a dedication to equine health, was created by Ambassador Mack in honor of Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps.
In a brief, understated manner reminiscent of his late father, Ogden Phipps II accepted the bronze sculpture, which was commissioned by Mack and produced by the Odon Wagner Gallery and artist Gary Weisman, on behalf of the Phipps family. Young Ogden’s mother, Ande Phipps, as glamorous as ever, was also on hand for the event. Before making the presentation, Earle Mack reminisced fondly about late night partying and poker playing with Dinny Phipps in their bachelor days of yore, before returning the focus of his remarks to Phipps’ complete, longterm commitment to the best interest of the thoroughbred.
“My father felt a deep obligation to do what was right for the equine,” Ogden Phipps II said in his remarks. “He believed that everything we could do for the betterment of the horse was paramount to having our industry move forward and prosper. Simply put, what was good for the horse was good for our industry…I hope this award will be a spark that continues to ignite individuals and organizations to take care of our equine stars and continue to give back to this sport that has given everyone in this room so very much.”
Dinny Phipps, who served as chairman of The Jockey Club for 32 years and as a board member of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation since its inception, died April 6, 2016.
The evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres under a tent beside the Grill overlooking the spacious, crowded lawns of Bryant Park and continued with a festive dinner indoors. Ian Highet, Virginia Guest Valentine, Chris and Grace Meigher, Dr. David Shaffer, longtime Phipps trainer Sug McGaughey, Michelle Coppedge and Anne Poulson were among the guests. Approximately 175 people attended the event, which benefitted the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
Dell Hancock, the chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Stuart S. Janney III, the chairman of The Jockey Club, and Chris Kay, the chief executive officer and president of the New York Racing Association, also made brief remarks prior to the presentation thanking Earle Mack for creating the new award, and former NYRA announcer Tom Durkin served as the ebullient master of ceremonies.