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Monday, July 22
Reaction to the death of Prince Ahmed



Reaction to the death Monday of Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who dominated thoroughbred racing in recent years with Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem and 2001 horse of the year Point Given:

''When I started riding his horses, he told me, 'Don't worry, Victor, I will make you famous.' I was very happy for him because he really wanted to win the Kentucky Derby.''
-- Jockey Victor Espinoza, who rode War Emblem in the Triple Crown series.

''He added a great deal to the industry and was certainly looked upon with great acclaim. The Thoroughbred Corporation was so widely known and was so involved in every aspect of the industry. They bred Point Given themselves.''
-- Bob Lewis, whose horse Charismatic narrowly missed winning the Triple Crown in 1999.

''He was very passionate about horses and about racing. He had a wild enthusiasm that was infectious. When one of his horses was running in the lead, he'd be screaming and jumping. ... You couldn't help but get excited right along with him. Away from the race track, he was just a joy to be around -- very generous, kind and fun-loving with a terrific sense of humor. He showed a lot of confidence in us retiring Point Given here and then sending Spain our way. I know I'll miss him personally as well as professionally.''
-- Robert Clay, owner of Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky.

''He never took himself very seriously. He enjoyed the way he was accepted in the racing community. People sought him out. When he won the Kentucky Derby, he was on a high for about a week. He loved the way the American people and racing accepted him, especially this year.''
-- D. Wayne Lukas, who trained the fillies Sharp Cat and Spain for Ahmed.

''Having campaigned such thoroughbred stars as War Emblem, Point Given, Spain, Sharp Cat and many others, Prince Ahmed distinguished himself as a man who competed and thrived at our sport's highest levels. His record as an owner, breeder and purchaser at auction will leave an indelible mark on the sport that he loved so dearly.''
--Tim Smith, commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

''I'm in shock. When you go through a Triple Crown together, you get really close. He was like family. His passion for horses was incredible -- he lived and breathed them.''
-- Bob Baffert, who trained War Emblem and Point Given.

''Prince Salman had a lifelong passion for horse racing, and his personal investment in our sport was a labor of love. The horses he campaigned proved themselves champions on and off the track, and their star power generated much positive attention for our sport. The Prince's commitment to racing was unwavering, and his infectious enthusiasm for the game will be greatly missed. Prince Salman held the Kentucky Derby in the highest esteem -- he loved and appreciated the Derby's legacy as much as we do. Churchill Downs -- and all of racing -- has lost a remarkable horsemen and true fan.''
-- Churchill Downs Inc. president Thomas Meeker.

''He had major flair and loved the game and was continuing to grow in the sport. At 43, everybody was looking forward to him having a long, long career in the industry and he was definitely a boost to thoroughbred racing.''
-- Jockey Gary Stevens, who rode Point Given to victories in the Preakness and Belmont stakes in 2001.

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War Emblem owner Prince Ahmed dies at 43